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The Gospel According to J. S. Bach

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The Gospel According to J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was certainly one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time. Today's Bach festivals, concerts, recordings and biographies testify to his immense worldwide popularity. Few realize, however, that Bach was firmly rooted in a musical tradition begun by Martin Luther two centuries earlier. In fact, Bach composed most of his music for Sunday morning church services.

In this issue you will learn about Bach's faith and its expression in his music, the early Lutheran music tradition from which he came, and how Bach's music continues to proclaim the Christian story. Finally, you are invited to reflect on how we could incorporate Bach's music into today's worship services.

  • To the Glory of God Alone - Fueled by his Lutheran faith, J.S. Bach devoted his life to creating music for refreshment, proclamation, and praise.
  • Also: Caffeine and Counterpoint
  • Singing the Word of God - Protestant Reformer Martin Luther planted the seed that grew into a rich musical tradition culminating in Bach.
  • Also: The Gospel Truth
  • Grace Notes - Luther's example inspired Christian composers to fill the church with the finest music they could create.
  • What Language Shall I Borrow? - When Bach wanted to express the depths of Christ's suffering, he used the words and melodies of well-known hymns.
  • Sermons That Sing - As part of his century's lengthy worship services, Bach's music reinforced and deepened the proclamation of the Word.
  • Also: Bach's Bible
  • Freedom and Faith - Bach still speaks to the church today
  • Bach in Japan - With the help of conductor Masaaki Suzuki, Bach's music is teaching Christian hope to a secular nation
Issue 95 * Summer 2007
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