Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) was one of the most influential theologians in all of history. He helped articulate the doctrine of original sin, and his influential writings, including City of God and Confessions, are still read widely today. An order of monks was named after him, a type of grass prevalent in South Texas is called "St. Augustine grass," and several different philosophies and theologies are described as being "Augustinian."
St. Augustine's testimony is a powerfully encouraging story. I suggest reading his auto-biography, Confessions, in which he not only shares his testimony, but also articulately describes spiritual realities we all experience. Augustine's Confessions has a way of speaking to people because it so raw. He tells the story of how God called him out of a life of unrepentant sin and into a life of beautiful holiness. The account of his garden conversion is particularly gripping. As far as I know, this story has never been set to music in a major work.
I used texts straight from Henry Chadwick's English translation of Confessions in my work, Augustine's Conversion. The six movements follow the narrative and seek to musically express the life change process which Augustine underwent. The following is a chart describing each movement:
The message of Augustine's Conversion is a relevant message for all times, but it seems particularly important to emphasize in our day and age. The message is that sin is real, it keeps people in darkness, but there is light and salvation available in Jesus Christ. We all struggle with sin and need a Savior. This message is also echoed in the other pieces in my recital program, including metrical psalm settings of Psalm 30 and Psalm 32, my arrangement of "Alas and Did My Savior Bleed," a new piece entitled, "Heir of Endless Love," which is adapted from a prayer entitled, "The Precious Blood," from the Valley of Vision puritan prayers book, and my original worship song, "You Sought Me."
I am so excited to premier Augustine's Conversion! All are invited to the recital on Friday, October 17th, at 7:30 pm at Reynolds Recital Hall in the Cowden Music Building on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.