Benedictus And The Meantime

Commentary

This poem came to mind as I listened to a performance of “Benedictus” by 2Cellos. I had heard the tune many times in the past, but never paid attention to its title.

This time was different. I was starting into a nap, being soothed by beautiful music. I had just returned from a public event where I felt horribly alienated. Frankly, a friendless freak.

As the tune started playing through my ear buds, I literally heard a slow faint beat, not of drums, but perhaps of cello bows changing direction as they sustained and grew the opening strain. Perhaps it was the bows, or perhaps it was the pulse in my ears from elevated blood pressure. I’ll have to listen with good speakers to figure that out. In any case, my heart was attuned to the playing of the cellos.

What is “Benedictus”?
Since I was listening on my smart phone, I did a quick search for what this Latin word might reference. There were two answers, both from excruciatingly beautiful passages in the Gospels. The first is from Zechariah’s words “Blessed be…” when Zechariah was moved by the birth of his son, John. We know him as “John the Baptist,” who prepared the way for Jesus:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…

Luke 1:68-69

Such high expectations!

The next “benedictus” is from Matthew 21, where the story is told of Jesus’ “triumphal entry” to Jerusalem, just as his Passion Week began:

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:9

Such high expectations!

The Meantime
Jesus’ first coming was full of hope, both at its beginning, and at its end. But he ascended to the Father, and has not finished putting things in order, restoring His creation. Now, as we await his second coming, we are in the meantime. Someone has referred to it as the “in-between time.” I thought of using that phrase in the title, but opted for “meantime.” This is a time in-between, but it is also a time of meanness, a very mean time. Even those whom Jesus has brought into his family can feel rejected and lonely. As George MacDonald said somewhere, “The end of the Maker’s dream is not this.”


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