In Lutheran theology, all believers are saints, but the Lutheran calendar does occasionally give a nod to particular believers throughout the year. After listing the names, the calendar will give a designation: “renewer of the Church”, martyr, confessor, apostle, etc. to indicate why the special nod to these particular believers. For today, one Lutheran calendar reads: Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750; Heinrich Schutz , 1672; and George Frideric Handel,1759, musicians. Another notes “Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor.” As you can see, Lutherans favor understatement.
There’s no point saying anything about Bach and Handel. As far more knowledgeable people than I have pontificated at great length on these two extraordinary musicians and their even more extraordinary oeuvres. And why should I waste time with words, when you can listen to their music?
Schutz is less well known today, even though he was the most influential German composer of the 17th century and the first internationally known German composer, having studied in Italy under Gabrielle and holding a post in Danish court. His work was almost exclusively sacred in nature and is still performed even by run of the mill churches. I can say that because I’ve sung Schutz and you don’t get more run of the mill than I.
Properly I should have a huge bakeoff with an assortment of German, English, and Italian treats, because Bach and Handel at least were notable eaters. But time being as it is, I have only a coffee cloud pie to offer up to Sts. Johann Sebastian, Heinrich, and George Frideric, Why this selection? Coffee was crazily popular in Europe when Bach and Handel were composing. It was such a craze that Bach even wrote a cantata about it—which he put on in his local coffee house—showing that the best saints are fully in touch with both God and man.
Should you wish to know a bit more about the extraordinary man who was Johan Sebastian Bach and his music I recommend a delightful book, An Evening in the Palace of Reason.