Saturday, June 4, 2016

First Weekend in June

Two years ago, I listened to Bach's 196 extant sacred cantatas, beginning with the first Sunday of Advent and ending with Christ the King Sunday. This is the John Eliot Gardiner "pilgrimage" set of 56 CDs, recorded in the Bach anniversary year of 2000. I wanted to listen to the cantatas on or near the Sunday (or festival day) for which they were written, and then write about them on this blog. It was a helpful spiritual discipline but also enjoyable musically! (Go to the "labels" column on the right side of this blog and click on "Bach (J.S.)" or "cantatas" or "Soli Deo Gloria label," and you'll find all those posts.)

I kept meaning to take out the set again and finally did so this week. Tomorrow is the Second Sunday after Trinity, so I'm listening to the disc with those cantatas: 2, 10, and 76. During this long stretch of Ordinary Time until Advent, I think I'll listen to the "Sundays after Trinity" cantatas again. That gives me twenty-three CDs to listen to through the summer and fall. :-)

Muhammad Ali's death yesterday reminded me of his hometown Louisville, KY, where we lived in the 1990s, which in turn reminded me of a little Gideon's Bible that I received in Louisville. I had stopped at an office supply store in the downtown area, just off I-65, and a cheerful young man stopped me and asked for money. These situations are always awkward and distressing, and honestly this fellow didn't look very down and out, but I had a $10 bill in my pocket and gave it to him. He thanked me and gave me this Bible! I went into the store but then looked back outside. There was no sight of him, reminding me of that verse in Hebrews, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" (NIV).

Back to Muhammad Ali: Here is an interesting article surveying his career: I like the stories of his charitable and humanitarian work, as when he wrote a huge check to save a home for Jewish elderly. I also like that his final public statement was to repeat the truth that Islam is a religion of peace.

In completely unrelated news…. comedian/author Russell Brand and actress/activist Angelina Jolie were both born on this day (June 4) in 1975.

Please pray for two sets of family members of mine who have lost loved ones this past week.

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