According to the second chapter of Luke, Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem where they encountered the priest Simeon and prophetess Anna. After taking Jesus in his arms, Simeon famously exclaimed, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word” (Luke 2:29), because the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not die before seeing the Messiah.
The hymn “Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin” (With peace and joy I depart) was composed by Martin Luther (1483-1546) in 1524, based on the words spoken by Simeon in Luke 2:29-32. “Herr Gott, nun schleuß den Himmel auf” (Lord God, now unlock Heaven), written by Tobias Kiel (1584-1627) in 1620, also relates to the words of Simeon.
In J.S. Bach’s (1685-1750) organ arrangement of Kiel’s hymn, BWV 617, one could hear a tone painting – it sounds as if the pedal line represents the knocking on heaven’s gate and the chorale melody symbolizes heaven.