We are in a dance culture in the twenty-first century with shows like Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Dancing on Ice regularly hitting the leading places for popular viewing. Dance in the Church as an act of worship has become controversial, although some charismatic, Messianic (Jewish Christians) and orthodox churches practice this. On the other hand dance outside of the Church has become acceptable by most Christians today. This article attempts to show the view on dancing throughout church history.
An increasing number of Christians in today’s church are becoming involved in the life of theatre, whether it be on the stage or on the film set, and this is indeed encouraging; there needs to be more ‘salt and light’ of Christ in this very needy industry. But it has not always been so in church history. In this brief article I shall endeavour to bring to light the Christian attitude to theatre in the first five centuries of the church, and then give a brief outline of the church’s attitude to theatre after that.
In 2006 Isolde James-Griffiths pioneered the Eternity Chamber Music Ensemble. As a professional soprano her passion is to combine classical music with the Christian message. Together with her husband Paul, they have sought to inspire and challenge the audiences with the spiritual lives of the great composers in music and narration.
In the twenty-first century all sorts of Christian-based music can be found in the church, from classical and traditional psalm and hymn singing, to rock, rap, soul, pop, blues, country, folk and others. This brief article covers the subject of music in the early church through to today, and shows the struggles and rich blessings of this art in our lives throughout history. Often a new style of music arose, which many strongly rejected as worldly, only for the next generation to accept as normal and godly.
In this unique concert a rich tapestry of history, music, theatre and visual art combine together to reveal the events that shaped this nation and impacted the world. We begin our journey with Columba and Cuthbert in the sixth and seventh centuries, and pass through the Middle Ages with Queen Margaret and her son, King David, and then onto John Knox, the Covenanters, the Enlightenment and nineteenth-century revival movements here. We conclude with the present day. Each era is reflected by actors in period costumes and by the music of those times.
In 2005 I began to research the spiritual lives of the great composers for the narratives of our concerts in Edinburgh, but I did not know where to start. I prayed for guidance and typed these words on my computer: Spiritual lives of the great composers. Lo and behold, a book appeared with that very title! After sending off for that book and reading it, this has now become the basis of the material about the composers’ spiritual lives in our concerts. My thanks go to the author, Patrick Kavanaugh, who has done the work already!