“Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” Pacific Hills resounded with these words of proclamation this past Sunday as our hymns, led once again by our newly renovated organ emerged from our lips and filled the space. The alleluias have returned, and so has the organ. Thanks to a very generous gift, and thanks to the skills of the team of workers at Bedient Pipe Organ Company of Lincolnand Integrated Organ Technology of Atlanta, the Schantz organ is good as new, restored for the next generation of saints who call Pacific Hills their home.
f you do a little research on the history of pipe organs, you will quickly discover that, in their early history, organs were frequently given as extravagant gifts and quickly became symbols of pride and of large egos. That, certainly, is not the reason why Pacific Hills chose to undertake this project. As we sang during Lent, based on St. Paul’s writing in Galatians 6, “Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ my God”
So why, then, did we undertake this project? Why are we pursuing our capital campaign to make improvements to our church building? On Maundy Thursday, we sang together these words from Psalm 22: “It shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it.” That’s why. Everything in the church is ordered so as to proclaim Christ crucified, risen, and coming again in glory. Our church building, our singing, and our organ are tools. They are means to an end. They help us to teach Christ to the next generation.
So, let our sanctuary resound with glorious alleluias, just as now the vault of Heaven resounds in praise of love that still abounds: “Christ has triumphed! He is living! Alleluia!”
Dr. Jeffrey Blersch is Director of Music at Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in Omaha Nebraska
Jeffrey Blersch is Professor of Music at Concordia University, Nebraska, where he teaches organ, music theory, and is the conductor of the Cantamus Women’s Choir. Blersch is a graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he received degrees in organ performance and music education, and of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance.