Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paul Gerhardt evening--video

I am kind of sad.  This Paul Gerhard video is so beautiful and yet very wrong.

We need to spend more time exposing this kind of wrong.  We can sing and play and talk beautiful and yet deny Christ by not talking about what he has done and that for every sinner, such as we all are.

It is broadcast from the St. Laurentiuskirche in Toenning.

With Paul Gerhardt, no wool can be pulled over our eyes.  We know him.  We know his many hymns.  We know in Whom he believes.  And we know Him, too.  It is crystal clear.  Gerhardt clung to Christ and Christ crucified for him and his justification for dear life as anyone ever has and that through the toughest life conditions.  Christ is the only reason he could keep singing, writing and preaching.

YET!  They (the speakers in the video, including two pastors) can manage to have an almost two hour evening, singing, reading, preaching, trumpeting, stringed instruments, joy and solemnity in a historic church under the crucifix--and they can still manage to leave Christ out!  How can this even be done with those hymns?  It takes incredible gymnastics or a desire to mislead or plain delusion.  I cannot make out the discrepancy.  It reminds me of my mother's fellow choir members in a large, musical church, who would come to sing in the famous choir and leave before the sermon.

I watched the video, sang along, nearly wept with Gerhadt's stories of repeated losses, songs we sing in our most horrid hours and most joyful times, we have sung to our dying loved ones and God willing will sing in our own dying hour...  YET, I cannot find Christ in the messages given outside of Gerhard's songs.  The song on justification:  "If God himself be fore me..." is not used in this evening program, either.  The conflict with the Reformed and the King are skimmed over.  Confessional matters are not explored.  Gerhard was a "strenger Lutheraner", they say, here.  "Streng" can mean "strict" or maybe even "strong", but it also connotes "severe", as if he might have been "unreasonable", or "unyielding" in perhaps a good or bad way.  Vagueness abounds and these topics are not developed.

I am kind of sad about it all.  I thought about it all night.  It is the church of my childhood.  Nothing but vague messages, but wonderful hymns, choirs and brass bands.  At least, they passed down to us Paul Gerhardt's songs and he can continue to preach to us.

This whole is quite a big mish-mash, one has to say it, as well.  A little bit of everything.

Now, when will WE make a gorgeous, Christ-centered, Paul Gerhardt video and preach the Gospel somewhat as meaningfully as Gerhardt?

We had a Paul Gerhard evening not that long ago at Concordia, Edmonton.  Did we make a video of that?

"If God himself be for me" is not even on YouTube while the Germans have their gorgeous hymns plastered all over the internet.  Thank God the hymns speak for themselves, the poets, and God himself.  It is still not the same as having a correct theology preached by your living pastor. 

See also Rev. Harrison's recent blogpost:

Also see just above, the crucifix from the church in Toenning.  Everyone please remember that the Christ, Paul Gerhard sings about is the one he knows took all his sins away by his death, resurrection and ascension and this is why he and we can be confident about seeing our Lord and embracing and kissing him, the way Gerhardt likes to say.  There is peace fully made.  It is all done.  Everything is paid for.  That is why we are his and he is ours.

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