I have spent a considerable amount of time this semester learning to play hymns on the piano. Because there is much intentionality around this, it has developed into a spiritual practice of sorts. I have not **loved** the 1982 hymnal and am not a big lover of the organ. As a way to heighten my appreciation and improve my own musicality, there are about six hymns that have meant a lot to me. Wondrous Love, Joyful, Joyful, Simple Gifts, Be Thou My Vision, Fount of All Holiness, and Amazing Grace are the hymns I've played the most. Something 'clicks' during my practice time -- my spirit being lifted but nothing overtly emotional. What is the difference between 'work' and spiritual itentionality -- is this prayerful to practice even if I don't feel anything. I have felt like I've been wandering in the desert--keep on hoping one of these practices: music making, Tai Chi will open the spiritual door.
As I pay more attention to music, I have gone to a few Spanish Eucharists in the past month or so. I think it means much for the music ...I really did not embrace some of the guitar music-- it just was not very inspiring and the singing just very mediocre. It reminds me of Neil Alexander's essay on excellence in liturgy "people appreciate quality." Part of me is so opposed to choirs where one must rehearse but on the other hand I really appreciate excellence in liturgy. What matters most is that this music is of this community for this community.