Help and Consolation

Thou true God and son of David,

who already from eternity and from afar

have seen intimately my heartache and bodily pain:

have mercy on me!

And let thy miraculous hand,

that has turned aside so much evil,

act for me likewise as help and consolation.

Du wahrer Gott, by J. S. Bach (Music)

From the album Jesu, deine Passion, by Collegium Vocale Ghent (streaming, download).

It’s hard to choose a favorite movement from Bach’s several cantatas for Quinquagesima Sunday.

The haunting beauty of this aria is rivalled by several of the others you will find on this album. The texts are available on this site.

In today’s Gospel, Christ says to his apostles: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again” (Lk. 18:31-33).

Here is Bach’s mournful, powerful, and resolute setting of this text.

Even as he marches toward his own demise, our Lord is met by a blind man, who cries out: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me” (Lk. 18:38).

As true God, Christ is willing and able to cure this man with a simple word. As son of David, he chooses to heal the ills afflicting our souls by laying down his (Jn. 10:17-18).

Knowing that he has the power to take up his soul again, and ours with it, do we have the faith to lay down our souls with him?

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