Non Nobis Domine

Last week at our church, our music pastor, Don McMinn, explained the history of one of my favorite hymns, Non Nobis Domine. The men’s chorus sang it flawlessly.

Last week at our church, our music pastor, Don McMinn, explained the history of one of my favorite hymns, Non Nobis Domine. The men’s chorus sang it flawlessly.

My heart was so full. I traveled back in time to three different schools at which I served as head of school where we sang that song for chapel and special occasions such as graduation and Grandparents’ Day. The hymn is based on Psalm 115:1, “Not unto us, O LORD, Not unto us, O LORD, but to Your name, but to your name, May all the glory be.”

Non nobis Domine, Domine
Non nobis Domine
Sed nomini, Sed nomini
Tuo  da  gloriam

When the students would sing it in Latin a cappella and in parts, the harmony would highlight the reverence of these words. At one school, we would close chapel each day with this song; every time it would stir my soul and bless me profoundly. There is nothing quite like students in grades K-12 singing in Latin about giving all the glory to God to turn your heart to our Creator.

This is why I believe so strongly in classical education and everything it represents. With the scriptures at the core, looking through the lens of history as His-story, and relating this to quality literature, excellence in education is achieved. When classical music, art, and drama are woven in with the academic rigor of math and science, there is no need to say “college-prep”: it is redundant. There is nothing that better prepares a student than a classical education.

In a world where much seems to be ‘dumbed down’, I believe it is the responsibility of Christians to represent as well as lead in the intellectual arena with the highest quality of music, literature, and all aspects of the education process.

The word education comes from the Latin educare Educare implies the preservation and passing down of knowledge and shaping youths in the image of their parents. Much of the teaching in classical education is the passing down of the wealth of information from those who have gone before us.

Our pastor, Chuck Swindoll, is one of the most godly, intelligent, gifted, articulate, well-read people I have ever known. He also loves classical music and is committed to the best in music, which includes classical as well as the hymns of the faith. In addition to Sunday mornings, we have the amazing privilege of periodic programs committed to the history of the hymns of the faith. Pastor Chuck writes and reads the narration, and the orchestra and choir perform the exquisite music, under the leadership of Don McMinn. This unyielding commitment to high quality music is one of the reasons we are members of Stonebriar Community Church.

Music and worship speak to the soul. Our God is worthy of our worship and praise. At our May 15th program at Stonebriar, Heart Songs from the Saints, we heard and sang many of these songs such as one of Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, and considered by some to be the father of hymnody. Luther once wrote, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our hearts, minds, and spirits.”

When I reflect upon the hundreds of students who have learned and sung Non Nobis Domine over the years, I smile. But to Your name, may all the glory be!

What kind of music speaks to your heart and soul? I would love to hear from you.