Local News: From October 1 to 4, Belhaven University’s Theatre Department’s will be presenting The God Committee, a new play, written by Mark St. Germain and directed by Joseph Frost. The performance (adults are $10, $5 for children, seniors and students, and admission is free for Belhaven students, staff and faculty) will take place in the Belhaven BlackBox Theatre at the Center for the Arts.
Belhaven’s web site provides the following plot summary:
“The God Committee features a boardroom of doctors, nurses, a social worker and a Catholic priest who attempt to objectively decide which patient will receive an in-transit heart before it’s too late. This hour and a half production raises questions we hope to never ask. When there are three people’s lives dependent on a new heart and only one available, which person will get the heart?”
Showtimes are Wednesday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, October 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 3 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, October 4 at 2:00 p.m. (matinee) and 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the Belhaven box office at 601-965-7026.
Interviewer: Dr. Luther, in addition to theology, one of your most memorable legacies is music. From your earliest days, you have been a defender of the arts, particularly music. Why is this so?
Luther: Singing lightens the heart. Singing has nothing to do with the affairs of this world; singers are merry and free from sorrows and cares. Music is the best solace for a sad and sorrowful mind; by it the heart is refreshed and settled again in peace. We read in the Bible, that the good and godly kings maintained and paid singers.
Interviewer: You have argued that music should be used as one of the church’s main means of worship, and you have written scores of hymns yourself. What do you believe is the most effective way to ensure that music isn’t neglected in the church?
Luther: We must teach music in schools; a schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, or I would not regard him; neither should we ordain young men as preachers, unless they have been well exercised in music.
Interviewer: In the Bible, we read that David used music to comfort Saul when he was having a panic. Wouldn’t it be good if Christians relied more on music and less on superstition today when they were similarly plagued?
Luther: That Christians rely on so many other things other than God and his gifts when going through tragedies is itself a tragedy.
Interview: Though some say that “superstition” is on the decline—and by this they usually mean orthodox Christianity—certain ancient superstitious practices, such as astrology, seem to actually be gaining in popularity. What should the Christian’s attitude towards astrology be?
Luther: I like astronomy and mathematics, which rely upon demonstrations and sure proofs. As to astrology, it is nothing. So long as astronomy remains in her circle, whereunto God has ordained her, so is she a fair gift of God; but when she will step out of her bounds—that is, when she will prophecy and speak of future things, how it will go with one, or what fortune or misfortune another shall have, then she is not to be justified. What is done by God, ought not to be ascribed to the stars. The upright and true Christian religion opposes and confutes all such fables.
Interviewer: You said that astrology’s mistake is that it gives credit to the stars for works that God ought to be credited for. Would you elaborate?
Luther: Great wrong is done to God’s creatures by the star-expounders. God has created and placed the stars in the firmament, to the end they might give light to the kingdoms of the earth, make people glad and joyful in the Lord, and be good signs of years and seasons. But the star-peepers feign that those creatures, of God created, darken and trouble the earth, and are hurtful. All creatures of God are good, and by God created only for good, though mankind makes them evil, by abusing them
Interviewer: In other words, though God intended the stars for our enjoyment, astrology often presents the stars as something to be feared, not enjoyed. What would you say, though, to Christians who believe that the stars can be looked at to prophesy good things, such as Christ’s birth?
Luther: The star over Bethlehem that led the wise men was an exception. This should not be expected to be the norm. To look to the stars, even for good things, is still wrong. To believe in the stars, or to trust thereon, or to be affrighted thereat, is idolatry, and against the first commandment. God is to be feared and trusted above all things. He is the one who maps out man’s destiny, and he is the one to be heeded.
* Hypothetical dialogue, adapted from Martin Luther’s Table Talk.