Monday, October 20, 2008

Phantom of the Opera it wasn't

I bet no one, and I mean absolutely no one, reading this today did what I did yesterday. Sean and I had a hot date at an organ recital.

Told you so.

Sean’s organ teacher has been talking about this recital for a few weeks and, in turn, Sean’s been telling me about it. Never did I think we’d actually go, but on Saturday after his organ lesson he told me he’d really like to go, even if no one went with him. He was so excited about it and I thought, well, he’s gone to 13 Amy Grant concerts with me; the least I can do is go to an organ recital with him.

The recital, in celebration of The Year of the Organ (who knew?), was held in downtown Lansing’s Catholic church. The pews were by far the most uncomfortable pews I’ve ever experienced. The back was at a 90 degree angle to the seat; there was absolutely no way to get comfortable. I wanted to kick down the kneeling pad to prop my feet up but figured that wasn’t exactly respectful… I think the pews are made like that so the priest can say, “Go say five Hail Marys and sit in the pew for 15 minutes.” There’s some penance for you.

In addition to marking the Year of the Organ (again, who knew?) we were there to remember a long-time Lansing organ player and minister of music who recently retired and more recently died, Mano Hardies. The group of music ministers who put the event together commissioned a piece to honor him. In addition to that new work several organists played, well, forever. Some of the pieces were beautiful and some were bearable and one (Chorale #3 in A-minor by Franck) was just awful. I don’t like minor stuff and to hear it on a pipe organ… ugh. But Sean’s organ teacher was amazing. Her selections by Mendelssohn were gorgeous. It’s obvious she’s been playing a long time and is wonderfully gifted.

As we left the church we realized a group of music ministers had our attention for an hour and a half and no one mentioned Jesus. There was no opening prayer, no one thanked God for the talents He’d bestowed upon Hardies, no one thanked the Lord for the gift of music, no one mentioned God at all. Not once. How is that possible? A captive audience full of people who will meet their Maker very soon (the average age of the crowd: close to death) and no one told them about Jesus. It was depressing; for all their love of music it seemed the music ministers had lost sight of the One who gave it to them.

We left thankful for our church and our music guys. And to be brutally honest, I was thankful for our church's comfy chairs.