April 24, 2016 Easter 5C
Will your mourn with me? Will you rejoice with me? Twice before I have preached on this text from the book of Revelation, but they were both funeral sermons. Twice this week, we have gathered in this sanctuary to celebrate the promise of eternal life for members who have gone to be with the Lord.
Friday night, as I finished one funeral sermon and sat down to review my notes for this one, I was listening to a live broadcast of The Minnesota Chorale and the Minnesota Orchestra performing the Brahms Requiem under the direction of Helmuth Rilling. Some of you know that I sang under Herr Rilling’s direction for eight years, and we performed this beautiful work by Johannes Brahms at least twice in that time. I knew what to listen for on Friday night. “How lovely is thy dwelling place… blessed are they who die in the Lord …”
Brahms didn’t use the standard Requiem Mass Latin text, but put together selections from scripture, using the Luther Bible. He wanted the words to be easily understood in the language of the people. It was a new way of presenting a Requiem. No composer had ever done something like this before. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. All flesh is grass.” This beautiful music has given comfort to many who grieve.
But something stood out to me this week, as we laid Mike and Florian to rest, and as I listened to Brahms. Continue reading