Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How Relevant is Bach, Part II

Secondly, Bach was a consummate craftsman who sought to perfect his art. He understood that God is the ultimate source and objective standard of beauty. As such, Bach’s desire was to present to God that which was most beautiful. Bach relentlessly pursued knowledge and practice in all areas of his art—from musical exercises and problems to acoustics, instrument design, and metallurgy and woodworking. His goal, though ultimately humanly unattainable, was no less than striving to love God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind and using and developing his talents to their utmost. Approaching human endeavors with a Godly mindset of excellence or perfection renders a legacy that astounds the watching world.

Reaching towards what was possibly attainable in his art, striving for perfection, being satisfied with nothing less than his best could have made Bach a slave to legalism or a tyrant impatient with the performers of his works. The reason this was not the case, however, was that Bach understood the Reformational teaching sola gratia—by grace alone. Bach’s efforts were a musical offering, a sacrifice of praise, which flowed in grateful response to a loving God. Bach was not trying to win God’s favor or notice; he rested comfortably in God’s love, and his work was the overwhelmed response of a sinner who knows God’s forgiveness. For Bach, striving towards perfection and offering God his best were not a burden, but a joyful expression of thanksgiving and praise.

Principle #3: A worship leader should be a perpetual student of their craft seeking to understand the theological basis of the very inner workings of music.

Principle #4: A worship leader should seek excellence in their work and consistently strive to improve their talents and abilities by growing in skill and depth—musically and theologically.

Principle #5: Worship should be accessible yet excellent.

1 comment:

Troy Lizenby said...

The timeliness of your article is appreciated as I am now reading Martin Geck's JS BACH: LIFE AND WORK. Over 250 years since his death, and we still have much to learn from this musical servant.