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Jackline Spasova-Bobeva

1914_09_11 Peace Be With You

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From  Peace be with you



Peace be with you


"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." " (John 20:19)


Immortality - this is an aspiration of the human soul, an ideal which she strives for and always desires to fulfill. The human soul lives on Earth so that it may find the path to immortality. Immortality is regulated by a great Divine Law, a law which man must study and apply in all areas of his life. And in this sense, we have to constantly learn [1], to find those conditions under which immortality can exist. Man can be immortal and lose his immortality, he can be mortal and acquire immortality. Death and immortality - these are two states. In a [more] scientific language - immortality is an equilibrium of [all] things, of the powers which act within Nature. Death is a loss of this equilibrium. Immortality contains in itself a unity, a harmony; death - a disunity, a discord, a disharmony. When people desire immortality, they should know exactly what it contains in itself. When you enter a modern-day concert hall to listen to a symphonic orchestra, if you have the ability to observe, you will see that, firstly, when the players come in with their instruments, which are mostly stringed, they take the instruments out of their cases, after which they begin to tune the violins, to determine the tones of the wires, some of which are stretched more tightly, others less so. In this tuning there is a certain ratio. And after they attune the instruments according to specific tones, they take the bow and begin to play. Do you know how much time a violinist needs to become able to join a symphonic orchestra, to become able to control his instrument, his bow? He needs to dedicate at least 12 years to specialized tuition. Here they usually say that someone who plays a violin is a gypsy - this is the byname of the violinists. But in this instrument there is a certain emblem. We can say that the violin is the most perfect instrument, which, for the last 300 years - since the great master Stradivarius made it - has not undergone any changes, because it has almost achieved its perfection. I can liken the violin to the human soul: it has four strings and a bow. The violin - this is the human soul; the strings - these are the four human temperaments. The human will we can consider to be the bow. A violinist, when he goes to buy strings, will say: "Give me a such-and-such string - Mi (E), La (A), Re (D) or Sol (G)" and when he returns home, he knows where to put every single string. In human nature there are, we said, four temperaments - choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine and nervous [2] - these are four states within man. They correspond to the human soul, mind, heart and life. These are four main strings which we should know how to tighten and relax. And when we tune our heart and our mind, we should know to tune them to one and the same tone. In the violin, the four wires are tuned to four different pitches, and between every wire there are also four tones, that is, every consequent wire is tightened four tones higher than the previous one. When you tune the whole violin, you have 4 x 4 = 16 tones, steps, to which the strings are tuned. When the violinist tunes his violin, he takes the bow and begins to play. And the violin is precisely the only instrument which is played on a cross, an instrument which creates the most pleasant music, which with its tones comes nearest to the human voice. Therefore, when you tune your violin and take the bow, you form this cross of which you now complain and say: "Why, Lord, have you given us this heavy cross!" I tell you, that the Lord has given you a beautiful instrument, but you do not know how to tune it, and, because of this, you carry it on your back as a heavy burden. Take it off and start tuning it, so that it may become playable. And when Apostle Paul says: "I will boast in the cross" (Gal 6:14), what do you understand? Everywhere I see people who carry these crosses, I see them in the Churches and everywhere besides, but I have not seen a man play on his cross. Enter the concert room and see that people applaud the playing on the cross, without realizing that they, too, have crosses - the sufferings - that they, too, play.


But the most important thing in this playing on the cross is the keeping of measure. When the Kapellmeister [3] raises and begins to wave his baton, everyone must be attentive and [allow themelves to] be guided by him. And the movement of the bows causes us a certain pleasantness, because the bows move according to a certain rule. So, when we come to the deep intrinsic meaning of life, when we tune its strings - the mind, the heart, the soul, the life, and when we harness the bow - the human will, to work, through the Spirit of the Kapellmeister Who will raise His baton, we will create the most pleasant music in our life. Note that the cross is a great blessing with which the Lord visits us on Earth: the most grandiose symphony proceeds from it, music, singing, which is called salvation. It is in this kind of singing that salvation is to be found. When Christ was suffering on the cross, the Angels above, in Heaven, were not weeping, but singing. All the prisoners in Hell were rejoicing that their Savior is coming. So too when He was born upon the Earth, the Angels came to announce His arrival with singing yet again. So, when this Instrument, these Strings, this Bow of our faith were being created, the Angels were singing above, in the Heavens. The modern-day Christian says: "Woe to us! The Earth is a woeful lot, life is a burden, it does not have meaning". For the foolish people who do not know and do not wish to play, who do not know how to tighten their strings, who do not listen to the Kapellmeister, for them indeed, life does not have meaning; but for those who can adjust their violin and play, for them life is full of meaning. And the violinists who play so pleasantly receive a very large remuneration - 4-5-6-700, 1000 levs per month, just by moving their bow. Christ often visits you and asks: "Do you know how to play?" When I ask a man: "Do you know how to suffer?" I understand: "Do you know how to play?" You do not want to suffer, this means - you do not want to play. Those who do not know how to play are gloomy; I have no hope in them. There is a saying: "A man who sings and plays does not think evil". A man who suffers, this means - he sings and plays in life and saves himself. Does a violinist who plays stay hungry? Whoever does not know, will beg. Whoever knows and stands somewhere to play, he receives a payment from the people. Whoever knows how to suffer, he will never stay hungry. And note, people always rush to help one who suffers, just as they give to the violinist. When I remain to listen to how someone plays, while others only watch how the bow moves, I also hear the voice of the violinist, and I can see whether he has learnt to play [already] or whether he is learning now. If he is learning, he is a novice, now he is taking lessons, but in 12 years he will be in the symphony orchestra and then you will pay a high price for a ticket to listen to him... Now, when we learn this great law, to sing and to play, said in the modern language, or to suffer, said in a Christian sense - these words have one and the same meaning for me - through the suffering we will reach that great law, immortality - in which all harmony exists, in which there is no disharmony. Christ, Who comes to the Earth, is coming to teach people how to sing and play. He will teach you {pl.} how to tighten the strings of your soul. The string of the soul is Mi (E), the top-most string, [the string] of the mind - La (A), of the heart - Re (D), of the life - Sol (G). Here is the first lesson which Christ will teach you. Many times people ask themselves: "Why has the Lord given me such a good-for-nothing heart?" Is the heart good-for-nothing or you are good-for-nothing! They say: "Why has the Lord given me this foolish mind?" Is the mind foolish or are you foolish! "Why has the Lord given this meaningless life?" Is life meaningless or do you not know what it is for. The sufferings - these are the laws through which the Lord works for our development. We have to sing and play - to feel and think. To think means to play; to feel means to sing. Now, if two neighbors tune their violins and begin to play, it will be very pleasant. A year ago I visited a family; the father, the mother, the son and the daughter - all played; the father has taken the violin, the son - the double-bass and so on; everyone has something to occupy themselves with. Most modern-day people, the husband, the wife [4], the children, do not know how to play and since they do nothing else, they begin to fight. For them, of course, life is meaningless. Christ says: tune your violins, pull your bows, learn to play; when you gather in the evening, take up a song to play or sing in measure and then another, a third, a fourth. Have a meal and start again. Lay down to sleep; on the next day - go to work again in life.


Now, you will say: "What connection does this have with the resurrection of Christ?" The modern-day Christian deliberates the question of the resurrection and says: "When I go to Heaven, then I will learn everything". This is for the world beyond [5]. But for this world, what shall we do? There is the illogicality in people's reasoning {pl.}. For this world we are very clever, but for the other world [beyond] we are not. When a youth wishes to study at a certain University, can he fly off from home and enter straight into the university? First he has to pass through kindergarten, then through the grades of primary school, the classes of high school, to prepare himself to understand advanced science and only then can he enter the University. Now, why has the Lord sent us to the Earth and what is she? This is a kindergarten, the grades of a primary school through which we have to pass. If we do not graduate from them, how are we to enter the classes [of the secondary school]? When we go to the other world, do you think they will accept us in the classes? No, by no means. The word "resurrection" contains a lofty idea in itself. It contains Divine secrets. To resurrect - this means to be master of all elements, of all powers, of all thoughts, of all desires, of all your actions. And how can a man resurrect when he is not a master of all these things? When a frog, or a little snake can frighten you, how are you preparing yourselves for resurrection? When on the Earth you cannot bear the smallest sorrow and be of service to the Lord, how will you be able to resurrect? If a violinist has to spend 12 years of constant 1-10 hour a day labor in order to learn to play, we, the Christians, how much do we need to play in order to learn Christ's resurrection? One of the failings of the modern-day Church is that it thinks that everything can be received as a gift [by grace]. The Lord can give us a violin, strings, a bow as a gift and He can find a teacher for us and pay for him, but we will have to spend 10 hours a day to learn to play - the exercise must be from us. And whoever cannot exercise thus, is a man indolent, incapable, he is not worthy of the Kingdom of Christ.


When Christ says to His disciples: "Peace be with you!", if I were to interpret this phrase for you in its broad sense, it means the same as when the Kapellmeister takes some symphonic aria, beckons with the baton and everyone listens at once and begins to play. Similarly, when Christ says: "Peace be with you!", everyone should prepare themselves with their own violin, with their own bow, and listen to this Divine measure, which constantly moves from one end of the world to the other. All people sing and play before the Lord. He inspects them. Whoever has not learned to sing, twists his mouth. Weeping - this is distorted singing. In laughter the mouth rises up a little, and in crying it bends downwards. Whoever cries is young, he has not learned to sing yet. And so, crying is distorted singing, which, incidentally, is preparation for good singing. It is not bad to cry, because in time this crying will turn into very good singing. But, it is grievous for the man. We will be lenient: he will learn to sing.


With this new energy which Christ brought into the world with His resurrection, He showed the way of that Divine art - salvation. And this is exactly why you should study the Gospel diligently. You say: "I do not understand this, I do not understand that, this is necessary, that is not necessary, this is right, that is not right". I ask, what is right? Some people do not want to suffer, do not want to sing, others do not want to work. What, then. do they want? Weeping is an exercise; it is a transition to singing. The hoe, it also has its tone. To work with the hoe, to raise it and apply it - this means to beat [upon] a drum. And the drum has to be beaten. You raise an axe and bring it down - these are the bells in a piece of music. And when you raise the hoe and till, even then you should think, you should say to yourself: "The master is watching me - I have to know how to apply this hoe rhythmically". Chop wood {pl.}, but chop it {pl.} according to all the rules of the art. We say: "This is meaningless, that is meaningless". But then, what has meaning in life? The things seemingly smallest, to which we attribute the least significance, have the greatest content in themselves.


Resurrection is a process which the Spirit of God performs in our life, a grand process, through which God restores that primordial harmony. One day, when your ears open and you begin to listen a little more and further away than you listen now - now they are very thick, you do not even have musical capability, you perceive only the roughest tones - you will notice that throughout the whole Universe there is a movement of certain tones which the objects - the wellsprings, the trees, the leaves - emit, and you will hear majestic music which spreads from one end of the world to the other, and then you will understand the inner meaning of life. And Christ, through His resurrection, wishes to introduce you into this concert hall. He will pay for you, He will give you [each] a ticket, but will you have an ear to understand this Divine music when you enter that hall and see that concert, that playing? This is the internal deep meaning of Christ's resurrection. This is the life which develops among the Angels, from the lowest to the highest. This Divine manifestation is [present] everywhere in the world, and, because we cannot find this internal connection, we assume that there is no connection between the various phenomena. And when you hear the words: "Peace be with you!" you should be ready for what the Kapellmeister will order you to play - whether to sing or to cry. When the Lord raises His baton and says: "Peace be with you!", the husband [4] who does not know to sing begins to shout, and his singing is already called beating. And he beats the drum, but beats it awry. The wife, she, too, sometimes beats the drum awry. The Lord says: "You have not learned to beat the drum, you do not take the such-and-such tone correctly, you have not set your voice right, tune, tighten a little the strings of your life, of your soul". Then again He says: "Peace be with you!" and you begin to play. "Hold on! You do not place your fingers on the violin correctly" - He will stop you again. You will say: "I have had enough!" But you have to understand that art is acquired with great patience and conscientiousness and that for the indolent there is no Heaven. This is why the Lord says: "If you do not become receptive like the children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven"; because children have the striving to study [these] things, while adults say: "We do not need this, we do not need that" and finally they stoop downwards, become like a question mark, the Earth attracts them and they are buried in it. The Lord says: "Because this violin is not made well, put it down, so that it can be made anew once again". They will assemble it again, and it will go out in the world afresh, so that it may start learning again - the Lord has decided that each of you is to learn how to sing and play. He does not desire children in Heaven who do not wish to learn to sing and play. And Apostle Paul says that he was taken up to the third heaven and heard something which cannot be expressed with human language (2 Cor 12:2). He had heard singing and playing. [st.] John also said, that he heard singing and playing.


This is the thought which I wish to leave for you. Do you know what the fundamental tone of your soul is? Do you know how to tune your violin? Learn to tune it. Every morning, when you get up, tune your nervous system. You are a little grumpy, anxious - this shows that your violin is not tuned. Stop, tune it. And so while you gradually tune it, your anxieties will disappear. How will you tune your nervous system? You will go to say a prayer - prayer, this is tuning. Some ask: "Why should we pray?" In order to tune your violins. When you tune your violin like this, you will say to the Lord: "My violin is tuned", and the Lord will tell you: "Begin the work of the day". And peace will enter amongst you, and your work will proceed well. And on some days the wife does not tune the violin well and starts to beat now this, now that child; of course, [on] this day the music does not go well. She says: "Why did the Lord give me these children? They are so unruly [6]!" Whether the children are misbehaved or the mother is, this is a question. Another day, when the violin is tuned, everything goes well, yet the children are the same. So there is something discordant. This is why the first thing we should do in the morning is to pray - to tune our minds, our hearts, our souls, our lives, and thus to appear before the Lord for work. To be grateful and to say: "We have learned our lesson in singing and playing well today, and our Dad, when He comes back, will receive our gratitude". Christ has come to see how we sing and play on Earth. He is nailed to the cross and 500 million people today sing and play on this cross, which, since its arrival, has given the perfect civilization.


And so, Christianity is Divine music, Divine singing. Learn to sing and play on it; tune your violins well, move the bow correctly and listen to the commandments of the Kapellmeister. The whole world will follow this Divine law, and you will prepare yourselves for the other world, for the other life, which is coming.


Lecture given on the 11th of September, 1914, in Sofia.







[1] or study

[2] i.e. melancholic

[3] From German; this is a court composer-conductor who would compose music for and lead the palace opera company, orchestra, and/or Church services. Nowadays a Kapellmeister is the director or conductor of an orchestra or choir.

[4] In Bulgarian, there is a single word for "husband", "male" and "man", and similarly for "wife", "female" and "woman"

[5] literally: for the other world. It is possible that the quotation beginning with the previous sentence extends until the end of this one.

[6] i.e. children who do exactly the opposite of what they are told

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