We were gathered in the living room of Gentiana in the soft light of candles and lamps, some sitting on chairs, others on the floor, having been called together for a spontaneous hour of music. Ken was to leave the next day, and Debby and Udo felt that the household should experience an hour of his lute playing. The time began with Ellis playing a recorder accompanied by the lute, and we relaxed with inward sighs of relief at being carried into another moment of history through our ears. The lute went on, as Ken played one piece after another, pieces written and played by German and French musicians centuries ago. We felt we were crossing a bridge with sudden ease and reality, a bridge into the past, through our ears and eyes. “This,” we thought to ourselves, “is how people in the seventeenth century felt as they heard what we are hearing.”

Music bridges gaps in a vivid way that permeates our whole beings, and why shouldn’t it? God, who made us in his image, had already made music. “Where wast thou,” God asks, “when I laid the foundation of the earth … when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7). What is the music of the stars like? We cannot imagine, but as my door is open this foggy spring morning, I can hear what the songs of the birds were like as they sang before man ever sang a song. Bird songs: an element of continuity with the time before man and woman were there to hear them. Bird songs, heard by God and the angels. Our ears can hear bird songs that were heard by Adam and Eve, by Abraham and Isaac, by David and Daniel, by Paul and Silas, by Luther and Calvin, Spurgeon and Livingstone.

We had a long conversation about music after the last lute tones died away. We asked ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.