Christmas Eve: Happy Birthday, Silent Night!

Happy Birthday, Silent Night! A blessed Christmas Eve to all. Tonight, in our traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service we will sing Silent Night, along with people all around the world. What’s special in 2018 is that it marks the 200th anniversary of the singing of this matchless Christmas hymn on this night. In fact, ourContinue reading “Christmas Eve: Happy Birthday, Silent Night!”

Masturbatory Worship Music

A few weeks ago, Gail and I were sitting in a restaurant on a Sunday following church. This particular restaurant must be owned by evangelical Christians, because every time I go there, I hear Christian praise and worship music being played as I eat. I don’t know if it’s a Sirius channel or some formContinue reading “Masturbatory Worship Music”

Another Look: The Essential Practice of Praying the Psalms

The Essential Practice of Praying the Psalms It seems to me that there are some essential practices that attend our faith as Christians. By saying that, I do not wish to imply, or get into an argument about, whether they are obligatory or not. In some senses I think they are, and in others not. AllContinue reading “Another Look: The Essential Practice of Praying the Psalms”

One Final Bach Cantata: For Christ the King (+ a sermon)

• • • Today on Christ the King Sunday (a day of the Church Year that was not commemorated in Bach’s time), we present a magnificent chorus from Cantata BWV 43, Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen (God has gone up with a shout), which was written for Ascension Sunday. Since the gospel message is “HowContinue reading “One Final Bach Cantata: For Christ the King (+ a sermon)”

Trinity 23: Cantata & Sermon of the Week

Cantata BWV 192, “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now Thank We All Our God) Now all thank God with heart, mouth and hands; He does great things for us and all our purposes; He for us from our mother’s womb and childish steps countless great good has done and still continues to do.   • •Continue reading “Trinity 23: Cantata & Sermon of the Week”

Trinity 22: Cantata & Sermon of the Week

(Click picture for larger image) • • • For Trinity 22 Today we hear from one of Bach’s “chamber cantatas,” BWV 89 — “Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim?” (How shall I give you up, Ephraim?). These required only about a dozen performers, and may have given Bach space at various times throughout the churchContinue reading “Trinity 22: Cantata & Sermon of the Week”

Sermon & Cantata of the Week: November 5, 2017 (All Saints)

(Click picture for larger image) • • • For All Saints Sunday Today, we hear a cantata admirably suited for this Sunday, on which many churches commemorate the faithful departed. Bach’s cantata BWV 26, “Ach wie Flüchtig, ach wie nichtig” (Ah, how fleeting, ah, how fading), takes its theme from the Gospel account of Jesus raisingContinue reading “Sermon & Cantata of the Week: November 5, 2017 (All Saints)”

Reformation Sunday 2017: Sermon & Cantata of the Week

Reformation Sunday 2017 Sermon & Cantata of the Week On this historic Sunday, I am actually preaching one of Martin Luther’s sermons (edited). I will be preaching the second “Invocavit” sermon, from March 10, 1522. See the history of these sermons below. It comes from a critical time in the Reformation, about a year afterContinue reading “Reformation Sunday 2017: Sermon & Cantata of the Week”

19th Sunday after Trinity: Pic & Cantata of the Week

(Click on picture to see larger image) This article describes the metaphorical world Bach creates in today’s rich solo bass cantata, BWV 56, “Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen” (I will gladly carry the cross)”. Cantata 56 was written for the 19th Sunday after Trinity in 1726 (October 27 that year). The Gospel reading forContinue reading “19th Sunday after Trinity: Pic & Cantata of the Week”