Patterico's Pontifications

7/18/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 13

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 7:47 pm



It is the eighth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen” (My sighs, my tears):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 6:30-34, 53-56.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

. . . .

When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

The prescribed reading skips over the miracles of Jesus feeding the five thousand and walking on the water, as contained in Mark 6:35-52. In the Revised Common Lectionary, we will hear those stories next week from the Gospel according to John. I have included the Gospel of these miracles according to Mark on a separate page, here — so that if you wish, you can see what is omitted by the ellipsis in the quoted passage above.

The text of today’s piece is available here. The text reflects the misery and pain that people can feel, as did the masses who came to see Jesus … and the comfort that one can feel from trusting in God.

My sighs, my tears
can not be counted.
When one daily encounters despair
and the anguish does not fade,
Ah! Then this pain must already
be building the road to death for us.

. . . .

My turmoil seizes
and robs me of all rest,
my vessel of sorrow is completely
filled up with tears,
and this anguish will not be stilled,
and makes me numb and emotionless.

. . . .

Aching and pitiful weeping
does not help the sickness of care;
yet he who looks towards heaven
and concerns himself there for comfort,
for him a light of joy can easily
illuminate the sorrowful breast.

Therefore take hold of yourself, my soul,
and trust only in Him
who has created you;
Let it go how it goes;
your Father in the heights
knows the wisdom of all matters.

The final chorale (“Therefore take hold…), which can be heard at 18:55, uses a melody that reappears in the St. Matthew Passion, here:

and here:

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

7/11/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 60

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 1:15 pm



It is the seventh Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort” (O eternity, you word of thunder):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 6:14-29.

John the Baptist Beheaded

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

Others said, “He is Elijah.”

And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”

But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”

For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.

At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Bach never directly addressed the beheading of John the Baptist in his cantatas. But his cantata is a dialogue between allegorical figures representing the fear of death (sung by the alto) and the hope of salvation (sung by the tenor). Hope wins out.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are the words of the final chorale, “Es ist genug” (It is enough), heard at 14:50:

It is enough:
Lord, if it pleases You,
then release me!
My Jesus comes;
good night now, o world!
I journey to heaven’s house,
I go there securely in peace,
my great suffering remains behind.
It is enough.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

7/4/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 126

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 2:04 pm



It is the sixth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (Sustain us, Lord with your word).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 6:1-13.

A Prophet Without Honor

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Piece 5, a recitative, contains these words:

Thus Your word and truth will be revealed
and made manifest in the highest radiance,
since You watch over Your church,
since You make the teaching of Your holy word
fruitful with blessing;
and if You turn to us as our Helper,
then in peace
the abundance of blessing will be granted to us.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

6/20/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 81

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 1:59 pm



It is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?” (Jesus sleeps, what shall I hope for?)

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 4:35-41.

Jesus Calms the Storm

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

The text of today’s piece is available here. The cantata is a perfect musical companion to the Gospel reading, in which the sleeping Jesus awakens to calm the storm and protect those who believe in Him.

Jesus sleeps, what can I hope for?

. . . .

Quiet, heaving sea!
Be silent, storm and wind!
Your bounds are set for you,
so that my chosen child
will never suffer mishap.

O joy to me, my Jesus speaks a word,
my helper is awake,
so must the storm’s waves, the night of misfortune
and all trouble disappear.

Under your protection
I am safe from the storms
of all enemies.
Let Satan rage,
let the enemy fume,
Jesus stands with me.
Whether now it thunders and flashes,
whether sin and Hell terrify,
Jesus will protect me.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

6/6/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 76, Part 2

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:42 am



It is the second Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is Part 2 of “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens are telling the glory of God).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 3:20-35.

Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

The text of today’s piece is available here.

Love, Christians, through your deeds!
Jesus died for his brothers,
and they die again for each other,
since He has bound them together.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

5/30/2021

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.

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! Soli Deo gloria.

5/23/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 226

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 10:50 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! Soli Deo gloria.

5/2/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 148

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:59 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! Soli Deo gloria.

4/25/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 85

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 10:03 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! Soli Deo gloria.

4/18/2021

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 134

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:51 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! Soli Deo gloria.

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