Our whole family saw the movie Because of Winn-Dixie last Saturday night. It's a sweet movie, thankfully populated by something other than Disney's clever kids and clueless parents. One key element in the film is the "Litmus Lozenge," a type of hard candy invented by a battle-scarred Civil War veteran who found a way to distill both sweetness and sorrow. It's described as having a "melancholy" taste.
Anyway, at church on Sunday the prelude was a jazzy version of "Jesus Loves Me"-- a piano, soft drum kit, bass, and a soprano sax. The soprano sax in particular was beautiful, and I asked the kids about it in the car later. We agreed that the addition of the sax made the song sound like a Litmus Lozenge.
Then later in the week I was asked to adjudicate a contest for new worship songs. As I played through the entries on the piano, I kept noticing how the addition of one note in a chord could change its flavor entirely - and thus that of the entire piece. In one song, after a fairly interesting verse, the chorus begins with an "Alleluia"-- on that chord I wished the composer had added an E-natural to his F2 chord, thus making it an Fmaj9.
I wonder if all our alleluias in worship -- at least until Christ's return -- should be sung with a hint of melancholy, like the Litmus Lozenge.