This past Christmas season, I wanted to do something different, maybe start a new tradition. Inspired by a night at the Atlanta Symphony, I did an Internet search for holiday concerts in the area. I didn’t want Celtic Woman. I didn’t want TranSiberian Orchestra. I wanted a small and intimate environment and music that was more classical, more sacred, not just popular. I came upon this group. I’d never heard of them, but I knew enough to know that this would be different and possibly very special. Sacred choral music sung by a professional chamber choir.
I need to back up though and tell you about this book I’ve been rereading and the impact it’s had on how I listen to music. It’s Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. If you haven’t read it, I urge you right now to stop reading and go order it. You won’t regret it. Reeves does something few theologians are able to do. He teaches doctrine in a way that engages your mind and moves your heart. Listen to how he describes the inner harmony and beauty of the Trinity:
“It is from the heavenly harmony of Father, Son and Spirit that this universal frame of the cosmos – and all created harmony – comes. To hear a tuneful harmony can be one of the most intoxicatingly beautiful experiences. And no wonder: as in heaven, so on earth. The Father, Son and Spirit have always been in delicious harmony, and thus they create a world where harmonies – distinct beings, persons or notes working in unity – are good, mirroring the very being of the triune God.”Michael Reeves
I had never thought of music in this way, had never connected the dots between the essential nature of God and how that is reflected not just in our human relationships but in every aspect of creation, especially music. With these thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I went to this concert eagerly anticipating not just a beautiful performance, but a chance to reflect on the beauty of God.
As my husband and I sat silently in the wooden pews of an unfamiliar church surrounded by even more unfamiliar people, the music began and I struggled to keep from weeping. My emotions rose within me not only because of the words being sung but because of the purity and harmony produced by the voices. The effect was transcendent. I closed my eyes several times during the concert so I could just delight in how pleasing it all was, such sublime and wonderful unity from diversity.
Is this what David longed for and sought after in Psalm 27:4?
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”Psalm 27:4
After the concert was over I felt like I had tasted the goodness and beauty of God, that I had somehow pulled back the curtain and peeked at holy joy. I pray that those who performed that night will realize the significance of their gifts and the beautiful God they point to. As a musician myself who uses her gifts and talents in worship most every Sunday, I pray that I won’t take this holy privilege of making music for granted.