Patterico's Pontifications

6/3/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 76, Part 1

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the second Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens are telling the glory of God). This half-hour cantata will provide the music for this Sunday and the next, with Part 1 heard today, and Part 2 heard next week. Here is Part 1:

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 2:23-3:6.

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It includes these words, which describe how God looks after the welfare of humans:

Thus God does not leave Himself unwitnessed!
Nature and grace speak to all mankind:
God has indeed done all this,
so that the heavens move
and spirits and bodies stir themselves.
God Himself has leaned down to you
and calls to you through countless messengers:
rise up, come to My feast of love!

. . . .

Indeed with You Yourself fed and quenched
and given Your spirit,
which continually hovers in our souls.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/27/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 174

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is Trinity Sunday. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte” (I love the Highest with my entire being).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 3:1-17.

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

We remember Nicodemus from John’s passion, from the reading on Good Friday.

We already had the last four verses of this reading, including the famous “for God so loved the world” passage, two months ago, on the fourth Sunday in Lent. If a guy in a rainbow wig (now serving life in prison, per JVW) thought this was important enough passage to take to all the sporting events, so it can’t hurt us to see it twice. Now we have what leads up to it in the Gospel reading, along with a musical offering to give deeper meaning to the words.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here the words for the opening aria, and the beginning of the recitative, including the famous line: “God so loved the world!”

2. Aria A

I love the Highest with my entire being,
He also has the greatest love for me.
God alone
shall be my soul’s treasure,
in which my eternal source of goodness lies.

3. Recitative T

O love, which none other resembles!
O priceless ransom!
The Father has given his child’s life
over to death on behalf of sinners
and all of these, who heaven’s kingdom
had taken lightly and lost,
are elected to blessedness.
God so loved the world!

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/20/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 226

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the Day of Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach piece, a motet, is “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf” (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

. . . .

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are all the words, which celebrate the Holy Spirit:

1. Chorus

The Spirit gives aid to our weakness. For we do not know for what we should pray, what is proper; but the Spirit itself intercedes for us in the best way with unutterable sighs. He, however, who examines hearts, He knows what the Spirit’s intention is, since it intercedes for the saints according to that which pleases God.

2. Chorale

You holy fire, sweet comfort,
now help us joyfully and confidently
to remain constantly in Your service,
although trouble is not driven away from us!
O Lord, through Your strength prepare us
and sharpen the dullness of the flesh,
so that we might battle here nobly,
pressing to you through death and life.
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

The beginning of the chorale contains words from Martin Luther’s Pentecostal hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/13/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 100

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:51 am

It is the seventh Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does is done well).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:9-17:

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening chorale is translated as follows:

What God does is well done,
His will remains righteous;
however he begins my affairs,
I will silently keep to Him.
He is my God,
who in need
knows well how to sustain me;
therefore I let Him alone rule.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/6/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 172

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the sixth Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!” (Ring out, you songs; sound, you strings!)

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:9-17:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit -— fruit that will last -— and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The words are suffused with references to love:

Whoever loves Me will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.

. . . .

O most beloved Love, who are so sweet,
the fullness of all delight,
I faint when I lack You.
– Take the kiss of grace from Me. –
Be welcome to me in faith,
highest Love, come within!

. . . .

Come, Holy Spirit, Lord God,
fill with the goodness of Your grace
the hearts, wills, and minds of Your faithful.
Ignite Your burning love in them.

By the way, if you’re looking for a more upbeat, rock-oriented message exhorting folks to love one another, check out The Ballad of Reginald Denny by VeG featuring Parthenon Huxley.

Love one another!

And happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

4/29/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 148

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fifth Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens” (Bring to the Lord the honor due His name).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:1-8:

The Vine and the Branches

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The fifth movement, a recitative, contains these words:

Stay also, my God, in me
and give me Your Spirit,
which shall govern me according to Your word,

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

4/22/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 85

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fourth Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Ich bin ein guter Hirt” (I am a Good Shepherd).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 10:11-18:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here and complements the Gospel reading well:

I am a Good Shepherd; a good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.

Jesus is a good shepherd;
for He has already given His life
for His sheep,
so that no one will steal them from Him.
Jesus is a good shepherd.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

4/15/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 134

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the third Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß” (A heart that knows its Jesus is living).

Today’s Gospel reading is another record of the appearance of Jesus among the living. Luke 24:36b-48:

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. Number 4, a duet aria, contains these words:

the Savior appears and comforts us again
and through Himself strengthens the struggling Church

Number 5, a recitative, has these words:

May your Hand enclose us,
so that we behold your powerful potency,
which your death and victory has earned us,
and that now, through your Resurrection,
a person does not die, even when he dies in the world,
and that through this we enter into Your glory.
Whatever is in us exalts You, great God,
and praises Your mercy and love;
your Resurrection makes them new again,
your great victory makes us free from the enemy
and brings us to life;
Therefore let thanks and praise be given to You.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

4/8/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 42

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the second Sunday of Easter. The title of today’s cantata is “Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats” (On the evening, however, of the same Sabbath).

Today’s Gospel reading — pay close attention, NPR reporters! — reminds us that Jesus walked the Earth for 40 days after his resurrection. John 3:14-21:

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The cantata was composed by Bach for the first Sunday after Easter. The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening chorus comes straight from the Gospel passage:

On the evening, however, of the same Sabbath, when the disciples had gathered and the door was locked out of fear of the Judeans [persecution], Jesus came and walked among them.

As always, it’s my hope that the expression of the words in music will heighten your appreciation of the Gospel passage, and ideally make it even more meaningful to you.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

4/1/2018

Easter Music: Bach Cantata BWV 31

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is Easter! The title of today’s cantata is “Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret” (Heaven laughs! Earth exults).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 16:1-8:

Jesus Has Risen

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening chorus is translated as follows:

Heaven laughs! Earth exults
and all she bears in her lap;
the Creator lives! The Highest triumphs
and is freed from the bonds of death.
He who has selected the grave for rest,
the Holy One, can not be corrupted.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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