Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sebastian!

Johann Sebastian Bach was a musical genius, an intellectual giant, and a gracious man. Bach’s achievement in the area of music is one of the greatest tour de forces in the history of the world - on par with, or surpassing, that of Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Dante, Leonardo, Rembrandt, Milton, Aristotle, Augustine, or Aquinas. Bach was that great and significant. Even more compelling is the fact that he consciously and deliberately wrote all of his music from a Christian perspective and for the Glory of God.

Bach was able to function on a multiplicity of levels: a conservator of past styles and musical elements and an innovator of new forms and styles; a craftsman who brought his art to the highest imaginable summit while creating timeless works of beauty; an artisan who perfected his art with almost scientific precision while remaining lively and accessible to average listeners; a communicator who clearly conveyed a message while simultaneously embedding layers of symbolism - musical and extra-musical - that requires studious inquiry to uncover.

Sebastian Bach remains an agent of the power of cultural change through his clear presentation of the gospel in his work, his commitment to biblical excellence, and his reformational approach to cultural change. In all these areas he provides a corrective and example of how to fulfill the calling of an artist from a biblical perspective and how to engage the world.

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