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Mozart, Christianity, and Growth

I sit in my pink swivel chair and prop my feet on my desk, and I simply listen hindered by no preconceived notion of Mozart’s Requiem. This is a magnificent piece of music.

It has a slow lament from the strings and dizzying heights from the choir who sing every last word with precision and appropriate feeling.

This is not an easy piece of music to listen to. Compared to today’s popular music, it is not easily labeled ‘catchy.’ It takes time and a sort of effort to listen to this requiem by Mozart, but it is well worth it.

To get to know a beautiful kind of music like this is incredibly rewarding. It connects the listener to him and to the composer as well; I get to see just a glimpse into Mozart himself.

For three years now, I have been studying music here at Mississippi College. Interestingly enough, I found that I have gotten better at enjoying music. I found that knowing, appreciating, and even liking music is an acquired skill just like playing an instrument or perfecting a voice.

As well as learning to love music more, Mississippi College has been an environment where I can learn to love Christ more.

Throughout my college career so far, I have been stretched by different churches, college ministries, RUF, Shawreth, friends, parents, faculty, circumstances, trials, summer camp, and much more. All of these things are growing me to be more and more like Christ.

It has become clear to me that getting closer to Christ and truly pursuing him are not always easy tasks. It can be difficult, and Jesus even guarantees us trials; “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

It is work to follow after Christ. His gate is narrow, and the way is less traveled. Christ is an unpopular choice, and even among Christian peers, many of us will hear from Jesus only the latter part of that verse: “the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

We are much slower and less excited to hear the first part: “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

No, that is not the most fun thing to hear. But we know that if we love Christ, we will obey his commandments. He tells us to go into the world to baptize and make disciples. Once again, this is work, and we know it.

We, as Christians, are scared to put ourselves in places where we really have to depend fully on Christ. We would rather be comfortable in a place that we were not pushed as hard. Living like Jesus and following him closely with our lives is difficult.

The beautiful thing about this is the fact that the closer we are to Christ, the more we depend on him. The more time we spend with him, the more we will be blessed by simply knowing our very own creator.

Now do not get me wrong; I like popular music as much as the next guy. Led Zeppelin pulled me into music almost solely.

They are a very talented band, but for the most part, their music is fairly simple and not necessarily challenging to the ear. They are rooted in blues; that is just not complex.

We can look at a band like Mumford and Sons, who also have a pretty simple style. Once more, they are talented, and they make appealing music, but it is really pretty straightforward. My appeal is that we ought to mature in our music tastes; we should expand our horizons.

From the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” we see an example of this expansion. “When I was 15, I hung out at a local record store, and the guy there thought he knew what I liked, and one day, handed me this record album, and it was John Coltrane.

I took it home and played it, and I hated it. I mean, I really hated it. So, I played it again. I played it again, and I played it again, and I just couldn’t stop playing it.”

This character later says that his having a baby is “like falling in love with John Coltrane all over again.”

I like the first quote because even though Mr. Holland says he “really hated” Coltrane’s album, he continued to try it anyway. It was not easy for him to understand the music, but he kept trying and working at it.

In the same way, it takes work to come to a more full relationship with Christ. When I was younger, I knew I ought to read my bible daily, but that was not easy.

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At this point in my life, it is very easy for me, so now I work on reading more and thinking more like Christ and praying continually.

Paul said to the Corinthians “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.” Spiritual “milk” has its place in our lives, but Peter reminds us that we ought to grow up and mature, “like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk, and that by it, you may grow up into salvation.”

The point here is that the milk is intended to bring us to more solid foods. Jesus does not want a stagnant relationship with us. He tells us to be either hot or cold.

Both hot and cold water are useful for different things, yet lukewarm water grows stagnant and gets flies and bacteria in it. Of course the Lord would vomit that up!

Music can be incredibly rewarding when you work for it. Mostly, though, I encourage all readers of this article to pursue Christ with all you have. Do not run aimlessly, but run to win the race.

Kirk Hensley, Contributing Writer

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