Today is Sunday. It is supposed to be a day of rest and recuperation. They used to say, it is the Lord’s Day. A day that belonged to something other than ourselves. And, in a roundabout way it is for our renewal.
We have to get away from the daily grind and our struggle for existence. That was the idea of the Sabbath of the old Jewish calendar. Even God needed a day of rest after the Creation; and he saw, all was good. Was it really?
When I was a child and looked out a window I noticed straight away when it was Sunday. The streets were quieter and emptier. People were dressed differently than they were on weekdays. Today I can’t see the street. I look at the bush as it always looks. It is green and the birds are flying from tree to tree as they always did. For them, it is always the Lord’s Day. We have to be reminded.
As we, Uta and I, were sitting at the table, having breakfast with a soft-boiled egg, we switched on the radio, as we do in the mornings, to listen to “our ABC” and the beautiful music they usually broadcast. And who better to start Sunday with than no other than Johann Sebastian Bach. They were plying the first movement of his Brandenburg concerto no. 4.
Brandenburg is the land of my forefathers and Berlin is its main city. It has a beautiful landscape, where human hand has improved on what nature, from the Ice Age on, has provided.
After the concerto they played a cantata by Bach as they do every Sunday. The right one for the right day, as it was done when he was at the Thomas Church at Leipzig.
They played the cantata BWV 178: “If the Lord God does not stay with us”. This cantata has been especially being composed for the 8th Sunday after Trinity. After checking this cantata out I realised, how opportune it is for just our time.
The music of the cantata is of course beautiful and powerful, even if one is not a believer. For a secular person, like me, it tells me, that when we lose our moral compass then nothing will help us. Our immorality makes our enemies stronger and we can see it everywhere in the world today.
The wrong god, Mammon, is running the show and that is why Sunday has been turned into just another shopping day. There is no Sabbath any more and the more we move away from the Enlightenment, the more the fundamentalists of this world will cause upheaval. The Yazidi, stuck on Mount Sinjar in Northern Iraq, suffer for the greed and corruption of the West. The gods are angry and do not stay with us.
I’m not pleading for a new god. I’m pleading fore a morality where the balance sheet is not the guiding principle. Countries are being run for the benefit of the corporations and not for the benefit of the people as a whole. We are being told to work more for less. But the wealth so created is ending up in the pockets of the few. The environment is being destroyed. Countries are being bombed to smithereens.
It is time we we take back our Sabbath or our Sunday and pause once in a while and consider the outcomes of our wrong actions and may be, “the Lord might once again smile at us.” The lessons of 8th Sunday after Trinity must be learnt. Bach knew about it two hundred and ninety years ago.