Introduction to the Passion Libretto
Welcome, this Holy Monday to the first of six emails you will receive, one per day from today through Holy Saturday. Every day will offer an invitation to each of us for reflection, prayer and meditation individually yet together in the heart of God. These daily emails will include written text, music, and a video commentary by our teacher Cynthia Bourgeault focusing on a five part libretto she put together back in 2004. The libretto was for Ray Adams’ The Passion, an original Holy Week oratorio, composed for the Aspen Choral Society, of which Adams was the resident conductor. Ray Adams (1952- 2013) was a talented conductor, composer, all around bright spirit, and a close personal friend of Cynthia’s. When creating The Passion as part of a series of original oratorios, he wanted a new libretto, scripturally rooted, but portraying Jesus’s Paschal self-oblation not in the traditional modes of sacrificial lamb and scapegoating (tragically directed at the Jewish people), but in terms of a free offering of conscious, universal love. Cynthia reminds us, “It’s a message that still needs insistent replaying today—perhaps even more now than in 2004.”
Our hope is that you will be able to use the texts, music, and video commentaries as a daily meditative practice. Cynthia shares that “each of the libretto’s five movements concentrates on one aspect of the whole bouquet of substituted love and why this cross was not the interruption of [Jesus’s] ministry but the consummation of it.”
This Holy Monday will serve as an introduction and the five subsequent days of Holy Week will dive into each of the five movements. You will find the text for the Passion Libretto below but the music will come in parts throughout the week. As we linger and meditate with a particular facet of substituted love each day, we will individually and collectively prepare ourselves to “come back to this rite of passage in our Christian faith and walk through it in our own time and in our own kind of anguish to see if we too can rest in the beauty and meaning and universal love out of what looks on the surface to be a pointless and tragic violence and wasting of life.”
As we join together in this exploration, listen with the ear of your heart to whether you have a particular aim during these Holy Days of Holy Week. How might you work with these reflections and make space for deep quiet and listening? In what way can you bring a different kind of presence into all that life requires of you during this Holy Week?
Watch Cynthia’s Passion Libretto Introductory Invitation
Here is the PDF version of the whole Passion Libretto for you to download if you wish. We will be engaging in the five Parts, one Part per day, over the next five days.
A blessed Holy Week!
Cynthia Bourgeault & Wisdom Waypoints Board