Being present in our packed Cathedral last night for its Nine Lessons and Carols service was a powerful reminder of the power of music to draw people into the presence of God. It is not disrespectful to Scripture being the Word of God written to presume that if the Cathedral had advertised a service of "Nine Lessons (no music)" only the faithful few would have turn up. Even "Nine Lessons (with cracker sermon)" would not have drawn the crowd which came last night.
Music has the power to move us, to draw us from our homes to go to a concert or a party or a church service. The music in a church service (some minimal requirements of tunefulness and rhythm being met) has the power to move our souls into the presence of God, to help us feel that we are meeting with God. Why? I think it is the capacity of music to take us out of ourselves and lead us to the transcendent. There the God who is God meets with us: our restless hearts, as St Augustine knew, find their rest in him.
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