Sunday’s postlude is the ever-popular Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707). An organist of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, Clarke had a distinguished career that ended in tragedy. Unlucky in love, Clarke took his own life in the Cathedral churchyard at the young age of 33. Suicide victims were not allowed to be buried in the Cathedral cemetery, but legend has it that an exception was made for Clarke. He was a very successful Baroque composer, and is the composer of much music that has grown to become favorites around the world. The Trumpet Voluntary has been used not only at English royal weddings, but at weddings across the globe. Sometimes, a composer really latches onto a timeless idea, and I think Clarke did that with this piece. His life story ends tragically, but I think that it illustrates the beauty and power of musical art as well as the many facets of the human condition. Even though Clarke’s story has a sad ending, his music is so full of joy that it is used for some of the most joyous occasions that we celebrate. Beauty can come from everyone and every situation, I believe, and I think Clarke would be pleased that his music is so well-known and loved today.
We have exciting events coming up in the life of our church, but while momentous occasions stand out in the memory, I love the “ordinary” Sundays in which we find ourselves right now. Musically and spiritually, we can take time to look around and observe the everyday beauty in our church and in the world. As fall continues, a sense of expectation hangs in the air. Let’s not rush past this time, however. Let’s enjoy the simple things surrounding us in the here and now. There is much beauty in the simple things around us – even the “normal” Sundays!