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Notes on the Notes – April 7, 2019

Fifth Sunday of Lent 5


I am Doing Something New?

Isaiah 43:16-21           Psalm 126                 John 12:1-9

This week’s music:

“Like a Healing Stream” (MV #144)

“Like a healing stream in a barren desert,
Spirit water bringing life to dusty earth,
God is trickling through our lives as in a dream unfolding,
Promising revival and rebirth…
Like a healing stream.

Like a gentle rain on a thirsty garden,
Spirit water come to nourish tiny seed,
God is bubbling through the soil to coax a new creation,
Yearning for an end to want and need…
Like a gentle rain.

Like a river strong with a restless current,
Spirit water rushing on to distant shore,
God is carving out a channel in a new direction,
Calling for an end to hate and war…
Like a river strong.

Like a mighty sea reaching far horizons,living-water-2_1080938639
Spirit water with a love both deep and wide,
God is working in our hearts to shape a new tomorrow;
God will always challenge and provide!
Like a mighty sea,
Like a river strong,
Like a gentle rain,
Like a healing stream.”

Our opening hymn was written by Bruce Harding in 2003.  Each of the 4 verses compare God to a different form of water, and picture the movement of God bringing a newness to life in the form of healing, fullness, peace and love.   If you were to consider God as water, which verse would best explain either the role of God’s presence in your life or God’s presence in the world today?

“Spirit, Open My Heart” (MV #79)

“Spirit, open my heart to the joy and pain of living.
As you love may I love, in receiving and in giving, Spirit, open my heart.

God, replace my stony heart with a heart that’s kind and tender.
All my coldness and fear to your grace I now surrender.

Write your love upon my heart as my law, my goal, my story.
In each thought, word, and deed, may my living bring you glory.

May I weep with those who weep, share the joy of sister, brother.
In the welcome of Christ, may we welcome one another.”

The words for this hymn were written by Ruth Duck in 1994. The hymn is an plea to God to (re-)open our hearts to the natural feelings of the human life that, over time, we may have become less responsive to.  It reminds us that, if God’s love is our guiding principle, we will live our lives and respond to others differently.  This hymn connects to Psalm 51, used on Ash Wednesday, which expresses the desire to have God create in us a clean/new heart, to better serve God and the world.

The words are sung to the traditional Irish melody WILD MOUNTAIN THYME, which was arranged by Arthur G. Clyde in 1997.

Hear an instrumental version of the tune at: https://youtu.be/5UnHsbWZss4

Hear the hymn sung at Geneva Presbyterian Church at:  https://youtu.be/SrxqxL4_2qM

Hear the song on guitar at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BopRb9pdB00

“When the Lord restored our Fortunes”

“When the Lord restored our fortunes,Psalm 126
We were like the ones who dream.
Then our mouths were filled with laughter;
Joy eternal, flowing stream.
It was said among the nations,
“God has blessed them with new life.”
We rejoiced for God’s salvation
Brought us home and saved from strife.

By the waters of your mercy,
Save us, Lord, from all our fears.
May the ones who walk in sorrow
Reap with joy what’s sown in tears.
Bring us home with glee and laughter;
Send us out with gifts to share.
God has done great things among us;
Held us always in his care.”

This paraphrase of Psalm 126 was written by Stephen M. Fearing in 2016.  The Psalm celebrates that, after a difficult time of exile and wilderness, God has given the people a new start.  The tune is NETTLETON.  Copyright 2016 Stephen M. Fearing  www.stephenmfearing.com

“Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)”

“Amazing grace!  how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! 

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me, and like a flood, his mercy reigns;
Unending love, amazing grace.

The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. 

My chains are gone…”

Today’s anthem “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” is a choral setting by Joel Raney of Chris Tomlin’s Praise and Worship Song from 2006.  The original “Amazing Grace” was written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725-1807), published in 1779. Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Hear Chris Tomlin sing the song in concert at:  https://youtu.be/KKo3T0j9qqo

Hear Chris Tomlin talk about the creation of the song at:  https://www.facebook.com/christomlin/videos/facebook-live-amazing-grace-story-behind-the-song/10155340357236070/

“What Shall I pour?”

“What shall I pour out to make some sacred space?
What might I let go?
What sweet or bitter taste?
What shall I give up to give my God-Self place?
I listen, I open, I wait.

What do I yearn for that truly lifts me up?
Where can I drink deep to fill my Spirit up?
Surely comes the grace to pour my healing cup!
I listen, I open, I wait.

As we break the bread that shares to make us kin
As we pour the cup that drinks the Spirit in
As we take the time to venture deep within
We listen. We open. We wait.”

This song was written by James McGowan and Ellie Barrington.  The lyrics ask the questions – What are we searching for? and What can we do to make room for the Spirit?  The words also remind us that, in our hurry to find God, we may need to slow down, be open, and wait for God’s “newness” in our life.  (Source: Gathering 2018)

“God Will Make a Way”

“God will make a way when there seems to be no way,
He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side,
With love and strength for each new day,
He will make a way. He will make a way.

By a roadway in the wilderness He’ll lead me.
Rivers in the desert will I see.
Heaven and earth will fade,
But His word will still remain.
And He will do something new today…”s_somethingnewroadway

This song by Don Moen reminds us that, in times of trial, and especially in times of extreme trial, we need to be assured that we have a God who loves us and who will provide for our every need, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual.  The verse of the song is a paraphrase of Isaiah 43.

To learn more about the story behind the song, go to: http://www.staugustine.com/living/religion/2015-08-06/story-behind-song-god-will-make-way

To hear the song, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zo3fJYtS-o

To ponder:

Where do you see God’s newness in the world?

Categories: Notes on the Notes