With Bach’s Resolve

Posted By on Nov 14, 2012 | 3 comments

Today’s post can be found here, at the Rabbit Room. A musing about why I write, inspired by Bach and the way he looked at music.

Just so you know, I’m working full time on my Scottish novel. I have a deadline on a certain portion of it this week so I’m pretty much glued to my red chair and surviving on coffee. This means I might be able to post a snippet of the story here soon.

To close, another bit from my Advent book, the one I mentioned in the last post. (For those interested, it’s called Waiting for the Light and can be found on Amazon.) I had a day with some thoughts and news that “shook me up,” and Alfred Delp’s words caught and held my heart like the hand of a friend. I know they sound a bit dire, but they get to the heart of things and challenge me to come alive to God in a powerful way:

Here is the message of Advent: faced with him who is the Last, the world will begin to shake. Only when we do not cling to false securities will our eyes be able to see this Last One and get to the bottom of things… The world today needs people who have been shaken by ultimate calamities and emerged from them with the knowledge and awareness that those who look to the Lord will still be preserved by him, even if they are hounded from the earth… This shocked awakening is definitely part of experiencing Advent. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God’s promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the inner light in our hearts…”

-Alfred Delp (a Jesuit priest who was killed by the Nazis during WWII.)

Be blessed my friends.


  1. Sarah, I just read your RR post a few hours ago, and it saved my night.

    I’m teaching my first year, and just about every day, I find myself begging God for something to remind me why I’ve agreed to follow Him in doing this. Tonight, I was slumped in my reading chair, on top of laundry still needing to be hung, and sinking in thoughts of failure and giving up, forgetting the King and the Kingdom.

    Then I came across your precious essay. I could feel the cold and the echo of the venue. I could see the musicians, shivering and fiddling with their instrument cases. And I could hear Bach, perhaps shivering himself, bellow his “at-the-ready.” With the notes pulled tight, at the toil of many, up and out soars his masterpiece. Then at the end, silence.

    Because, perhaps, a song’s, like a story’s, end is not really the end at all, and you can’t clap early. I think I am too used to thinking like the world does: that the Story, the most important of tales, began with me, and ends with me. But like you said, my tiny thread-like subplot is not even worthy to be compared to Christ’s story, which includes me as a small, passing character, but that begins and never ends with Him. Until the True End, I can’t expect to hear applause. And when I do, I have to learn to rejoice that it will not be for more.

    Thanks again for lighting the way with your words. I’ll be working late, teaching early, and praying we both smile in our empty concert halls, knowing the King is smiling as well.

  2. What I love about what you shared is that it is applicable in SO MANY areas of life…where does God want us? What do we need to be sharing? What should I be yielding? How should I be trusting & obeying Him in the areas of the precious gifts & resources He has entrusted me with?

    Thank you. I prayed for your novel project.

  3. By the way, Sarah, although I didn’t get around to leaving a comment about it at the time, your post on Bach really blew me away. Partly because I already knew the things you were writing about and because it is always like the growing glow of a candle when we run into someone who is talking about exactly the things that thrill our hearts. He has been my favorite musical figure for years, and a CD of his greatest works is probably the most-played album in our home. One of the poems in my book of poetry that was published this year is entitled “Cantata #147 Summer” after “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” And I “name” each of my summers after a different Bach composition.

    But partly your piece blew me away because it put an entirely new focus on “soli deo gloria.” A focus that MEANS Soli. Deo. Gloria. As Bach really did mean it.

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