Asses and Hogs

Article in Stretton Focus, October 2017

I am attempting to write for URC Voice in the middle of August. The Stretton festival has just finished and the Prom concerts are well under way. We have been able to enjoy a feast of music both nationally and locally. We are fortunate in Church Stretton that we have so many able musicians willing to share their talents with the rest of us. We benefit from their performances in coffee concerts and the like and their teaching through the University of the Third Age.
This year is the 500th anniversary of the nailing of Luther’s treatises to the church door thereby signalling the start of the Reformation. One of the reforms which was important to Martin Luther was congregational singing. He expressed his strong views about music and worship in the following uncompromising words:
“Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our hearts, minds and spirits. A person who does not regard music as a marvellous creation of God does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs!”
He wanted everyone to be able to sing of their faith in their native tongue.
Ageing congregations and shortage of accompanists are making it more and more difficult to maintain congregational singing, but we should do all we can to encourage it. Singing together is a great act of fellowship and we should take part in it even if our contribution resembles the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs!

Howard Bridge

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