I’ve become a grateful fan of Clemency Burton-Hill and her book ‘Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Everyday’ ever since I bought a copy several years ago. In it she offers a piece of music for every day of the year, and a brief commentary that helps to open up the piece chosen. Linked with her playlist on Spotify, its been an important part of my daily prayer ever since, introducing me to music much of which was not familiar to me. God speaks powerfully through music.
Imagine then, my delight with the publication of a second volume this year ‘Another Year of Wonder’ which I eagerly acquired. Her choice for January 1st was a piece by J.S. Bach and in her commentary she writes:
“What a thing it is, [at the beginning of the year] to embark on an entire new journey around the sun. Simultaneously the most normal and predictable thing in the world, yet, if you really think about it, kind of a miracle”.
I’d never thought of it like that but it’s obvious isn’t it? At the beginning of the year we begin another journey around the sun, and it is a miracle for me as it causes awe and wonder and thus changes me.
That reminds me of some words I came across many years ago, written by the theologian Noel Dermot O’Donoghue: that in Celtic thought, the Sun is not a metaphor or an image of God “ but the medium through which Christ shines. That same sun which we see physically is but the outward appearance of that light which enlightened every man and woman.” The Cosmic Christ is present in our world as the Sun, bringing the light, warmth and energy, without which there would be no life on earth. He is always there even when clouds obscure Him, and at night He is there through His reflection in the moon. That’s kind of a miracle too.
That in turn connects with words of Evelyn Underhill that I recently read and which equally point to something miraculous:
“So many Christians are like deaf people at a concert. They study the programme carefully, believe every statement made in it, speak respectfully of the music, but only really hear a phrase now and again. So they have no notion of the mighty symphony that fills the universe, to which our lives are destined to make their tiny contribution, the self-expression of the Eternal God.”
What a jaw-dropping vision these words together offer at the beginning of another year. Another year encircling the Cosmic Christ, being sustained and nourished by Him along with the rest of creation, while being called to be co-creators with Him of the self-expression of the Eternal God.