The severity of judgment has gone us by, the demand for God's justice, however, has not been met. Guilt is to be redeemed. In children's scene we can see the highest revelation: the heaven opens in the mystery of new creation (cf. Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens), fatherly grace will embrace the sinful, guilt will be redeemed. Now good and creative powers will act. The pagans will be brought to light.
The lightning of God's wrath will strike them who have not partaken of the bottomless love of the thorncrowned God, his deepest humility, who will remain stiff-necked and deceitful Pharisees and who will go on boasting of their doubts and crave for wonder and the sign, for whom religion is a kind of sport (cf. An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the Son of man). They will stand in shame because they prefer the pagans and the sinful, they had turned away from salvation lightly, they have ignored salvation, and this is their curse.
(The sign of the Son of man)
This chorus mysticus II speaks about the longing of the mankind for redemption, pointing to the forgiveness of sins through God's mercy.
Chorus mysticus: No eye pitied thee, to have compassion upon thee. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live, yea. (Ezek. 16:5-6)
Children's chorus: As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn from your evil ways; live with me forever. (Ezek. 33:11)
The symbol as the solution to the problem points to the main idea of the work: God's mercy (that redeemed the sins of all the world through the sacrifice of Christ) will make the sinful turn away from their sin. God's justice will prefer them to this adulterous and self-conscious generation. The first will become the last...
Chorus: The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation. (Mt. 12:41) And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isa. 60:3)
Then the man (Jonah) falls into dust before God, dazed by the bottomless mercy of divine love.
Soloists: But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy and faith. (Ps. 86:15) Keeping mercy for thousands,
Chorus: forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty. (Ex. 34:7)
Soprano and alto: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Ps. 8:4) Lord, I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the faithfulness, which thou hast shown unto thy servant. (Gen. 32:10) What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Soprano: Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. (Ps. 36:5)
Soprano and alto: Lord, I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shown unto thy servant. (Gen. 32:10)
Chorus I: Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men,
Chorus II: Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men,
Chorus I: and He shall dwell among them,
Chorus II: and He shall dwell among them,
Chorus I: and they shall be His people,
Chorus II: and they shall be His people,
Chorus I: and God himself shall be among them, and be their God. (Rev. 21:3)
Choruses: Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all his hosts, ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his domination! Bless the Lord, all his works! (Ps. 103:20-22)
Soloists: Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Chorus mysticus: Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Chorus mysticus: Amen!
Choruses and soloists: Amen!
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