It’s good to be home.
This morning at church was one of the best church services for me in recent memory. One reason was that the music selection was superb (“Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” etc.). The pastor’s sermon was good, too. I got to play special music and received a few complements. It was encouraging, even though I don’t really like complements that much. I’d rather hear people tell me they were blessed by what I played than impressed by it.
In that same vein, I’m reading through Jeffrey Overstreet’s book, Through A Screen Darkly, at the moment. What a wealth of insight about faith, art, and culture! The thing that has stuck with me most from the book so far is something he says in the first chapter: “When we give others something excellent, we reflect that standards of heaven.”
It’s such a blessing to me when something I have put my heart into blesses someone else. That’s why I love art and believe so much in its power … excellent art, in any form, can give us a glimpse of glory. I can’t imagine that that momentary transcendent feeling I feel while watching a powerful film or listening to beautiful music is what heaven is going to be like all the time!
I’ve been on an Ennio Morricone kick since the Oscars. I find that I don’t like his older stuff as much as his newer stuff. His older music was for a lot of westerns and doesn’t make for extremely easy listening, even though it is still good music. His later music has such musical maturity and passion that really could only come from a lifetime of experience. It’s gorgeous.
I’m listening to the score from The Mission right now. If you haven’t seen that film, you should right away. Morricone wrote a beautiful theme for oboe that represents a priest in the film. To make a long story short, the priest is a missionary to a remote tribe. In the end of the film, Morricone unites that longing oboe theme with tribal drums and voices. It’s a bit of very powerful musical storytelling. God has given Morricone a gift and has given the world some excellent music through him.
We had four friends over tonight. Two of them are very committed Christians, and two are not saved. During the course of our dinner, one of our Christian friends (whom I love dearly) had absolutely nothing good to say about anything. Now, I know I have my vices, but it hurt me to see a good Christian person eating with a non-Christian without anything good to say … at all. No wonder culture thinks of Christians as demeaning idiots. Many Christians complain about our culture’s views of Christianity without looking at the trouble inside of them. I’m included in that number sometimes.
Well, if you’re reading down here, you have a good amount of patience. I applaud you. Thanks for reading and I promise to make things a bit more entertaining next time. Today was a day for thought, though … and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.