Final Chorus of St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. Performed by Malmö Chamber Choir and orchestra on April 8, 2009, in Lund Cathedral, Sweden. Conducted by prof. Dan-Olof Stenlund.


In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue and deliver me; listen to me and save me!
Be my rock and refuge, my secure stronghold; for you are my rock and fortress.

My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of the violent.
You are my hope, Lord; my trust, GOD, from my youth.
On you I depend since birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength; my hope in you never wavers.

On you I depend since birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength; my hope in you never wavers.
My mouth shall proclaim your just deeds, day after day your acts of deliverance, though I cannot number them all.
God, you have taught me from my youth; to this day I proclaim your wondrous deeds.


Psalms 71(70):1-2.3-4a.5-6ab.15.17

Photo by Jacque Lynwoollard


Book of Isaiah 42:1-7
Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.

A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spreads out the earth with its crops, who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.


People came out to cheer for Jesus, the miracle-working rabbi from Nazareth, because they wanted him to overthrow their oppressors. They expected Jesus to lead an uprising of military and political liberation, not to lay down his life as a spiritual sacrifice for Romans as well as Jews. The Palm Sunday crowd loved Jesus for what they expected him to be, not for what he was. That “love” evaporated between Sunday morning, when he rode into Jerusalem, and Thursday night, when the Roman and Jewish leaders collaborated to try him for treason.

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Conversion begins with the act of falling in love. All miracles do.  Only love does miracles, only it has the power to genuinely subvert the deepest ruts in our lives, to dehabituate us, moving us beyond the prison of our own selfishness. There is a lot of confusion about conversion. Mostly we associate it with the begrudging regret that fear forces upon us rather than with the genuine remorse that follows falling in love.

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Most of us find it difficult to pray. We want to pray, make resolutions to pray, but never quite get around to actually praying. Why?

It’s not so much that we are insincere, ill-motivated, or lazy, it’s just that invariably we are too tired, too distracted, too restless, too emotionally preoccupied, too angry, too busy, or feel ourselves too distant from God to feel that we can actually pray. We have too many headaches and too many heartaches. And so we come home after a long day and simply can’t work up the energy to pray and instead call a friend, watch television, rest, putter round the house, or do anything to soothe our tiredness and wind down from the pressures of life, except pray.

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