In the last blog we looked at the praise and hope in the 3rd verse.
Today, the 4th verse: Silent Night, THE peace song.
literal translation from German:
Silent Night! Holy Night!
Where today all power of
Fatherly love poured out
And as a brother graciously embraced
Jesus the peoples of the world.
Jesus the peoples of the world.
TODAY – not yesterday, not tomorrow, not 2000 years ago – TODAY has fatherly love poured over us – how, from where? From the beyond? These are academic questions, are they important? We enlightened people always want to find out everything, where things have their origin, why and how something happens, …. That’s OK! But imagine that you leave all these questions aside and you just look, be all ear, quiet, so thoughts and feelings will arise – and you will hear someone whispering / singing softly: fatherly love – graciously enclosed – today – Brother/sister – family – Jesus – we belong together – the peoples of the world – then silence….
Joseph Mohr does not dream about the afterlife, he is in the middle of the concret life. As a priest in Mariapfarr, his thoughts, believing and feelings flow into Silent Night, it was his „here“ and „now“ – in this world where you and I are. We are not alone, the peoples are not strangers, neither the Russians, nor the Congolese, nor the Persians, nor the Indians, nor the Latinos. All people are brothers and sisters. That is what Joseph Mohr wrote just after the European peoples had torn each other to pieces in murderous wars. What a poem embedded in this history!
Silent Night expresses a longing for peace, without an appeal for peace from a moral authority, Silent Night is a praise to the peace that Joseph Mohr had found in himself. Reconciled with his personal history, he bursts into jubilation because there is someone who shares his life as a brother. Mohr does not praise Jesus as a sacrifice, nor the redemption on the cross, he does not lament the suffering, the life behind it counts – and the saints also play no role, he praises the pure life that rests in fatherly hands.
Are you religious? Yes? Everyone believes in something, there must be a “higher being”, right? Joseph Mohr seems to have been an atheist! His faith does not aim in the hereafter, he does not believe in a higher power to which we are subject. He does not play the dangerous game with God high up, with hum power can be exercised on earth! Look back in history, how much blood has flowed in the name of religion!
So Joseph Mohr an atheist? He must have been a good theologian. With him, faith and life have come together here and now.
The Israelites experienced Yahweh as their God because he led them out of bondage and through the desert into the promised land. The psalms extol this liberation! Joseph Mohr made the same experience: The backpack of his past was painful. But the bitter tears of sleepless nights in loneliness in Mariapfarr have turned into sweet honey. A soft light far away had given him hope – and the certainty of salvation from his dark night. He found security in faith, like a small child in its mother’s arms. That’s the source of the poem SILENT NIGHT.
Mohr speaks so tenderly of father, brother, gracious embrace,…. HERE meet eachother heaven and earth. This is the good news of God’s incarnation. It leads to a simple praise, because we ARE brothers/sisters.
In the next blog we will look at the 5th verse. The moralists may close there an eye …. But only ONE eye, please!
- Welcome to the SILENT NIGHT BLOG! (#1)
- How many verses of SILENT NIGHT do you know by heart? (#2)
- Does SILENT NIGHT sing about an unrealistic world?(#3)
- Tenderness is life! (#4)
- Consolation in chaos (#5)
- Silent Night- THE peace song (#6)
- Silent Night – not for moralists! (#7)
- Silent Night – a pastoral idyll? (#8)
- Joseph Mohr – a saint? (#9)
- Franz Xaver Gruber – a simple village school teacher? (#10)
- Encounter – this is where life happens. (#11)