Sunday, April 8, 2007

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden

I’m sitting here trying to decide if I’m a bigger fan of Easter or Christmas and I think I just came to the realization that I love them equally for completely different reasons and I'm going to focus on my love for Easter.

Last night, smack in the middle of our really good conversation, Drex asked me why I thought we celebrated Easter. I will admit that my mind was in a completely different universe at that moment, but I pulled back and thought for a minute. I came to the personal conclusion that Easter is the celebration of “the gift.” Most people seem to forget that without Easter, there would be no Christmas. While the birth of Christ was God’s gift to us, the Atonement and Resurrection were Christ’s gifts to us. Far too often we get caught up in the commercialization of our holidays and we forget to examine why we celebrate. It’s obviously not about the Easter bunny and the large amounts of chocolate (though I will admit to enjoying that aspect), but rather about recognizing, as exactly as possible, the unsurpassable gift that the Saviour has given to us. He layed down His life for us that we might have the opportunity to return to Heaven and be in the presence of God again. He made it possible for us to repent of our sins and start anew. Without this marvelous gift, where would we be? I can’t even begin to fathom the eternal ramifications of not having the opportunity to take advantage of the Atonement.

My family is very much addicted to music. Every holiday has its specific music and that’s how I group my holidays. Christmas is always associated with Nat King Cole (long story) and Handel’s Messiah. Easter is associated with Bach’s St. Mathew Passion. Every Easter I would wake up to the beautiful music and I would lie in bed trying to soak up the meaning of the words. The version we always listen to is in German and it is amazing. I know most people hate the sound of German, but I don’t think I could listen to these pieces in any other language. One of my very favorite hymns comes from the Mathew Passion: Oh Saviour, Thou Who Wearest a Crown is one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever listened to, and I find it particularly moving in German. I love singing it in church and wish that more people knew of the amazing power behind the song. Here are the lyrics…it’s hymn #197 in the LDS hymn book for those of you who would like the music as well:

Oh Saviour thou who wearest
A crown of piercing thorn,
The pain thou meekly bearest,
Weigh’d down by grief and scorn.
The soldiers mock and flail thee;
For drink they give thee gall;
Upon the cross they nail thee
To die, oh King of all.

No creature is so lonely,
No sinner so depraved,
But feels thy presence holy
And thru thy love is saved.
Tho craven friends betray thee,
They feely thy love’s embrace;
The very foes who slay thee
Have access to thy grace.

Thy sacrifice transcended
The mortal law’s demand;
Thy mercy is extended
To every time and land.
No more can Satan harm us,
Tho long the fight may be,
Nor fear of death alarm us;
We live, O Lord, thru thee.

What praises can we offer,
To thank thee, Lord most high?
In our place thou didst suffer;
In our place thou didst die.
By heaven’s plan appointed,
To ransom us, our King.
O Jesus, the anointed,
To thee our love we bring.

I love Easter and I love contemplating everything that goes with it. I love the music, the scriptures, the family gatherings, the conversations, the knowledge, and the growth. Now I’m going to go continue basking in the glory of Bach’s musical genius while I get ready for church.

S.

9 comments:

Stephen said...

Yay German!

iwonder said...

Ich liebe jenes Lied! That is one of my all time favourite hymns - I even memorised how to play it on the piano - it is not easy! Plus I like it beter in German than in English (but I like everything better in German, so...)

iwonder said...

Another really awesome German piece that is really approporiate for Easter (and is unimaginabally beautiful) is Brahm's "Ein Deutsches Requiem" which is mainly about resurrection and life after death. I love it!

salad said...

yay German indeed. i'm glad you like my song. i managed to get Drex's cousin to let us sing it in Sacrament meeting (he's in charge of the music) because Drex offered to play it. yay for working the system!

Stephen said...

iwonder, sprichst du denn Deutsch? Oder hast du mich betrogen?

But yeah, most everything is better in German

Stephalumpagus said...

Iwonder--Ich liebe auch jenes Lied! Deutsch ist sehr schoen! Und Stephen--ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch. :) German is probably my favorite language to hear sung. Plus I'm taking German right now and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It's such an awesome language. Yeah. Anywho. Happy Easter!

Stephen said...

Ich bin ahnungslos gewesen. Ich wuesste nicht, dass so viele MoHoen Deutsch koennten. Toll. Which course are you taking? Maybe we know eachother.

iwonder said...

Ich denke dass es MoHöe sein soll. Ein MoHo zwei MoHöe. Was denkt ihr? Stephen, es kann wohl sein dass wir uns kennen. Schreib mir doch eine Email: athornyway@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

top [url=http://www.001casino.com/]casino bonus[/url] coincide the latest [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com/]free casino[/url] autonomous no consign hand-out at the best [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]baywatchcasino.com
[/url].