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By Mike Mccauley on
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Jun 23 in Musings
Disney Hall in downtown LA is a cultural treasure, outside and in. The unique exterior of the Frank Gehry-designed building is amazing. The sightlines and acoustics of the soaring interior are breathtaking. But the truly wondrous thing, of course, is what happens in the space. Thursday night we were fortunate to be there for a concert of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The program was a mix of several things in the first half, followed by a 20th anniversary rendition of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna after the intermission.
For a fair portion of the first half, I found myself thinking that many (not all) of the songs reflected some of the philosophical wandering that marks our current culture.  Lyrics included many humanistic “I” statements, discourses on the pain of loneliness and the elevation of love-in-general. The music was breathtakingly performed, but I found myself slightly dissatisfied. It was like we were collectively opening doors, searching for something, poking around in the dark but never able to quite put our finger on the real source of a deep longing. I thought of St. Augustine’s famous line from the fourth century, “O Lord, you have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.” That was it- a vague restlessness in searching for something concrete, a focal point to turn towards, Someone to receive the longings.

And then, after the break, we found it in Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna (“Eternal Light”). It’s sung in Latin, but fortunately they posted the translation. And the words poured over us like fresh water after a long and hot hike:
 O Lord, hear my prayer, for unto thee all flesh shall come.
Without your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest.
Grant the deliverance of salvation, grant everlasting joy.
In thee, O Lord, I have trusted: let me never be confounded.
O born light of light, Jesus, redeemer of the world,
Come, Holy Spirit, Send forth from heaven the ray of thy light.
Come, Father of the poor, come, giver of gifts,
            Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord
It was just what I needed- something deeper than philosophical generalities, higher than human emotion and beyond unfulfilled searching. “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.” It was pure gospel. In Disney Hall.
                See you soon,
                            Pastor Dan      

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