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How beautifully shines the Morning Star!

March 24th, 2007
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Annunciation
Deep in the midst of Lent this year we are blessed to have the Annunciation of our Lord fall right on the fifth Sunday of Lent: March 25. What a joyful/joyous festival it is. We  rejoice in the angel’s announcement to Mary that she will be the mother of God, and she, the dear and most highly favored Lady, responds in God-given humility, full of God’s grace: "Let it be done to me, even as you have said." And with this announcement the Holy Spirit conceived a son, the Son, within her womb and truly then the Second Adam looked at us and said, "I am flesh of your flesh and bone of your bones." A great and awesome mystery here, before which finally words end and all we can do is bend our faces to the ground and adore the thrice-holy One who sends Himself to be with us, among us, and one of us us, in order, for us and for our salvation, to go to the cross and there purchase and win us from sin, death and the devil with His holy and innocent and precious blood. I can think of no better way to meditate and ponder on the Annunciation than by meditating on the historic readings for the day and then by listening to J.S. Bach’s  joyful cantata, BWV 1: "O Morning Star." It is based on Nicholai’s chorale.

Here are some resources for your consideration of the texts of Scripture and the Cantata.

The historic Scripture readings for the day.

Here is the text of the full Cantata, in both German and English.

   

 

 

   

   

 

 

   

   

 

 

   

   

 

 

   

   

 

 

   

   

1.
        Choral
        Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
        Voll Gnad und Wahrheit von dem Herrn,
        Die süße Wurzel Jesse!
        Du Sohn Davids aus Jakobs Stamm,
        Mein König und mein Bräutigam,
        Hast mir mein Herz besessen,
        Lieblich,
        Freundlich,
        Schön und herrlich, groß und ehrlich,
        reich von Gaben,
        Hoch und sehr prächtig erhaben.
        (Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, verse 1)
1.
      Chorale
      How beautifully the morning star shines,
      full of grace and truth from the Lord,
      the sweet branch of Jesse!
      You, the Son of David from the root of Jacob,
      my King and my bridegroom,
      have possessed my heart;
      loving,
      friendly,
      beautiful and glorious, great and noble,
      rich with gifts,
      exalted and most magnificently sublime.
2.
      Recitativ T
      Du wahrer Gottes und Marien Sohn,
      Du König derer Auserwählten,
      Wie süß ist uns dies Lebenswort,
      Nach dem die ersten Väter schon
      So Jahr’ als Tage zählten,
      Das Gabriel mit Freuden dort
      In Bethlehem verheißen!
      O Süßigkeit, o Himmelsbrot,
      Das weder Grab, Gefahr noch Tod
      Aus unsern Herzen reißen.
2.
      Recitative T
      You, very son of God and Mary,
      You, king of the chosen ones,
      how sweet is Your living word to us,
      by which our forefathers already
      counted years as well as days,
      that Gabriel joyfully
      promised there in Bethlehem!
      O sweetness, o bread of heaven,
      that neither grave, danger or death
      can wrest from our hearts.
3.
      Arie S
      Erfüllet, ihr himmlischen göttlichen Flammen,
      Die nach euch verlangende gläubige Brust!
      Die Seelen empfinden die kräftigsten Triebe
      Der brünstige Liebe
      Und schmecken auf Erden die himmlische Lust.
3.
          Aria S 
          Fill utterly, you divine celestial flames,
          this faithful breast that longs for you!
          Our souls feel the most powerful urges
          of burning love
          and taste on earth heavenly delight.
4.
      Recitativ B
      Ein irdscher Glanz, ein leiblich Licht
      Rührt meine Seele nicht;
      Ein Freudenschein ist mir von Gott entstanden,
      Denn ein vollkommnes Gut,
      Des Heilands Leib und Blut,
      Ist zur Erquickung da.
      So muß uns ja
      Der überreiche Segen,
      Der uns von Ewigkeit bestimmt
      Und unser Glaube zu sich nimmt,
      Zum Dank und Preis bewegen.
      4. Recitative B
      An earthly flash, a corporeal light
      does not stir my soul;
      a joyful radiance has been raised up for me by God,
      for a perfect Good,
      the body and blood of the Savior,
      is here for refreshment.
      Indeed, we must therefore –
      for this overwhelming blessing
      that has been eternally destined for us
      and takes our faith to itself –
      be moved to thanks and praise.
5.
          Arie T
          Unser Mund und Ton der Saiten
          Sollen dir
          Für und für
          Dank und Opfer zubereiten.
          Herz und Sinnen sind erhoben,
          Lebenslang
          Mit Gesang,
          Großer König, dich zu loben.
5.
          Aria T
          Our mouths and the tones of strings
          shall for You
          for ever and ever
          be ready in thanks and in offering.
          Heart and mind are lifted up,
          life-long
          in song,
          great King, to praise You.
6.
      Choral
      Wie bin ich doch so herzlich froh,
      Daß mein Schatz ist das A und O,
      Der Anfange und das Ende;
      Er wird mich doch zu seinem Preis
      Aufnehmen in das Paradeis,
      Des klopf ich in die Hände.
      Amen!
      Amen!
      Komm, du schöne Freudenkrone, bleib nicht lange,
      Deiner wart ich mit Verlangen.
      (Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, verse 7)

A review of the Cantata, musically.

6.
      Chorale
      How happy I am,
      that my precious one is the A and O,
      the beginning and the end;
      He will claim me as his prize
      and take me to Paradise,
      which I will clasp in my hands.
      Amen!
      Amen!
      Come, you lovely crown of joy, do not delay,
      I await you with longing.
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