"Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud“

We were singing „Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud“ already in nursery school. We loved the melody of this famous evangelical hymn, written in 1653 by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676). But usually we sang only the first stanzas without putting much thought into the lyrics and their origins.

Paul Gerhard wrote this poem in 1653, when he was pastor at the evangelical church in Mittenwalde, a small town south of Berlin. His lyrics bears witness to his great love for the nature and all forms of life. But it also arose in the face of destruction, harm and loss of homeland through 30 years of war. “Geh aus” (in general sense “arise”) means: arise from yourself, dare to step away from your sorrow, lamentations, fears, to step out of your introverted self. The song is an invitation to discover the wealth of God´s creation and to gain new courage for life. Hence, the joy which is felt increasingly arouses the senses. Fresh hope can be found, and inner wealth can be discovered, which spreads and ignites change.

I express this idea of Paul Gerhard in a sequence of paintings. Progressing from picture to picture supports the process which is experienced in the song.