To God Be the Glory

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 Johann Sebastian Bach October 25, 2019, 7:00pm at the historic Calvary Church 27 Church Street, Stonington, CT


The organ’s notes descend from the lofty heights; cascading down in torrents of inspiration upon our blessed heads in a chapel of wood and white and light robin’s egg blue. A scant seventy souls have gathered on this Friday evening to partake in the splendor of live, fine music. The building could hold twice, maybe thrice our number. Twenty dollars has bought such accomplished mastery, the hearing of such a divine offering by Mr. Bach himself—a song of worship that has served as background music in the Great Conversation that has stretched across time.

The organ sings gloriously from its balcony perch. Skillfully the organist’s hands play the inspiration of an ancient sage. Nimbly his fingers pounce upon the keys and cause the notes to vibrate forth into the night air, forth into our very being. The lower notes rumble and roll their way into my chest. Forward blast the notes rushing forth in space and time; recalling to my listening ears the constant reality of the stream of time moving, rushing forward; faster and faster the sound courses through the sturdy wooden building and into our feeble, fleshly frame.

Time passes and carves lines upon our face and scars upon our heart; mercilessly rumbling and rolling forward ceasing not its somber tones. Back and forth rock the hands of the organist; up and down race the notes, race my breaths and the beating of my heart. Up and down fly the organist’s hands; fly up and down as quickly as move the moments of my days. Dear God, give me time, an extended measure, a lengthy bar! Let me not depart this house wherein I am so temporarily confined without a completed song of praise to Your blessed Name!

Arching, falling, rising —streams of praise pour forth from silent moving lips and beating vibrant hearts, from strings and wood, from metal pipes and channeled air. The chapel is filling as new wine in a cup and brimming over with noble thoughts and pure notes to deliver an appropriate sonnet of thanksgiving and humble adoration to the God for whom these meticulously carved wooden arches point upward.

Instruments harmoniously weave their utterances of glory, silent voices of mind and heart join in the creation of this tapestry of praise. Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing!

As Bach dedicated all his music Ad Dei Gloriam —To the Glory of God— so too will I dedicate the music of my life to Him who is worthy of all.


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