2019-04-10 - Risen
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6 NIV)
Whenever I think of Easter and the risen Savior, I now have an association with a choral piece I learned in High School (something we called Chorus Camp, that was a gathering of kids from different counties all over the state (NC), to learn a large chunk of music in a small amount of time). This particular piece was called Now Christ is Risen, from Cantata No. 15 by Johann Sebastian Bach (arr. by Douglas E Wagner (ASCAP) Copyright MCMLXXIV, Harold Flammer, Inc.)
So many years later, I still love humming this and the other songs, even moreso while having time to think about the more meaningful aspects of how the music was written in relation to the lyrics. Many of the songs were sacred pieces, but not all of them. All were on some level cultural, and every one of them gave us challenges that had us understand music on many different new levels, purposefully taking us beyond our current classroom experience.
As I peruse the lyrics and look at the musical key in which the work was written, there are several sharps. I am not a piano player, and am a sight reader of music, so my thoughts about this are purely related to the tone of the work, as a result of those sharps in the piece. They are placed on several key phrases accenting them, to me, a feeling as though we lift ourselves from despair to overwhelming joy. (Risen from dead, banished is sadness, sorrow to gladness, set us free) As we are in the process of this, we perhaps realize the sacrifice the Savior made, feeling the words with how the sharp note changes its sound: Exhaustion and burden, an innocent man took on, when he truly did not have to, in order to set us free.
In a more personal example, as a young girl, I heard the story many times of my Dad and his friend, Perry, being in an accident as young men (before being married), while driving in an old top-heaving truck. It tipped, somehow, and when it landed off the side of the road, my Dad ended up being pinned in after the door flew open. He then began to fall out, as it hit the ground. Perry climbed out, ran around, then somehow lifted the heavy old truck off of his friend, and saved his life by freeing him. Dad was in the hospital for several months, with his jaw wired shut, and Perry had back troubles off on and from the time forward. But in that moment, Perry was given superhuman strength to save a life. He sacrificed himself for his friend, not giving it second thought.
While not every situation in life is similar in the sense of reacting without giving a second thought, I believe God would like us to strive for that type of sacrifice, even if in small and larger ways, as they present themselves to us.
Do you ever have something about God’s promises and Jesus’ sacrifice get you thinking differently about an everyday moment? Being mindful and prayerful of God’s will before making a final decision is best. There are some types of giving situations that I instantly know are good ones, and others about which I am more thoughtful. My mother often suggested “sleep on it, and see how you feel about it, in a few days or so." Generous and impulsive are not the same thing.
Yet, sometimes I still struggle with making the wrong decisions, when having the right intentions. We have to get back to the one who brings the gladness. And the combination of Bach’s music and Wagner’s arrangement brings it home to me, every time. I love how this piece crescendos and goes into conclusion lyric-wise: “Therefore we come---with gladness. Therefore we come, therefore we come with gladness. Therefore we come with glad-------------ness, with glad--------- ness. With glad---ness.
If you are not coming with gladness, then perhaps you have not let yourself feel the overwhelming joy that is to come from our Savior being Risen. He is not under the cross, carrying it anymore, He is not behind the stone in the tomb, and He is worthy of our praise. Praise God from who all blessings flow. He is RISEN!
“Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” (Psalm 31:5 NIV)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted