Patterico's Pontifications


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 37

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,Music — Patterico @ 7:30 am

It is the first Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Wer da gläubet und getauft wird” (He who believes and is baptized).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:4-11:

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Bach composed the cantata for the Feast of the Ascension, but its themes touch on the importance of baptism, and thus relate to today’s reading about the baptism of Jesus. The text of today’s cantata is available here. Movement 5 describes the blessing of baptism:

Faith creates the wings of the soul,
so that it may soar to heaven,
baptism is the seal of grace,
that brings us to God’s blessing;
and therefore he is called a blessed Christian
who believes and is baptised.

Happy listening!

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

3 Responses to “Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 37”

  1. Johns faith is tested while in prison, Luke refers to it,

    narciso (21eb6d)

  2. So the question unless you are imbued with superhuman faith, how do you hold on to it when storms buffet you, the apostles as well as Paul held up, but what of ordinary people

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. Epiphany was yesterday for us. Today is St. John the Baptist’s Feast Day. It is traditional, on Epiphany, for the priest to prepare holy water and sprinkle the congregation with it using a bouquet of fresh basil as the sprinkler. We also take a bottle home. We didn’t attend yesterday, but there were still bottles today and my daughter took one.

    For coastal Greeks, it is traditional to have an Epiphany service by the seaside. The priest throws a cross in the water and the young men jump in to get it. The one who does is considered extra blessed, I guess. My father told me this story:

    One Epiphany was particularly cold. The priest threw the cross in the water, but nobody wanted to jump in to get it. Everybody was embarrassed, the priest was besides himself. He said: “For the love of God, is there not one man among you? Think of the humiliation this will bring to our village when the story gets out that no one dived in to get the cross on Epiphany.”

    Suddenly, they hear a splash. They look and see that the oldest man in the village is in the water. He stoops down, gets the cross and clambers back ashore. Everybody is ecstatic. God is pleased and the honor of the village is saved. They gather around the old man and shower him with praise. The mayor says: “Old Man [really, Greeks address old men that way], you did a great and wonderful thing. Tell us! What can we do for you?”

    And the old man says: “Just one thing. Tell me who the SOB was who pushed me into the water.”

    nk (dbc370)

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