… and music!

After putting the “hoe down” the day before Thanksgiving the sisters now busy themselves indoors: working on plans for next year’s garden, cleaning the tools, sorting and saving seeds, end-of-year accounting, attending to things left undone indoors, and music!  And then there’s “creativity week” during which I’ve observed weaving, making liquid soap, learning to play the banjo, making cookies.  I’m busy “building” the crèche and preparing for a Long Retreat I’m leading in mid-January.  In the evening by the fire I get to read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol aloud – something I love to do. 

Yesterday we listened to Bach’s Cantata Wachet auf (“Wake up”)  and read Philipp Nicolai’s libretto together.  Nicolai and Bach weave the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) with the Song of Songs.  Ingeniously, and unlike the parable itself, you can hear that the foolish voices (or oboes) do “catch up” and all enter the banquet together.  Sister asked, “Isn’t this a better message than ‘sorry, you’re all going to hell?'”  The music, of course, is gorgeous, but here’s part of the libretto which filled me with joy yesterday.

Bass solo recitative:
So come inside to me / you bride that I have chosen for myself/ I have betrothed myself to you from eternity to eternity. / It is you that I want to set in my heart,/ on my arm like a seal/ and to delight your grieved eyes. / Forget now, O soul, / the anguish, the sorrow / that you had to suffer./ On my left hand you should rest / and my right hand should kiss you.

Duet, soprano (Soul) and bass (Jesus)
Soul: My friend is mine.
Jesus: and I am yours,
Both: nothing shall divide our love.
Soul: I want to gaze on heaven’s roses with you,
Jesus: You will gaze on heaven’s roses with me,
Both: There will be fullness of joy, there will be delight.

I always felt badly for the foolish virgins who didn’t bring enough oil in their lamps.  As a child I knew I would have been one of them because I was always so disorganized, and yet I knew my love and passion was as deep and steady (oh, listen to those calm voices singing the cantus firmus!) as the honor-roll sopranos.  Musically, the oboes and voices “catching up” with the cantus firmus add interest to the whole of the piece!  Anyway, as sister pointed out yesterday, the parable of the workers hired at the last hours provide an alternative scenario to salvation that seems more Jesus-like to me.

There's more time for music in the dead of winter. After a Handel Sonata.

Nevertheless, it’s good to keep working on the spiritual oil in the lamp problem.  Those damn honor-roll type sopranos make it look easy, though.  They CAN’T be for real.

Enjoy this season of inner light.  May the holy shine forth as you give to others of your love. amen.  -Suzanne

One Response to “… and music!”

  1. Deb Blakley Says:

    Thank you. I loved this one, as music is my primary creative field I heard it. Wish I could have been there with you all. You are a blessing to me through your writing. Keep it up, please.

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