Three-fold Chords

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote many a choral piece for the Church, and the words of those pieces reflect his deep faith . . . Every part of Christian devotion is expressed in his music . . .

And yet, Bach’s music expresses the truth even when no words are used. The very order and logic of it speak of a universe ruled and governed by its Creator. Even more, Bach was able to put theology into the music itself.

. . . Arius, the fourth-century heretic . . . could not believe that it made any sense that Christians worship a God who is three Persons. The doctrine of the Trinity offended his sense of mathematical purity, a purity based upon a simplistic, undeveloped understanding.

. . . Athanasius, spent a lifetime refuting the error of Arius, and did so at great personal expense, going more than once into exile. For centuries, Christian theologians have refuted the Arian heresy, mostly by proving that the Trinity is a doctrine revealed clearly in the Scriptures and understood to be true by the Church in every age . . .

The Christian artist Johann Sebastian Bach did something, however, that theologians and scholars cannot do with all of the words of every language. Bach did not refute Arius; instead, he showed musically how the problem that vexed Arius could be solved. The “St. Anne” Fugue does not explain the truth; it demonstrates it with mathematical complexity, and yet with the simplicity of genius.

Is the “St. Anne” Fugue one or three? The answer, which every ear can hear for itself, is that “these three are one.”

-adapted from Robert Hart

Read more: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=17-08-014-v#ixzz1w0X0oPhj

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