Anglican Morning Devotion for 25 July 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox communion Worldwide
Symphony No. 9
(Ludwig van Beethoven)
Story by Bp. Jerry Ogles
“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” John 2:1-10 (KJV)
After the long-suffering of Job, God restored to him twice all that he had lost: “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10 (KJV)
The great composer, Ludwig v. Beethoven, is possibly the greatest musical composer of all time. Yet, he met with many hardships and misfortunes in his lifetime that would have devastated one of lesser metal. The period between 1814 and 1824 were years of professional famine for Beethoven. Having lost the one gift that makes the joy of music so ebullient – his hearing – the man of joyful music also lost many of his friends as his financial fortunes took a serious plunge.
Ten years past between his last symphony, the Eighth, and his memorable Ninth Symphony in D minor. Imagine the despair of Beethoven as he attempted to write this masterpiece from ‘imagined sound’ since he was deaf.
The Ninth Symphony finally was completed and premiered in 1824, not long before its creator’s death. The resident conductor invited Beethoven to conduct his new work that night of the premier. Beethoven stood apprehensively as he conducted the last movement. At the concluding notes of the final movement, ‘Ode to Joy,’ the composer stood in forsaken silence, certain that his masterpiece had failed. He could not hear the thunderous standing ovation of the audience behind him. Suddenly, the resident conductor, recognizing Beethoven’s bewilderment, gently turned the musical genius around so he could witness the joyful response of the crowd. What overpowering joy must have entered his heart as he saw the awe-inspiring response. God had saved the best wine in Beethoven’s life for last – and he gleefully took his bow.
Just as Christ provided the best wine for the last at the marriage at Cana of Galilee, so God frequently saves the best wine for last in the lives of those whom He loves. Maybe He is saving YOUR best wine for last!
In the Ninth symphony, the deep emotion and great passion of this master composer is fully brought to light. It seems that he poured his heart and soul in among the notes of this great work.
The Ninth Symphony is the last one written by Beethoven, but it stands out as the shining Sun among all other such works and has endured the centuries, and will doubtless remain forever, as long as the Sun rises and sets, as the crowning achievement in musical beauty, harmony and simple grandeur.
The beauty of sound, technical merit, and popular appeal of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony remains today as one of the world’s greatest masterpieces and sets a high standard for any aspiring composer whose hopes and ambition are to achieve the heights.
Whatever work God has called you to, remember that even old age may not prevent your being blessed with you best wine at the last.