The Pope's Music
I was sitting at home watching on the events that was going on while Pope Francis was in the USA. Everything was looking very regal and ceremonial as I figured that it would, then something hit me which made me wonder. Do Popes, Bishops, ArchBishops, etc every get tired of the ceremonial stuff music wise that goes with these high services? Yes the chanting and hymns are all nice, but when a Bishop does his visitation to a congregation are they asked what kind of music they would like to hear?
I guess that this thought came to mind because the Right Rev. William Swing came to mind and what happened the first time that he visited the congregation that I was in and was providing the music. Some really nice hymns were chosen for the service, and we all sang along, then service ended. After service, like in most cases, people gathered to have a meal. During this time I was in the church as I had to turn off the computer (we did most of the music through a computer system that I and another person had put together,) and I had some other things that I needed to do before I would be able to get food. I decided that I would get the other stuff done before turning off the computer, so I choose some mp3 music files to play as a was going to do them. I was busy doing what I had to do,then I suddenly realized that I wasn't alone in the church as I had thought. I looked at the center aisle to see Bishop Swing dancing up and down the aisle to a Gospel hymn that I was playing. I watched for a minute, then went back to what I needed to get done. Even though it only took me about 10 minutes to finish, the music had changed to more traditional Episcopal type music, and I looked up to see that he was gone. With each visitation after that, I always made sure that both before and after the service I would play some Gospel music, and sure enough each time he would dance up and down the aisle.
As I was sitting in front of my TV watching the service with the Pope, I looked at his facial expression and at one point as the music was going on, wondered if he was saying something in his mind like “I wish that they were playing some Christian Rap or Christian Rock instead of this stuff.”
Church communities are good at asking about certain things when it comes to the visitation of a Bishop, but I wonder how many of them ask the question about the music? Oh I am sure that no Bishop or anybody else would want to hear and sing the same song that they started off liking each week, but I am sure that many would be happy to come into a congregation from time to time that for at least one or two songs stepped away from the hymnals and played something different. Oh sure some are thinking that this would be good for those Liberal congregations, but I think that it would put a smile on any Bishop's face if they went into a Conservative congregation and they would sing something outside of the norm.
We talk about how we welcome everyone, but shouldn't we be more open to not only opening our doors to people who are different than us, but to music and other things? Do you seriously think that in Heaven God only listens to one type of music? Think about it. In order for Christianity to of gotten so big in this country (and throughout the world,) meant that churches of different styles had to come about. One of the things that gets talked about in the Episcopal church is the declining numbers of those in the pews. Music is one of the ways to get people to return. I once was taken to a Catholic service in Las Vegas that one had to get their at least 20 minutes before the service in order to get a seat. What was one of the things that was attracting people? They had a Gospel Choir.
So prior to the next visitation of the Bishop, as what type of music they enjoy and throw a hymn or two into the service that are of that style.
R.I.P Ye Venerable ArchDeacon Brian Barnes. It was an honor to get to know and work with you.