All have seen

All the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God:
sing joyfully to God, all the earth. – Psalm 98:3

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It seems that someone has died ... thus, a funeral cantata

I am receiving many reports from my facebook and twitter feeds that someone has died.

This is a great opportunity to remember: Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God's time is the very best time).  A notion which while redirecting our thoughts toward God, should also prompt us to reconsider our simplistic notions of temporality.

Bach's cantata opens with Acts 17:28 -
for in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your poets have said: 'For we also are His offspring.'

   German and English, with English in a very "literalistic" translation
   English, with notes about Scripture references

It is interesting that Bach takes this thought of having our being in God, and decides to begin with a conclusion about time: that we should consider God's time, and our participation in it ... and that this time is "the very best time."  Reflecting for a moment on a few things N.T. Wright has said - God certainly "inhabits" our time, time in the way that we tend to experience and perceive it ... He is most certainly "connected" with it somehow.  He does not exist in complete isolation of our own temporality.  We should not say, "God is outside of time" - it is understandable that people express themselves this way, but it is very inaccurate and can cause some to conclude that God is not at all related to our own time.

God's time is the very best time.

However, God's "own time" - which would be in a sense the very essence of temporality - is not necessarily the same as our own perception of time, or how our own movement through constitutes our perceptions.  We know that God is eternal.  Since this does not "fit" into our own time, it is our own perception of time which we must see as localized and not necessarily applicable to God ... rather than trying to shoehorn God into our own experiences of time.

God's time is the very best time.

Apparently many are also speaking these days of something they refer to as "the afterlife."  I've always found this word odd and problematic.  Anyways, if we are to think of such an "afterlife," I believe that Bach has done well in expressing what one of our primary attitudes toward it should be:

That God's time is the very best time.

We believe that God is sovereign; the "where" and "what" regarding those who died as a result of the 9/11 incident, all those who have died since then in the aftermath of various reactions ... and this latest death ... we believe that God is just and good, and trust Him that He has done rightly and justly with all.

God's time is the very best time.

"For in Him we live and move and have our being."

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