Trinity 2 – The Heavenly Banquet

Sermon by Rev. Christian C. Tiews – 06/13/2010

“Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”

He was born in England in 1872, the son of an Anglican minister.

After studying music under the masters of his day, he went on to become one of the most important English composers of the early 20th century, writing symphonies, chamber music, operas, and film scores.

He even incorporated melodies of English folk music into many church hymns.

In fact, no fewer than twenty songs in our Lutheran Service Book—including the sermon hymn we sang moments ago—were composed by this man.

Yet despite being the son of a minister, his Christian faith was damaged—perhaps by the influence of his great uncle, Charles Darwin.

As such, sadly, this musician became an agnostic.
So while he did set sacred texts to beautiful melodies, this was more to express a sense of community with the English people—than to give glory to God.

However, the reason this musician serves as our illustration this morning is because of an incident occurring in 1935.

You see, in contrast to the beautiful music that he wrote, he was actually quite a gruff man.
So much so, that when King George V invited him to a royal ceremony in which he was to be knighted for his services to the British Empire, the musician rejected the invitation.

Why did he reject this honor?

Out of a disdain for the Empire? Because he rejected King George V? Out of a feeling of unworthiness? Or perhaps due to selfish pride?


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