Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Musings: Just One Theme

Not Amanda, but maybe
shestarted out this way.
Amanda, our sometimes organist, visited us Sunday, being home between college semesters. For the offertory, she surprised and delighted me by playing “Jesus Loves Me.” Of course it wasn’t just “Jesus Loves Me,” because Amanda is amazingly talented, so all kinds of notes were dancing and flying around the simple tune. I wasn’t sure what to call what she was doing, but the word “embellish” came to mind, and it seems to be the right word.

In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody (or harmony), but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line. Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central note.
Ornament (music) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not our fancy-schmancy
organ,but close enough.
“Jesus Loves Me” is easy enough for a preschooler to sing, or for me to play on my ukulele, but can be embellished to do itself proud on a cathedral’s pipe organ. Or in our case, a fancy-schmancy electronic organ in a small town Baptist church. 

And all the embellishments serve to point back to the simple theme.

The Bible is the same way. There’s one basic theme:  God loves us. A preschooler can understand this, while a scholar can spend decades studying the Holy Spirit’s embellishments on that theme.

Dr. Karl Barth, famous and
sometimes controversial theologian.
But he nailed it this time!
On four or so occasions, a famous scholar and theologian, Karl Barth, was asked to “summarize his whole life’s work in theology in a sentence.” Barth answered, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Thank you, Amanda, for reminding me of both the simplicity and the depth of the Gospel.

* * * * *
I hope to make Monday Musings a regular blog feature, highlighting happenings—sometimes serious, sometimes sacred, sometimes silly—of Sunday School, Worship, or Children’s Church.

Tune in tomorrow for another new feature, Top Ten List Tuesdays.

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