On What Does the Prayer Really Say, Fr. Z. posted a story from Philadelphia that I found quite moving. Evidently, the Knight Foundation is sponsoring “Random Acts of Culture” throughout the country, where the arts are taken to the people. A few weeks ago, a Random Act of Culture occurred at a mall in Philadelphia. Hundreds of choristers covertly dispersed themselves throughout the mall to wait for the organist’s cue, whereupon they all broke into the “Hallelujah” chorus of Handel’s Messiah. There were camera crews ready to capture the moment and the reactions of the innocent. It is pretty awesome.
I think that this is a worthwhile use of foundation money. So much that such organizations do is wicked and counterproductive, fulfilling O’Sullivan’s First Law and becoming funding streams for America’s internal enemies. Consider, for example, the egregious work of the Ford Foundation, which would surely horrify poor old Henry.
What we see in the Philly video, however, is an invasion of transcendence into the marketplace. What makes it even better is that the song is among the English world’s greatest doxologies. In the midst of secular, consumerist, multicultural, post-Christian America, we see how people react to an explosion of Western Christian and, indeed, universal beauty. The more that this occurs, the more people will realize that our civilization is worth fighting and living for.