And no, I don’t mean God. We had the opportunity to hear the Oregon Symphony and Portland Symphonic Choir perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in in D minor. If you are unfamiliar with this symphony it is widely considered one of the greatest symphonies ever written and contains the very famous ‘Ode to Joy’ which we know from the Gospel hymn ‘Joyful, Joyful’ and countless commercial’s and movies. 

In 1817 Beethoven wrote these words:

Before my departure for the Elysian fields I must leave behind me what the Eternal Spirit has infused into my soul and bids me complete.

This symphony, particularly its 4th movement, which contains the ‘Ode to Joy’ was what he was talking about. If you have not heard the full symphonic and choral presentation of the ‘Ode to Joy’ I highly suggest you do it. It is an experience that every human should experience. I suggest that there are things about the nature of God, salvation and what it means to be human that are communicated through these glorious notes that cannot be written into a book. 

Another note that amazes me is that Beethoven never heard his 9th Symphony because by 1722, when he began to write the bulk of this material, he was completely deaf. Some people just have a gift.