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A quiet, stately orchestral composition by contemporary composer John Adams. There is a carefully sustained, deliberately slow pacing that makes the title more than appropriate. But the music for the piece is not the reason I enjoy it as much as I do. Approximately four minutes into the work, a recorded voice-over (for lack of a better term) begins to play over the orchestra.

The voice-over is that of a preacher delivering a sermon to his congregation. Adams, however, does not present the sermon in a straight-forward fashion; rather, it is presented in fragmented, non-chronological fashion. True to his minimalistic roots sentences, phrases, and even words are repeated multiple times, often back-to-back. The result is a complex tapestry of ideas that, oddly, is more effective than if Adams had simply included the sermon from beginning to end.

Below is a trascript of the sermon.

I believe that. And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit, right here in this room, right now. Right now. I believe that. And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit, right here in this room, right now. Right now. And he wants to meet every need. Now what’s wrong with the withered hand? Why would Jesus have been drawn to a withered hand, healing all that were oppressed of the devil? I believe that. And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit, why would— Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit, right here in this room, right now. And he wants to meet every need. Now what’s wrong with the withered hand? Why would Jesus have been drawn to a withered hand? And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe that. And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit, right now. Right now. Now what’s wrong with the withered hand? Why would Jesus been drawn to a withered hand of a man who was in the synagogue? Now what’s wrong with the withered hand? Why would Jesus — Right here in this room, right now — And he wants to meet every need. Why would Jesus been drawn to a withered hand of a man who was in the synagogue? Jesus Christ not only healed this man in the synagogue that had the withered hand, but I believe this very same story has a message for you and me even down here in this year in which we live. Now I believe Jesus Christ not only healed this man in the synagogue that had the withered hand — And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now what’s wrong with the withered hand? Why would Jesus been drawn to a withered hand of a man who was in the synagogue? But I believe this very same story has a message for you and me even down here in which we live. Jesus knew all about that. They said, “Who can forgive sins but God?” But God? But God? They said, “But God?” They said, “Who can forgive sins but God?” Then he said, “Take up your bed and walk.” But God? Then he said, “Take up your bed and walk.” Forgive sins but God? Then he said, “Take up your bed and walk.”Now I believe Jesus Christ not only healed this man in the synagogue who had the withered hand, but I believe this very same story has a message for you and me even down here in this year in which we live. Then he said, “Take up your bed and walk.” And I believe that same Jesus is present through the power of the Holy Spirit, right here in this room, right now. Right now. Right now. And he wants to meet every need. Now what’s wrong with the withered hand? Why would Jesus been drawn to a withered hand? Why would Jesus been drawn to a withered hand — drawn to a withered hand — of a man that was in the synagogue? To a withered hand of a man that was in a synagogue? Well, a withered hand can’t hold on to anything. Jesus coming — Jesus moved — Jesus moved about with his divine appointment. Jesus is here, and this place is packed with people standing outside, and Jesus walks in. Jesus always moves with divine appointment, and he had an appointment: someone that had a withered hand and if they could hold —

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