Let's talk about evangelism: 4-13-12
The Israel trip, Day 1: 4-16-12

Passionate sacred music: 4-14/15-12

As many of you know, especially if you're Christian, the full Easter season lasts seven weeks, until Pentecost.

BachAnd so even though a week after the traditional celebration of the holiday most Easter eggs and candy now have disappeared -- and the Easter Bunny is on a 364-day vacation -- Christians continue to live through this season of Easter in celebration.

Music is one way to do that, and perhaps no other piece of music has been more honored in this season (well, starting in Lent, really) than "Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Matthew," known as "St. Matthew Passion," by Johann Sebastian Bach (depicted here). Indeed, many scholars and musicians consider it the masterpiece of all sacred music.

This weekend is an especially good time to think about this music because it was on April 15, 1729, that Bach conducted the first and only performance of the Passion during his lifetime. Which seems odd because he lived until 1750. Maybe one performance wore him out.

I thought this weekend I'd give you a few tastes of the Passion. Here's a 7-minute sample on YouTube.

And if you want a bunch more, here's a performance of it that lasts well over an hour.

The Passion is so beautiful and moving that people of any faith can enjoy it.

* * *


The Vatican library is joining forces with an Oxford University library to digitize a huge collection of ancient texts. A grant will pay for this important work. Old books sitting on library shelves are, of course, much less accessible to scholars than online digitized files.

* * *

P.S.: As part of my congregation's AIDS Ministry, I'll be participating again this year in the annual AIDSWalk Kansas City on April 28 to raise funds for the AIDS Service Foundation. You can help in a click or three by going here. Many thanks.


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