Over the last month or more we have been surrounded by a whirlwind of anger and division. Anger, hurt, despair and a host of other feelings have washed across our country. Many of these emotions have been of a destructive kind that has overflowed its banks and fueled the searing-hot hatred of “them”, whomever “them” might be.
But then I saw This. Four men sat in a stairwell and sang something. And it was beautiful.
True confessions: most of you know (or at least suspect) that I love Gregorian Chant and early polyphony. It is music that is pure and beautiful. Is it beautiful because it is directed to worship of the Creator of beauty? Or is is does its innate beauty cause us to think of that Creator? I suspect the answer is “both”.
Four men sat in a stairwell. I would love to know how they came to perform this piece. How they learned of it. How they came to appreciate it. And how they thought others might appreciate it. But they were right. About all of it.
This modern arrangement of an 8th Century antiphon (something traditionally sung immediately before or after a psalm) hit the interwebs at the beginning of July and went viral. Over a million views as of July 6th, according to their Facebook page. But it wasn’t on the news, has not been mentioned by the talking heads who offer opinions on the merits (or lack thereof) of the unrest that has been rampaging across the land. But why not?
Why is it not noteworthy that four men sat in a stairwell to record a short piece of music for no reason other than that it is beautiful? For no reason other than that it pays homage to a faith that is woefully out of fashion? These men have done one thing. It is a small thing, but it is a thing that brings people together and softens hearts rather than the reverse (which has been all too common lately).
They call themselves Kings Return. According to the group’s Facebook page they are friends who come from a variety of musical traditions and while they don’t even identify their individual names, they are not shy about promoting their Christian faith.
According to the information on the music video, the Latin which they sing translates to:
“Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.”
I don’t know these men at all, or even who all of them are. But I consider them to be nothing short of heroes. It takes a lot of effort today to find something beautiful and to share it, particularly when that something beautiful is from a deeply historical Christianity that quite out of style in our modern world.
Beauty is truth. Truth is beauty. I thank these gentlemen for giving us a little bit of both at a time when we need them desperately.
Photos from the Facebook page of Kings Return
Music from the YouTube page Kings Return Music
Hat tip to Sarah Robsdottir at Aletia.org which brought this to my attention.