Sep 1, 2023

Rector’s Letter September 2023

written by Richard Bland
Cheerful musical image

Dear friends,

I always approach September with a dollop of excitement and a little wobbly anticipation – for it is the month in which Holy Trinity is involved (very happily) in the Lammermuir Festival. This fortnight of music making, held all over East Lothian, provides a wonderful daily feast of professional, and often world renown, musicians playing in many various venues and at our church most lunchtimes. Being held alongside everything else that makes up the life of the church the logistics of the Festival can get quite tricky! However every year all goes well and everyone comes to the last concert exhausted but uplifted by what has been heard and enjoyed.

The Lammermuir Festival, of course, follows quite closely on the back of the Edinburgh Festival where a broad gamut of the arts are celebrated and much music is performed. At the end of August a goodly crew of us went to see one of the Festival’s concerts at St George’s and St Andrew’s church to hear Joan Busby sing, Sarah de Bats play her flute and Stephen Doughty play the piano. And we were treated to such a wonderful hour of music!

Music making has been part of human activity right from the beginning and is still present in every society today. Earliest evidence comes from Africa where primitive `flutes’ have been found made of bone or wood. I guess there has always been something within us humans that inspires us to make, play and enjoy music. Music certainly evokes the emotions and memories … it brings people together … lifts the heart, and has been aptly called the `food of the soul’. (Arthur Schopenhauer)

Is it any wonder then that music can be used in worship so effectively, and that religion and belief has inspired so much spiritual music? It should also not be surprising that many, particularly the visitors to Holy Trinity, comment so favourably on our music provision – with our wonderful congregational singing and beautiful music provided by our organists/pianists. Music in worship matters and when it is done with care and sensitivity it creates the right atmosphere and ambience which naturally helps people to lift their spirit and heart to God.

Of course there are many Biblical references to music in worship – especially in the Psalms. For example, Psalm 95 says: `O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!’ Music in worship is directed to God first and foremost, and secondarily to and for each other. Our music and singing communicates and expresses our sense of awe and wonder in the presence of God … and should lead our spirits out of ourselves into the heavenly realm.

It is in this context that I give thanks to Mary, Emily, Stephen and Joan for their inspiring and wonderful contribution to the music in Holy Trinity. I also give thanks to all who contribute to the Music Group who play monthly, those who sing in the gathered choir for special occasions and to the whole congregation who sing with such spirit and vigour our hymns and Mass settings. We are truly blessed to be able to express our praise and worship in this way.

with love, Liz