Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, The Christophers
The Music of the Sacraments
In the life of the Catholic Church, the seven sacraments are visible signs or rituals instituted by
Christ that serve as channels of God’s supernatural grace. There’s Baptism, Confession, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. Singer-songwriter Sarah Hart has now
created an album called “Sacrament” with songs that serve as meditations on these timeless aspects
of our faith lives, and can also be used during Masses.
The project’s genesis came when her daughter was preparing for Confirmation several years ago. Hart looked at the song selection and saw that many of them didn’t fit the service. She decided to write a song specifically geared toward the meaning of Confirmation. It’s called “May You Walk,” and includes the lyrics, “As you are sealed with the truth / So may you seal the truth in your heart. / Write God’s word upon your soul / and know you belong.”
During an interview with me on “Christopher Closeup,” Hart explained that making the album was a refresher course in the sacraments that led her to gain a deeper understanding of each one. For instance, after reading the Rites of Baptism for guidance and inspiration for the track “Gather at the Water,” she said, “There’s a little passage that talks about receiving the garment of God. [I thought], what a great image to be receiving! We’re not just standing around dipping a baby in water. We are receiving the garment of God’s love. We’re receiving God’s mercy. And the biggest thing is we are receiving the welcome of the community that we’re entering….[and] the supernatural welcome of God, where He says, ‘Welcome to the family.’”
Hart is also a big proponent of building community in the Church, so her song “To Live With Him Forever,” which addresses the Eucharist, focuses on the “communal” part of Communion, which connects us to the body of Christ. She said, “We take Communion knowing and believing in a God who does not reject us, but accepts us, loves us and expects us to take Communion, and also to give communion to the world. It’s one of my big things, personally, that church doesn’t stop at the door. The world is church. Life is church and holiness. So [we take] Communion with the body of believers. We take it with the saints, but we also take it with the whole world because that’s where we’re meant to share it: with the whole world.”
That theme of community and relationship is also present in the track geared toward Marriage, called “Beloved, Arise,” sung with PJ Anderson. Hart said she had her husband in mind the whole time she wrote it, and found inspiration in the Song of Songs. But she also believes the lyrics can reach even further into people’s experiences.
“When I do this song in concert,” said Hart, “I ask, ‘Who’s in relationship?’ Maybe five people raise their hand. [Then I say], ‘I should see every hand in the room go up because we are all in relationship with someone.’ So this song applies to us all. And I think it goes a step further in that my second goal is to paint not just the union in marriage, but the mystical union of Christ in his Church. He is calling us all constantly saying, ‘Beloved, arise… Come with Me. Don’t waste your time. Serve Me, love Me, let Me love you, and let’s do something wonderful on this planet while you have the time.”
For free copies of the Christopher News Note FINDING YOUR PATH HOME TO GOD, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org