The musician who plays the piano or organ preceding a Christian Science lecture has a rare and beautiful opportunity. Many diverse types of mentality are represented in the audience, some already prepared and expectant, others laggard and uncertain; while still others are conscious of an inner need, yet are not sure how to satisfy it. It is possible for the introductory music to provide a quiet atmosphere in which mortal thoughts are stilled and consciousness is made ready to be attentive to the lecture message.

Today humanity seems to be carrying a heavy load of insecurity and consciously or otherwise is seeking assurance that something indestructible and permanent remains. This sense of assurance the Christian Science lecture is prepared to bestow with its healing and redemptive message. If the occasion presents a challenge to the lecturer, it presents it also to the musician who plays the prelude to the lecture, since a prelude, according to a dictionary definition, is "an introductory performance, . . . preparing for the principal or a more important matter." That which prepares the way for something greater and more significant must necessarily resemble it in character.

The purpose of the musical prelude is to prepare the thought of the audience to receive the healing message of the lecture; it is not to fill in the time, to entertain the audience, to display the skill of the performer. Music at any Christian Science service is not, like concert music, an end in itself; it is subordinate to a greater end—the healing ministry of Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy's words on page 107 of "Miscellaneous Writings" serve as a pertinent reminder: "Art must not prevail over Science."

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November 25, 1950

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