Hearing Beethoven, Reminded of God’s Sovereignty

14 08 2010

At work yesterday I listened to Beethoven’s Third Symphony–the Eroica.  It had been some time since I had listened to it, but whenever I do I am reminded of something I wrote early on after Anna died.  This came at a time when we were struggling with, and affirming, the sovereignty of God and the goodness of God.  It is still a struggle, and it is still an affirmation.

Take a moment and read Beethoven, Schoenberg, Cage and the Sovereignty of God.


Samuel Sings Bach

1 05 2009

Samuel has a recital coming up on May 16 at the seminary.  He is scheduled to sing two songs, People Need the Lord and Bach’s Bist du bei mir.  The second piece he will be singing in English translation.  I had not read the lyric to this piece until today and was struck again by the depth of older music that we just don’t have in today’s music.  Samuel has had a lot to think about over this past year.  Readers here will know that May 7 is the anniversary of Anna’s death.  And Samuel’s grandmother is going through life and death decisions right now.  And we are making decisions right now as a family that I know are unsettling to Samuel because he does not know (along with us) where we will be in three months.

With all that in mind, here is the song he will be singing at his recital:

Art thou with me?
I go with gladness
To death and unto my repose.
Ah, how content such death would find me:
If thy fair hands were there to teach me,
My ever faithful eyes to close.
Art thou with me?
I go with gladness
To death and unto my repose.

I hope Samuel is paying attention to what he sings.  I suspect he is.

The Resurrection of Nature

22 11 2008

Last Tuesday evening Timberley went to a concert by the seminary orchestra and choir.  The two pieces of music performed were well-timed to fit with our situation.  The first was the Wachet Auf cantat by Bach.  The message of the cantata is basically, “Wake up!  For the Lord is coming!”  The second piece was a requiem mass by the French composer Durufle.  I have not heard that piece but the program compared it to the requiem of another Frenchman, Faure, which is a beautiful piece.  This particular rendition did not include the Tuba mirum, but I have included the words to that part of the mass below.  They were taken from Mozart’s Requiem Mass.  This movement of the mass had some words that helped me to understand better Anna’s state now. 

From the Tuba Mirum of the Requiem mass:

Mors stupebit, et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.


Death will be stunned, likewise nature,
When all creation shall rise again
To answer the One judging.

This echoes the truth that we find in Isaiah 66 and Revelation 21-22 about a new heaven and a new earth. 

“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain.  From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.  Isaiah 66:22-23

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  Revelation 21:1-2





Indeed, when Anna rises again at the appearing of our Lord Christ Jesus, all creation will become new.  Anna cum creatura resurgent.


Songs to Cry By, Part 1

25 10 2008

As we continue to remember Anna, tears become our constant companion.  What we have found over the past several months is that tears have a multiplicity of meaning.  They express joy, sorrow, pain, happiness, hope, despair.  And the messy thing about these emotions is that they sometimes come all at once.  There are certain songs that we listen to that are guaranteed to bring us to tears. 

I want to share these songs with you, not with the thought that you will share the same emotions as we, but that you might hear some familiar songs in a new light.  Perhaps you will know someone who is grieving and you can pass them along.  At the very least, you will have the opportunity to listen to some good music.

The first two are by Chris Rice.   Deep Enough to Dream gives me a glimpse into what Anna is doing now.  The line that sends me over the edge, if I am not there already, is “Deep enough to reach out and touch the face of the One who made me.”  Here is a video of the song.  I am not crazy about the pictures in the video.  I much prefer the video I already created wth my imagination.  But I had trouble uploading that one to the internet.  So we will have to take what we can get.

The second song, also by Chris Rice, is called Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus).  An old friend of mine that I had not seen in years sang this song at Anna’s memorial service in California.  I did not know it well at the time, but I sure do now.  The last verse speaks for itself.

Beethoven, Schoenberg, Cage, and the Sovereignty of God

2 10 2008

On my walk home after taking Samuel to school today, I was listening to a podcast of a music concert that featured the piano music (I think) of Arnold Schoenberg.  Following it came a string quartet by what sounded like Mozart.  Listening to these very different styles and philosphies of music led me to consider how various composers looked at their music.  I then compared those perspectives to how one might look at divine activity in our world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Confessing the Faith of Another

21 09 2008

In chapel at Southern seminary two weeks ago I had an interesting experience that gave me a new insight into worship and confession.  Since Anna’s death, we have found worship difficult.  Listening to the word of God preached has always been a blessing.  It is often difficult, but it is always good.  Singing music has been more difficult and not always as much of a blessing.  We have found much of the music more banal than we did before Anna’s death.  It expresses a faith far too casual and breezy for where we are right now. Read the rest of this entry »