Monday, August 13, 2007
Taking the Battle to the Enemy
God inhabits the praises of His people. By praises, battles were won and cities were overthrown. By praises, David established the kingdom of Israel, Paul freed prisoners and won the Praetorian Guard.
Recently, I have had occasion to witness how much the Evil One fears and resists the praise of God.
Anne spent most of the summer at the famous Interlochen Arts Camp, studying music composition. Throughout her work there she made no secret of the religious impulse for her pursuit of music. For the culmination of her six weeks of work there, she set a portion of the psalm David composed for the inauguration of his tabernacle at Jerusalem, the forerunner of the Temple proper. (The text is found in IChron. 16: 8-36) She was the only composer to set text for the human voice and hers was the only Scripture slated to be sung by any of the nearly 2,500 music students over the entire summer.
Well, composition students at Interlochen are responsible to recruit and to rehearse musicians to perform their pieces at the three New Composers' Forums. And the quality of the performance has to be approved by their composition faculty.
Throughout the summer, Anne was particularly plagued by difficulties with getting everybody to the right place at the right times. First, one cellist after another forgot or double-booked the faculty demonstration hour or didn't have time to practice. Then the harpist forgot to reserve a harp for the Forum hour. None of her early pieces appeared on the Forums for which they were scheduled. And these were the non-religious instrumental pieces.
For the Chronicles piece, she kept the musicians required to a minimum: two sopranos, a baritone and a piano. Things went along swimmingly until the pianist failed to show up for the warm-up rehearsal for the faculty. Her professor graciously gave her an extra hour to find her pianist before the professor went home for the day.
Anne covered the large Interlochen campus personally and with the help of friends. She called me at Winston's Shakespeare play in great distress. And the whole cast did the only thing we could; we prayed. But the pianist seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth (as far as we know, he was never seen at camp again. But this was the last two days...).
Finally, she was sitting outside her professor's office waiting to tell him the sad news, when another student saw her long face and asked if she was OK. She looked up and realized that this young man was a piano/organ major who is the music minister at his home church.
"How's your sightreading?" she asked. "Pretty good," he shrugged modestly.
'Pretty good' (Ha! I've seen the music. It's challenging.) was good enough. Not only did this young man con the score in 15 minutes, but he had it well enough in hand to help cue the singers from the keyboard - as he so often did back at his church.
So on the last Forum on the the last day of camp on the last Sunday of Interlochen, the praise of the Lord rang from a bastion of secular arts. And I got to hear it!
Whenever God promised Abraham a part of Canaan, Abraham built an altar there and offered the sacrifices pleasing to the Lord. It was a declaration that this land was marked for conquest by God. Interlochen has been so marked by the sacrifice of praise. Won't it be interesting to see the conquest?!