On Sunday, our chronological exploration of sacred music will move us into the “Romantic” period of music. We’ll spend three Sundays, in France, Germany and England, respectively. One of the most important factors was the rise of individualism as composers sought to express something unique to their experience of the world—and not merely a well-executed piece of musical craftsmanship fitting into a Classical form. It’s an instinct I think we can recognize today, the desire to be heard, to say something unique and make an impact on the world. Most of the musical expressions of this period had their greatest manifestation on the concert stage, as the increasing length and size of the orchestras called on to play this music made its use impractical within the worship services. Nevertheless, there are great examples of musical Romanticism written for the church that beautifully express the seeking out of the divine.There is something wonderful about being able to look back at art and literature and see the striving, the creativity, and the development of thought and craftsmanship. What a joy to join in with the generations of our fellow humans as we seek to give thanks to God for his beautiful presence in the world.