Saturday, April 04, 2015

Awaiting the Joy of Man's Desiring

The Holy Easter Vigil is occurring now in the Eastern Hemisphere, as the good news that the tomb was unable to contain our Lord Jesus Christ is yet again repeated, as the Good News resounds around the globe yet again.

The risen Christ is indeed the Joy of man's desiring, as confessed and sung for centuries in the magnificent strains of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben.

The Christian faith is nothing other than sanctified defiance: a defiant refusal to bow down to the gods of this world, be they Caesars or secularism; a defiant refusal to accept the finality of death; a defiant refusal to capitulate to hatred and evil; a defiant confession of the need for forgiveness; a defiant acceptance of the reality that we are rescued by grace alone; a defiant reliance upon Christ's Word and sacraments for life's ultimate meaning and joy; a defiant faith in the sure and certain hope of everlasting life - just as sure as He walked out of His own tomb.

So, we in the Western Hemisphere wait, but we know it is coming, and we cannot contain our expectant joy, even as we await His final return in glory.

Our Lord said (John 16:22): "So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."

Our Christian brother J.S. Bach understood this joyful reality in his transcendent and ebullient confession that we continue to sing with him, with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven, here in time, and even unto eternity!  Amen.

Jesu, joy of man's desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty's fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom's holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

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