Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 115

Composed for the 22st Sunday after Trinity, the title of the cantata is “Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit” which translates as “Make yourself ready, my spirit.”


The text is here. The chorale used in the cantata is based on a melody called “Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn.” The composer of the original chorale melody is anonymous.

In Bach’s time, the Gospel reading for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity was Matthew 18: 23-35, a parable told by Jesus after Peter asked him how many times one should forgive his neighbor:

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ he servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[b] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


Happy listening!



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