This quote from John Hodges’ first lecture at the Toward the Quadrivium event struck a chord with me. It invoked a desire to act! I realized there are many more good things I should love. So many, in fact, that it would require more than a million lifetimes of study and learning to effectively love all the good gifts in this world. That is exciting! It is also overwhelming. Thankfully, Christ’s love has redeemed the world; His love is sufficient, mine is not.
Christ’s love and the fact that it is sufficient sometimes allow apathy to enter the life of a Christian. The fact that Christ’s love is sufficient, regardless of our actions, somehow makes us think we do not have to do anything. This is a misunderstanding of Christ’s love. He did not die for us so that we would know of His love and do nothing; He died for us so that we would take His love and manifest it to the world and to those around us.
Too often we do not live as though we know that Christ’s love has redeemed the world because we do not understand that it is the Church that carries out His redemption. Our actions are what God uses to redeem the world. We, as the instruments of Christ, are called into action.
This call to action means so much for Christians. This calling means we are to live a certain way. It means we are called to love that which deserves loving. It means we are called to study that which deserves loving. And it means we are called to learn that which deserves loving so that God will increase our faith.
At this year’s Toward the Quadrivium event, I heard a lot of eloquent reasons why music deserves more of my attention, my mind, and my love. Here is an example of why music deserves our love, and how an understanding of it can increase faith: harmony in music is an analogy of the harmony of the Gospel, the Trinity.
The essential harmony Christians should be aware of is the Trinity: three Persons, same in substance, equal in power and glory.* Jeremy Begbie, music professor at Duke University, admits this is a hard truth for the mind to comprehend, but argues that it is not a hard truth for the ear to understand. The ear understands the Trinity by analogy of a triad chord. For example, when all of the notes in a C chord (comprised of C, E, and G) are played together, the chord conveys one sound to the ear, but the ear can also distinguish each individual note in the chord. Is this not an example of the Trinity? Three in One? Our ears, Begbie argues, initially understand the Trinity better than our minds. Thus, we already have a concept of the Trinity through music, even before we are taught what the Trinity is.
This example excites me as a future music teacher. It also excites me to pursue a life of learning in order to understand more and more how God is seen in all things. I am excited that I will not only experience learning from my seat amidst God’s people on Sundays. I am excited about learning by living in the world throughout each week, so that my experience amidst God’s people on Sundays will become greater and greater.
*Westminster Shorter Catechism