Easter 2013

Dearest Friends in Christ,

I got inspired for our Easter newsletter this year, to record Sarah playing some of the pieces she has been working on over the last few months. Even though these are all not religious pieces, as I thought about the four of them, I realized, to me at least, these compositions communicate the gospel through music. The gospel message seems to be everywhere I look; could it be because the Creator of all things is trying to communicate that message of redemption to us no matter who we are, no matter what we pursue?

We hope these videos encourage you this Easter to reflect on the power and grace of the redemptive nature of the gospel message; an epic story that reaches its climax at the cross, its resolution with the resurrection, and leaves us with a choice to make. We would love if you would watch them all at least once to help get the view count up, and please pass along to friends to enjoy as well! :)

The inspiration for the scriptures in my writing below comes directly from the scripture passages Handel used for his unsurpassed choral work, the "Messiah." Did you realize that Handel's entire "Messiah" is composed completely and exclusively of scripture passages from the Bible? I was surprised when I discovered that not everyone realizes that. I have heard people say, "the words of Handel" as they talk about the text for the "Messiah." But no, these are not the words of Handel, these are the words of Scripture, the powerful words of God Himself as He speaks through His historians and prophets. In addition to hopefully watching the video links of Sarah playing, I encourage you to listen to the entire "Messiah" this Easter as part of your Easter meditation on the true and sober and glorious meaning of Easter.

1. PURSUIT — Chopin Etude Op. 25, No. 6 in G-Sharp Minor, "Thirds" (2:04)

When I listen to this etude, I have a sense of dreamlike intrigue, movement, and pursuit. And it reminds me of all humanity, looking for truth and searching for meaning, purpose and love, and thinking, at times, we have found it is some deceptive, vain, vaporous pleasure that will soon be gone like a cloud of smoke. And all the while we are being pursued ourselves by the Almighty, who wants to reveal to us 'true' truth and beauty and love in the ultimate and most sacrificial way. He calls us, He draws us, and He pursues us...it is a mystery and mysterious...so too is this dreamy piece.

Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30

2. PAIN — Maurice Ravel - Miroirs, No. 1, "Noctuelles" (4:07)

This piece is an aural 'painting' of night moths, in the impressionist style. These moths live only a very short time, and their life is rather clumsy as they are attracted to and circle hot lights until they plummet to their death upon them. I can picture all of that as I listen to "Noctuelles" — the clumsiness of the moth's flight, the frantic intense circling, then the fall, followed by a slow recovery and another attempt to draw close to the light. They remind me of us, seeking happiness and even beauty in a myriad of ways and in that search often being attracted to things that look lovely and are appealing to our senses, but are not necessarily good for us; nor are they what they seem to be. And in the end these things only lead to lack of fulfillment and ultimately death...

All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one
to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of
us all.
- Isaiah 53:6

3. PASSION — Scriabin Etude Opus 8, Number 12 (2:09)

"The Passion of the Christ," who took upon himself our redemption from our sorry state.

The anguish of this piece reminds me of the travail of the Christ as He asked, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matt. 26:38-40) The aggressive and percussive aspects of this piece remind me of the angry mobs who mocked and tormented Christ and pleaded with Pilate for Him to be put to death like a criminal for His claims to be one with the great 'I am.' The repeated octaves at the end bring to mind the nails as He was wounded for our transgressions and pierced for our iniquities.

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but found none. - Psalm 69:20

Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. - Lamentations 1:12

For He was cut off from the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. - Isaiah 53:8

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. - Isaiah 53:4-5

For thou will not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. - Psalm 16:10

4. PEACE — Glinka, "The Lark," transcribed by M. Balakirev (4:55)

The Passion of Christ has bought for us, peace. Peace in the present, and peace as we sail into eternity with Him, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet!!!

Interestingly after I chose 'peace' to be my word for this selection named "The Lark," I found out that the lark in literature often represents 'spiritual daybreak,' or 'passage from earth to heaven and heaven to earth.' How appropriate! Some renaissance painters used the Lark to symbolize Christ, in reference to John 16:16.

"The Lark" was a Russian poem set to music for a vocalist accompanied by a pianist. This music was later transcribed into a solo piano piece.

The lyrics to the original poem could be interpreted to be Christ calling His own bride, the church, to Himself.

The Lark
(Translation by Joanna Hoffman & Barbara Miller. Used with permission.)

Between the sky and the earth a song is heard
An unending stream of sound pours louder, louder.
Unseen is the singer in the field where sings so loudly
Above his mate the sonorous skylark.

The wind carries the song, to whom, it does not know.
She to whom it is sung, she will understand who it is from.
Pour on, my song of sweet hope
Someone remembers me and sighs furtively

For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. - Job 19:25-26

For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept. Since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. - 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. - 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality...then shall be brought to pass the saying, "Death is swallowed up in victory." - 1 Corinthians 15:52-54

O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is they victory? The sin of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, Amen! - Revelation 5:12-13

How can I end our letter any better than that? We wish all of you peace and joy this Easter! May your lives be a continual reflection to others of His grace and glory!

Always in Christ's eternal and comforting love,

~ Linda for the Bealls