St Alban's Church

Churchill Parken 6, Langelinie, DK 1263, Copenhagen, Denmark | Map


Today is: Tuesday 16th, 2019

Music, Mystery and God - A Message from the Chaplain

Posted on Wednesday 5th October, 2016

In Anthony Trollope’s great novels The Barchester Chronicles we are introduced to the obsequious and obnoxious clergyman Obadiah Slope (played brilliantly, by the way, in the TV adaptation by the late Alan Rickman.)

Mr. Slope is not a fan of church music. In fact, in the course of one of his sermons he launches a blistering attack on what he sees as the distractions and dangers of music during divine service.

“In the beginning was the Word,” he thunders form the pulpit “and the Word was God. The Word. Not music, not incantation, not meretricious melody! God is the Word and the Word is God.”

But later, after this tirade, Slope is approached by one of the true heroes of the Barchester novels, the gentle Precentor Harding – a man who, as it happens, has a passionate love for music. And Harding in his typically understated but eloquent way reminds Slope — and all of us — of the truth that:

“Where there is no music, there is no mystery, and where there is no mystery there is no God.”

I’ve been thinking of those words lately as I’ve made preparations for our Sponsored Songs of Praise service next Sunday afternoon. The wonderful response to this fund-raising effort (well over 500 individual votes were cast in total) underlines the love that many of us have for hymns and hymn-singing, and the role that music plays in our spiritual lives.

Indeed, next Sunday afternoon’s service is only one of three very special musical events in church this month. Let me list them for you:

Finally, if you are wondering which seven hymns topped the public vote, then you’ll just have to come along on Sunday afternoon to find out! However, I can give you one hint: the hymn with the most votes was an Irish one. And no, there was no vote fixing!

God bless.


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    Sung Eucharist 10:30am
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