The Jury Talks Back

3/17/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 46

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the second Sunday in Lent. Today’s Bach cantata is “Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei” (Behold and see, if there be any sorrow).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 13:31-35:

Jesus’s Sorrow for Jerusalem

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words, echoing the Gospel reading’s lamentation for Jerusalem, and the image of Jesus gathering the righteous lovingly, like a hen gathers her chicks:

Lament then, O destroyed city of God,
you poor heap of stones and ashes!

. . . .

You did not heed Jesus’ tears,
now heed the tidal wave of passion
that you have built up over yourself,
for God, after much patience,
breaks his staff in judgment.

. . . .

Yet do not imagine, o sinners,
that Jerusalem alone
above all others is full of sin!

. . . .

Yet Jesus will, even in punishment,
be the shield and supporter of the righteous.
He gathers them as his sheep,
Lovingly, as his little chicks;
when storms of vengeance reward sinners,
He assures that the righteous live securely.

This is a beautiful cantata. Note that Bach considered the music of the initial chorus fine enough to adapt for the “Qui tollis peccata mundi” section of his Mass in b minor:

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for posting this. I am struggling spiritually (and physically and emotionally) right now. This helps strengthen my faith.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/17/2019 @ 6:45 am

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