"...the sense that you are trying to deal with larger mysteries, for which there are no answers. But you’re also, on another level, just shutting yourself off from the world at large for an hour. I don’t have to deal with the transubstantiation of the spirit or God with a large G."
From "How the Novelist Douglas Kennedy Spends His Sundays."
He's talking about going to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan for a Sunday service. There is "an absolutely sublime choir and a great organist and a bit of Anglican ritual thrown in." This is in the late afternoon. Earlier in the day, before 3 a.m., before sleeping, he was in a jazz club, and when he woke up, at 11 or 12, he put on "ecclesiastical music" — "a Bach cantata or one of William Byrd’s masses, some work by Thomas Tallis" — which is "very fitting for Sunday morning." He likes the "calm" of that music and the aesthetic beauty of St. Thomas's, and — as for the jazz — he doesn't give that a religious spin. He says "I'm a jazz junkie," so I guess the jazz is the sin, "junkie" being a drug metaphor.
There are those who say they believe, and what do they do? Consider those who say they do not believe but put elaborate time and attention into the practices of religion. I wonder how many in the first category really do not believe (whether or not they see and admit that to themselves) and how many in the second category really do believe (whether or not they see and admit that to themselves). And I wonder how much the love of music confuses and complicates these inquiries.
In the 1970s, I used to go to services at an Episcopal church in Manhattan. One Sunday, the organist spoke to the congregation. He was resigning, he said, because he needed money, and they weren't paying him or weren't paying him enough. He chided us: Not only did musicians deserve to get paid, but the Christian church would not have the place that it has in the world today if it were not for the music.
Here's a Sunday morning music program recommended by Douglas Kennedy: "For the God Who Sings."