"For God So Loved the World"
Sir John Stainer
I often encourage my students to think of historical ages in terms of what the people of the time could imagine and what they could not. And I suppose in the last hundred years or so, the great thing that we have going for us is our tools. Bring someone from Shakespeare’s time into this world, and of course he will marvel – and sometimes his marveling will be mingled with fear – at our cars and airplanes and earth-moving machines and this computer I am writing on, and the speed with which we can communicate with people across the world. Yet once that amazement has calmed down a bit, I think that the same man from another age would wonder what had happened to life itself: would wonder, for example, why he was far more likely to hear machines from far away than children from nearby.
When Sir John Stainer (1840-1901) was a little boy, his father, a schoolmaster of many talents including the musical, built a small organ for his home, and the boy John, a precocious lad, would …
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