Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 79

It is the second Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild” (God the Lord is sun and shield).


Today’s Gospel reading is John 1:43-51:

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”


The text of today’s cantata is available here. The first movement is translated as follows:

God the Lord is sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and honor, He will allow no good to be lacking from the righteous.

The promise of good things happening for the righteous is reminiscent of Jesus’s words from the Gospel reading about Nathanael: “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” He promises Nathanael, in whom there is no deceit, that he will see great things, including the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

Happy listening!



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