Jeremy Begbie on the miracle of music

“Music making and music hearing are ways we engage the physical world. Even in the case of electronically generated music, the body is often involved through, say, a keyboard, and patterns of vibrating air are mediated through physical speakers. The physical things we involve ourselves with in music have ultimately arisen through the free initiative of God's love—they are part of the ordo amoris. To treat them as given in this full sense has a series of radical implications for understanding music. The most basic response of the Christian toward music will be gratitude. This does not mean giving unqualified thanks for every bit of music we hear, but it will mean being thankful for the very possibility of music. It will mean regularly allowing a piece of music to stop us in our tracks and make us grateful that there is a world where music can occur, that there is a reality we call ‘matter’ that oscillates and resonates, that there is sound, that there is rhythm built into the fabric of reality, that there is the miracle of the human body, which can receive and process sequences of tones. For from all this and through all this, the marvel of music is born. None of it had to come into being. But it has, for the glory of God and for our flourishing. Gaining a Christian mind on music means learning the glad habit of thanksgiving.”

—Jeremy S. Begbie, Books & Culture (“Music in God’s World”)

Comments

a. steward said…
I went ahead and got the subscription, and this was the first issue that came. I definitely enjoyed this article. I was also pretty stoked to see a full page on Tool. Made me miss my KUFO days.
Dan said…
A lovely and enriching blog. Thank you. Jeremy Begbie is a friend and colleague in the world of theology and the arts, and we should be very grateful for his voice.