Friday, April 06, 2007

out of the grip of death

i received my bachelor's degree in music. i also have a philosophy minor, and now i am in the school of theology in seminary preparing to be a pastor. but still, music holds a special place in my heart.

over my years of study in music (which is more than most) i performed hundreds of pieces of music as a soloist, member of several ensembles, and with opera companies and combined orchestras and choirs.

one of my favorites is the brahms requiem. it is by far one of the most beautiful pieces of music i have ever performed. we performed it in 1999, about two weeks after the columbine shootings. i remember singing the sixth movement and being blown away, almost unable to sing from choking back tears as we sang:

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?


(text from1 Corinthians 15 )

just thinking about the victory over death that believers can take comfort in gave me chills as we sang that text over such beautiful music that was so powerful and deliberate...defiant music.
i remember feeling like i was staring satan in the face with my eyes squinted, shaking my fist in his face!

how did we get this boldness, the comfort, this confidence?

as andrew peterson put it so powerfully in his song "high noon":

And the demons, they danced in the darkness
When that last ragged breath left his lungs
And they reveled and howled at the war
that they thought they had won

But then, in the dark of the grave
The stone rolled away
In the still of the dawn on the greatest of days


High noon in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When Jesus took in that breath
And shattered all death with his life

Be gone, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again

I've been raised and redeemed
You've lost all your sting...


Let the people rejoice Let the heavens resound
Let the name of Jesus, who sought us and freed us
forever ring out

All praise to the fighter of the night who rides on the light
Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky!

...in the valley of the shadow
When the shadows were shot through with light
When the mouth of the tomb shouted,
"Glory, the Groom is alive"
Be gone, you wages of sin
Go on, don't you come back again
I've been raised and redeemed, all praise to the king
The victor of the battle...

----------------------------------------------------------------------

can you feel that? "when jesus took in that breath and shattered all death with his life"

there was a cold, dead, lifeless body on a slab of stone from friday until sunday.

and then it breathed! jesus took in a big breath and defeated the sting of death!

"the mouth of the tomb shouted glory, the groom is alive!!!!"

can't you just picture satan and his angels... standing with mouths open... thinking that they had won, celebrating! when all at once jesus stands up and walks out of the tomb and ruins their party!


i have talked a lot the past week about the death of christ. why he died. what he accomplished when he died. and those things are so very important. we often neglect *why* they are important.

but how glorious that it does not end with death, but jesus christ who died in our place overcame the power of death and walked out of that grave victorious! the father's wrath against the sins that killed his son was fully exhausted, totally satisfied.

and jesus rose from the grave.


may you have a blessed weekend where you think often about our risen lord and savior, who lives and reigns yesterday, today, and forever.

1 comment:

WorshipLeader said...

As I posted yesterday, I talked about the song "O, To See the Dawn" and I was thinking about all the great resurrection hymns and songs in our tradition and I kept singing "High Noon" to myself. I was planning on writing about it today or tomorrow. I will not because you said it all, so I'll just link to your page (which by the way won't help your readership!!!).

I heard a talk by John Piper where he sited Luther's attitude about Satan and his defeat (for low, his doom is sure). Piper called it gutsy guilt. That defiant "gutsy guilt" is exactly what you describe in your post..."go ahead Satan, accuse me, I'm damnable, I'm nothing but sin...but my redeemer is GREAT and Mighty! His blood is stronger than any accusation, stronger than that of bulls and goats, it ACTUALLY propitiates God and accomplishes the REMOVAL of sin, it so you go on, but you lose."

Great post and have a Wonderful Resurrection Sunday. I'll see you in a week!