Sunday, September 20, 2009

near verbatim brain sloshing at a Sunday afternoon organ recital

Is there significance in the following detail noted during the aforementioned recital, held at a local church? Jesus looms over us, and the altar, barefoot. OK, it is possible that he wears sandals, though clearly not Berkis. Either way, we can see his toes. And from my pew, it is very clear that Jesus' 2nd toes are longer than his big toes.

Is this a universally recognized physical trait on His part of which I was previously unaware? Is it one indigenous to the LCMS? The particular LCMS church in which I heard said organ recital? Is it a Da Vinci Code signal of some kind, uniting all long 2nd toed people to some kind of ancient bloodline of Christ?

And why must Jesus so often look so pale and wan? There is not word one mentioned in the New Testament to indicate ill health on his part. Is this a Victorian left-over, indicating that the frail of body are somehow closer to heaven? I prefer my deities healthy and robust, thank you very much.

And what's with the curtain behind the altar? Is this a dorsal curtain like the one we have at Grace? This version makes me distinctly uncomfortable. There's plenty of space between the curtain and the back of the altar area (sorry, I'm sure there is a proper name for this but I don't know it.) The Wizard of Oz comes to mind. I fear some smart-mouthed pipsqueak is going to dart from behind the curtain to announce that the altar before us is all smoke and mirrors.

This reminds me of a recent Thursday morning discussion of whether or not the virgin birth is essential to one's belief in Jesus as divine. Must Jesus be all human and all divine? Though I can understand these questions as theologically fundamental, I can also drift into hearing them as just so much how many angels fit (let alone dance) on the tip of a pin.

The word "construct" comes to mind, probably due to the interesting Sunday school class this morning, full of discussion of Freud, Jung, symbolism, money/religion/faith and media. The leader was extremely facile, the topic intriguing. Yet after floating a bit in the wordy bubble of that 35 minutes, I was left with the following thought: this was perhaps the first time I'd heard the word "turd" meaningfully uttered in a classroom that wasn't full of diapered toddlers.

Our organist is playing Langlais now. The first great organist I knew studied with Langlais. She was an artist. An temperamental artiste. The choir surrounded her in the organ loft each Sunday. And we had to sit very, very quietly. No movement. Breathing was optional during the prelude. You did NOT want to be the person who distracted Great Organist.

I think this was the era during which I became addicted to all and sundry forms of hard candy during concerts or quiet, lengthy services. As long as I have hard candy in my mouth, I will not disgrace myself by coughing excessively while listening to the panoply of musical offerings we attend on a regular basis.

Though I do not fear this organist's temperament, still I very quietly suck on Lifesavers while he moves through his program and my mind finally shuts up. Finally, all was blissful silence, save organist and organ working together through the glorious Bach St. Anne Fugue. As is often my wont, I have moved from blasphemy to worship, all in the space of an hour and my cranium.



Blogger Gwen Gotsch said...

Imagine growing up in that church with that Christ Triumphant looming over you Sunday after Sunday. And during Wednesday school chapel as well. It all seems like home when I look back on it, but it also explains the distance I often sense between me and the Deity.

And I too wondered about the Wizard behind the dossal curtain. Actually I sort of thought God lived there. Then one day I got to peek behind--just more curtains in other liturgical colors and an odd plant stand or candabra.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I was just checking to see whether the 1 posted comment was from the person I thought it might be from. Bingo! Now I need to go get a life.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Suna said...

At least my childhood church was such an austere Presbyterian one that no curtains or giant deities confused me.

We have curtains but they just hide speakers. There are probably TOO MANY mysteries at a UU church.

Nice to read all these thoughts, though. The organ in the chapel where my son goes to college is a really nice one, and I have enjoyed hearing some Bach there already. Looking forward to more.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Ann Allen - Flying Woman Designs. said...

OMG - I am related to Jesus. I am pale and wan and also have a second toe longer than my first. Wow.
Thanks for clearing that up.

12:43 PM  
Blogger diziizleyelim said...

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2:09 PM  

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