Notes on the Notes – April 24, 2016
This Week’s Theme: Earth Day
This Week’s Scripture Readings:
This Week’s Music:
“In the Dawn of the Ages”
“In the dawn of the ages God created the earth.
Every living creature found in God its birth,
From the birds in the sky to the deer in the wood.
She looked all around and she said, “It is good.”
In the dew of the morning with her work almost done,
The Creator said at rising of the sun,
‘Only one thing is lacking from earth far and wide:
The children of earth living here by my side.’
So she reached down and gathered up the clay in her hand,
And she shaped and formed a woman and a man.
Then she breathed into each her own life-giving soul.
She gave each a longing to love and be whole.
One God, Creator of us all,
In you we find our life and call.
Great Spirit and source of birth,
We praise your name in all the earth.”
Ruth Duck wrote this feminine version of the creation story in 1973 for one of the first Christian feminist liturgies, which was held in Philadelphia. She revised some of the wording in 1996. The melody, SIMPLE GIFTS, is a Shaker melody from the 19th century, which has been arranged by Arthur G. Clyde (1997). The tune was written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) in 1848. Brackett, a lifelong resident of Maine, first joined the Shakers at Gorham Maine, when his father’s farm helped to form the nucleus of a new Shaker settlement. Many people thought that the tune of “Simple Gifts” was a traditional Celtic one but both the music and original lyrics are actually the compositions of Brackett. It was also used for the familiar hymn “Lord of the Dance.”
Aaron Copland used the melody in his composition “Appalachian Spring.” Hear it at: https://youtu.be/FMtCh0VuoKg
Hear the melody played on the Trapezoid Hammered Dulcimer app at: https://youtu.be/BgJ__yxRSCo
“Be Thou My Vision” (VU #642)
“Be thou my vision, O joy of my heart;
Naught be all else to me save that thou art,
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, my calm in all strife;
I ever with thee, and thou in my life;
Thou loving parent, thy child may I be;
Thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.
Be thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
Thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower;
Raise thou me heavenward, O power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only, the first in my heart,
Great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.
Great God of heaven, after victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.”
The text of this hymn is based on an eighth-century Irish poem translated into English prose by Mary E. Byrne, and published in 1905. The tune, SLANE, is an Irish air, arranged by David Evans for the Revised Church Hymnary (1930).
Slane is the name of a hill in County Meath where St. Patrick incurred the ire of the Irish King Loegaire by igniting a fire on Easter eve before the pagan king had ordered the lighting of the royal fire on the nearby hill of Tara to signal the return of spring.
“Fire glowed against the visage of St. Patrick as he lit yet another candle in the dark Irish churchyard on Slane Hill. The fire reminded him of Christ, Redeemer and light of his life. Opposite the churchyard was Tara, where resided the pagan High King Lóegaire– the man who outlawed candles in Ireland. But it was the eve of Easter, 433 A.D. and St. Patrick was determined to glorify God that night. King Logaire was so impressed by Patrick’s devotion that, despite his defiance, he was permitted to continue his work as Ireland’s first Christian missionary. ”
Hear the hymn sung by 4Him at: https://youtu.be/jIMhshpf0Y4
Hear the hymn by The Webb Family at: https://youtu.be/AZfD5KrH5d8
“Touch the Earth Lightly” (VU #307)
“Touch the earth lightly, use the earth gently,
Nourish the life of the world in our care:
Gift of great wonder, ours to surrender,
Trust for the children tomorrow will bear.
We who endanger, who create hunger,
Agents of death for all creatures that live,
We who would foster clouds of disaster,
God of our planet, forestall and forgive!
Let there be greening, birth from the burning,
Water that blesses and air that is sweet,
Health in God’s garden, hope in God’s children,
Regeneration that peace will complete.
God of all living, God of all loving,
God of the seedling, the snow and the sun,
Teach us, deflect us, Christ reconnect us,
Using us gently and making us one.”
The words for this hymn were written by Shirley Erena Murray in 1991. Shirley Erena Murray (born 31 March 1931) is a New Zealand hymn lyrics writer. Her hymns have been translated into numerous languages and are represented in more than 140 hymn collections. Professor and hymn writer Colin Gibson, who has set music to some of her songs, including this one (1991), described Murray’s hymns in 2009 as “distinguished by their inclusive language and their innovative use of Māori, their bold appropriation of secular terms and their original poetic imagery drawn from nature and domestic life, but equally by the directness with which they confront contemporary issues.” Hear the hymn sung at Church of the Redeemer in worship at: https://youtu.be/EcwyMmf3q0g
“What God Can Do”
“When I see the sun in the morning on the flowers fresh with dew,
I can feel the wonder of God’s great love and I see what God can do.
When I hear the song of a sparrow and the wind that blows through the trees,
All the sounds of God’s creation help to keep my heart at ease.
There’s beauty all around me in every living thing.
God’s miracles astound me, and they make my spirit sing.
In the quiet shadows of evening when the day is almost through,
I can look ahead to tomorrow for I’ve seen what God can do.
This is my Father’s world.
He shines in all that’s fair.
In flowers and trees, in skies and seas
His love is everywhere.
All the wonders of creation God has made for us to share.
We can see God’s presence all around for God’s works are everywhere.
In this gift of life which God gives us as we start each morning anew,
We can feel God’s love grow within us and we see what God can do.”
This week’s anthem is by Nancy Price and Don Besig. In addition to original material, the song also incorporates one verse of the hymn “This is My Father’s World.” “This is My Father’s World” is a well-known hymn written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York. The piece was published after his death in 1901 at age 42. The poem was set to music in 1915 by Franklin L. Sheppard, a close friend of Babcock, who apparently did not want to call attention to himself and signed using his initials rearranged as “S.F.L.” Most sources state that Sheppard adapted the music from a traditional English melody that he learned from his mother as a child.
Hear Fernando Ortega singing the hymn at: https://youtu.be/byIpfEVxhs4
“My Soul Cries Out (Canticle of the Turning)” (MV #120)
“My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn?
My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn!
Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame, and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight, for the world is about to turn.
From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.
Though the nations rage from age to age, we rememeber who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around.”
This hymn by Rory Cooney was written in 1990. The words are a paraphrase of the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55, but also bring to mind the new world prophesied by Isaiah. The melody is the traditional Irish tune, STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN (KINGSFOLD), arranged by Rory Cooney.
Hear a choral version of this song at: http://vimeo.com/30873346
“It’s a Song of Praise to the Maker” (MV #30)
“It’s a song of praise to the Maker, the thrush sings high in the tree.
It’s a song of praise to the Maker, the gray whale sings in the sea,
And by the Spirit you and I can join our voice to the holy cry
And sing, sing, sing to the Maker too.
It’s a call of life to the Giver when waves and waterfalls roar.
It’s a call of life to the Giver when high tides break on the shore,
And by the Spirit…
It’s a hymn of love to the Lover; the bumblebees hum along.
It’s a hymn of love to the Lover, the summer breeze joins the song,
And by the Spirit…
It’s the chorus of all creation; it’s sung by all living things.
It’s the chorus of all creation; a song the universe sings,
And by the spirit…”
Ruth Duck and Ron Klusmeier collaborated on this song, which is based on Psalm 148. Ruth uses the Psalm as inspiration for this hymn, which encourages us to join with all creation to “sing, sing, sing to the Maker too.” It is a psalm which resounds with praise to the Lord God Almighty – the Creator of Heaven and the Earth. As the work of His hands, it is only right and proper that all of heaven and earth praise the Lord.
Enjoy Ron Klusmeier playing this song in at Carman United in Chilliwack during his “Tour of a Lifetime” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh6iYBZjr4A
“Creation Now Awaits” (VU #295)
Our benediction response this week is the third verse from the hymn “The Earth and All Who Breathe,” which can be found at #295 in Voices United. The words are by Ruth Duck (1983). We will be using the tune from the hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” which was written by George Job Elvey in 1868.
“Creation now awaits humanity’s rebirth
At last to claim one common aim: to nurture life on earth.
Awake, all humankind, the challenge now embrace;
Apply your strength, your voice, your means, as stewards of God’s grace.”