Friday, December 07, 2018

Why Sacred Music Should be Beautiful

Ten long years ago I did a post on my favorite Christmas hymns, which I believe are underrated. Back then I listed as my favorite Christmas song the hymn Jesus Christ the Apple Tree. Ten years on, upon reviewing this post, I think these five are still my favorites, and Jesus Christ the Apple Tree still the most beautiful.

If you are not familiar with the tune, please listen to this beautiful rendition of it by the choir of King's College, Cambridge (you'll have to open in YouTube to watch probably):

I have argued in many ways over the years for a return to authentically sacred, beautiful music in our worship. There are so many different reasons would could support this: consistency with sacred tradition, fidelity to repeated magisterial pronouncements about the nature of sacred music, its fittingness to the worship of God, its ability to lift our souls in praise. There's so much can be said. I'll never tire of arguing this point, while simultaneously my soul bears a burden of frustrated exhaustion at even having to make these arguments to begin with. There seems to be nothing more self-evident in the world as that the worship of God should be marked by beautiful things.

But, in case you need one singular, poignant argument in favor of retaining beautiful music for our worship of God, consider the following: After watching to the above recording of Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, I was clicking around YouTube listening to various renditions of the song and reading the comments and came across this gem:

My friends, that is the argument for the return of beautiful, sacred music. This is what happens when the human soul encounters beauty. I guarantee no atheists are saying such things about Gather Us In. And I have to admit, when I read this comment, I also was cut to the heart and my eyes became moist. Beauty softens the heart and helps us to be like children. The Church needs more beauty. The world needs more beauty. For the love of God and the salvation of souls, let the rays of beauty shine upon the Church once more.

And God, grant my soul may be beautiful, ever fresh and blossoming in virtue and watered by your graces. 

This fruit does make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
This fruit does make my soul to thrive
It keeps my dying faith alive
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

Image result for beautiful apple tree


Kathleen1031 said...

I will listen to these, thank you. And God bless you for your earnest enthusiasm for His Kingdom.

Lanie White said...

Very beautiful as it is simply the TRUTH!

Lanie White said...

Very beautiful as it is simply the Truth!