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Klavan On The Culture

Rejoice!

December 23rd, 2013 - 10:24 am

On Sunday, I had the great pleasure of hearing the Santa Barbara City College Quire of Voices give their Christmas concert. Aside from the fact they don’t know how to spell Choir — and I mean, what’s up with that? — they are truly a great group, no exaggeration. I was reflecting as I listened to their beautiful selection that there is no other religion that puts such an emphasis on rejoicing. The Christian injunction and impulse to joy is so central and powerful that theologians and churches have spent two thousand years inventing reasons to suppress it. Really, I sometimes think every sermon every Sunday could consist of five words:  ”Rejoice. Give thanks. Forgive. Love.” All the rest is chin music.

Speaking of which, I also sometimes think there is no greater proof of the truth of Christianity than the unparalleled beauty of its music. The Quire sang two of my absolute favorite pieces. To share them, I chose, not the Quire’s, but the clearest versions I could find online. The first is the Ave Maria of Franz Biebl, composed in 1964. Biebl was a one hit wonder, but how close to perfect is this?

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The second is by USC grad and Angelino Morten Lauridsen: O, Magnum Mysterium, which translated goes a little something like this:

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

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Merry Christmas from Klavan on the Culture. Rejoice. Give thanks. Forgive. Love. And did I mention: rejoice!

 

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All Comments   (5)
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You must, must, must listen to Chanticleer's version of the Biebl Ave Maria (from their Christmas album, "Our Heart's Joy"). It is one of the most unearthly beautiful things you will ever hear.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
A little Rejoicing from my favorite Disney movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iXiJF1igEU
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
You write: “The Christian injunction and impulse to joy is so central and powerful that theologians and churches have spent two thousand years inventing reasons to suppress it.”
Imagine death leading to Him in heaven, or His return, for those He has saved, whichever comes first. What joy to be free of all efforts to doubt Him, to turn from Him, and to scorn Him. What joy to have nothing but His presence, without anyone lingering wanting to destroy you. I yearn for that.
You write hoping for sermons on rejoice, give thanks, forgive, and love. Hard to do those things when persecuted, and threatened, by those who want His will suppressed and supplanted. And yet in the presence of the music you describe, how can those hateful voices be heard? It is good you thought of His awe for this Christmas. May you convince people to serve Him, despite efforts to stop you. Your experience you described proves He is worth the effort.
If prayer says post this, I will.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for the post Andrew. I'm just on my way to a Christmas Eve service to do what you advised. God bless you this Christmas season!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank-you, Mr. Klavan! I had never heard that variation of Ave Maria. Also, thank-you for the reminder - Rejoice! Have a Blessed Christmas.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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