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Fourth Sunday After Easter: Cantate

May 22nd, 2011
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The Introit for the Day

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Alle- | luia!*
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. Alle- | luia (Psalm 98:1-2)

His right hand and His | holy arm*
have gained Him the | victory.
He has remembered His | mercy*
and His faithfulness to the house of | Israel.
All the ends | of the earth*
have seen the salvation | of our God.
Shout joyfully to the LORD, | all the earth;*
break forth in song, rejoice, and sing | praises. (Psalm 98:1, 3-4)

The Lectionary for the Day

Isaiah 12:1–6
James 1:16–21
John 16:5–15

Lectionary Summary:

Jesus Promises to Send His Holy Spirit, the Helper

Though Jesus has departed from us visibly to the right hand of the Father who sent Him, yet this is to our advantage. For Jesus–who is Lord over all creation, who intercedes for us before the Father, who is preparing a place for us in heaven–has sent the Helper, the Spirit of Truth (John 16:5–15). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” through Jesus Christ (James 1:17). The Holy Spirit helps us by taking what is Christ’s and declaring it to us. In the Word of truth, the Spirit works repentance and delivers to us the forgiveness of sins, the righteousness of Christ, and victory over the devil. For the ruler of this world is judged and defeated by the cross. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we have been brought forth to new life in Him who is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Confident of our resurrection with Christ we confess, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid” (Is. 12:2).

The Collect for the Day

O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Excerpts from a Sermon by Martin Luther for the Day

The nature and art of faith are here set forth: Faith neither feels nor gropes, nor do the things connected with it require a science; but it bestirs itself cheerfully to believe the things it neither feels nor can measure with all its powers inwardly or outwardly. Paul says in Rom 8,24: “Who hopeth for that which he seeth?” Therefore, the Lord aptly says: “And ye behold me no more.” As if he would say that this way of good works which he is traveling, will not be seen nor grasped by the senses, but it must be believed. Now follows the third and last part of our Gospel.

13. The prince of this world is Satan, and his members include all unbelieving and godless persons, all flesh with all its powers is condemned by these words, and what the world praises is condemned by God, including both the godly and the ungodly, believers and unbelievers, friends and enemies, as St. Peter cites in his first Epistle (4, 17), when he says: “For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God,” that is, with the elect, in whom God dwells. The righteous, while they live here, have flesh and blood, in which sin is rooted. To suppress this sin God will lead them into great misery and anxiety, poverty, persecution and all kinds of danger (as Paul writes to the Romans, 7, 18ff; 8, 4; and to the Corinthians) until the flesh becomes completely subject to the Spirit.

14. That, however, does not take place until death, when the flesh is completely turned to ashes. We must be in all points like Christ. Since he was here despised, mocked and tried, so that, as the prophet Isaiah (53, 3) says, he was esteemed and held as one stricken and smitten of God, the most despised and unworthy, full of grief and sorrow. His disciples must also go through the same experiences. Every one should carefully consider this. It is so decreed, as Christ himself before declared to his disciples, saying: “Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me they will also persecute you.” Jn 15, 20. Hence Paul says in very plain words in 2 Tim 3, 12: “All that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

15. Therefore, St. Peter carefully discriminates and says: “If judgment begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?” I Pet 4, 17-18. This discrimination is between the sufferings of the godly and of the wicked. Godly and believing persons know their sins; they bear all their punishment patiently, and are resigned to God’s judgment without the least murmur; therefore, they are punished only bodily, and here in time, and their pain and suffering have an end. Unbelievers, however, since they are not conscious of their sins and transgressions, can not bear God’s punishment patiently, but they resent it and wish their life and works to go unpunished, yea, uncensored. Hence, their punishment and suffering are in body and soul, here in time, and last forever beyond this life. The Lord says here, “The prince of this world is already judged.” As if he were to say, All that the world and humanity in the world discover, praise and condemn, amounts to nothing; and whatever God judges the world cannot suffer nor bear, but rejects, repudiates and condemns.

16. Thus, three thoughts have been presented to us in this Gospel: Sin, righteousness and, finally, the cross and persecution. We shall be freed from sin through faith. If we believe that Christ made satisfaction for our sins and that his satisfaction is ours, that is then the righteousness. When we are free from sin, and are just and pious, then the world, Satan and the flesh will arise and contend and battle against us. Then come persecution and the cross. This we wish to have set forth in brief at present from this Gospel. May God grant his grace that we learn it thus, and know how to govern ourselves by it when we need it.

Bach’s Cantata for the Day (words first, then video, if available)

Cantata for Cantate
1. Arie B
Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe; denn so ich nicht hingehe, kömmt der Tröster nicht zu euch. So ich aber gehe, will ich ihn zu euch senden. (John 16:7)
1. Aria B
It is good for you that I leave; for if I did not go, the Comforter would not come to you. Since I go, however, I will send Him to you.
2. Arie T
Mich kann kein Zweifel stören,
Auf dein Wort, Herr, zu hören.
Ich glaube, gehst du fort,
So kann ich mich getrösten,
Daß ich zu den Erlösten
Komm an gewünschten Port.
2. Aria T
No doubt can disturb me
when I listen to Your word, Lord.
I believe, although You depart,
that thus I can be comforted,
since I shall draw near to the redeemed ones
in the desired haven.
3. Rezitativ T
Dein Geist wird mich also regieren,
Daß ich auf rechter Bahne geh;
Durch deinen Hingang kommt er ja zu mir,
Ich frage sorgensvoll: Ach, ist er nicht schon hier?
3. Recitative T
Thus Your Spirit will guide me,
so that I walk on the right path;
if through Your departure He comes indeed to me,
I ask with concern: ah, is He not already here?
4. Chor
Wenn aber jener, der Geist der Wahrheit, kommen wird, der wird euch in alle Wahrheit leiten. Denn er wird nicht vom ihm selber reden, sondern was er hören wird, das wird er reden; und was zukünftig ist, wird er verkündigen. (John 16:13)
4. Chorus
But when that one, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, He shall lead you into all truth. For He will not speak of His own accord, rather what He has heard, that will He speak of; and what is to come, He will foretell.
5. Arie A
Was mein Herz von dir begehrt,
Ach, das wird mir wohl gewährt.
Überschütte mich mit Segen,
Führe mich auf deinen Wegen,
Daß ich in der Ewigkeit
Schaue deine Herrlichkeit!
5. Aria A
What my heart desires from You,
ah, that will be well cherished by me.
Shower me with blessing,
lead me along your ways,
so that in eternity
I shall behold your glory!
6. Choral
Dein Geist, den Gott vom Himmel gibt,
Der leitet alles, was ihn liebt,
Auf wohl gebähntem Wege.
Er setzt und richtet unsren Fuß,
Daß er nicht anders treten muß,
Als wo man findt den Segen.
(“Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist,” verse 10)
6. Chorale
Your Spirit, which God sends from heaven,
leads everything that loves Him,
upon well-paved roads.
He places and rights our feet,
so that they will not step amiss,
beyond where blessing is to be found.
John 16:7 (mov’t. 1); John 16:13 (mov’t. 4); “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist,” verse 10: Paul Gerhardt 1653 (mov’t. 6)

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