Notes on the Notes – August 1, 2021

This week’s music:

“Spirit God, Be Our Breath” (MV #150)

Our service of music will open with an instrumental verse of the song “Spirit God, Be our Breath,” which was written by Bruce Harding in 1997.  It was recorded on February 21, 2021.

“Come and Find the Quiet Centre” (VU #374)

“Come and find the quiet centre in the crowded life we lead,
Find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed:
Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes, that we can see
All the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.

Silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us, knows our being, face to face,
Making space within our thinking, lifting shades to show the sun,
Raising courage when we’re shrinking, finding scope for faith begun.

In the Spirit let us travel, open to each other’s pain,
Let our loves and fears unravel, celebrate the space we gain:
There’s a place for deepest dreaming, there’s a time for heart to care,
In the Spirit’s lively scheming there is always room to spare!”

This hymn was written by Shirley Erena Murray for a Presbyterian Women’s Conference on the theme of “Making Space.”  In our busy and chaotic world, it is a reminder to take the time to “be at peace, and simply be.” This week we will be using our recording from June 20, 21.

Listen to a beautiful choral rendition of this song at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jukLcHj3BA&list=RDPjB5-97zKaw&index=5

“Come to My Heart” (VU #661)

“Come to my heart, Lord Jesus; teach me to walk in your way.
Come to my heart, Lord Jesus; come to my heart today.
Give me the peace and joy that only you can bring.
Come to my heart, Lord Jesus; give me a song to sing.

Fill me with love, Lord Jesus;
Teach me to walk in your way.

Fill me with love, Lord Jesus;
Fill me with love today.

Give me the peace and joy
That only you can bring.

Fill me with love, Lord Jesus;
Give me a song to sing.

Answer my prayer, Lord Jesus; teach me to walk in your way.
Answer my prayer, Lord Jesus; answer my prayer today.
Give me the peace and joy that only you can bring.
Answer my prayer, Lord Jesus; give me a song to sing.”

This song was written by Joe Pinson in 1979.  Its simple lyrics are an invitation for Jesus to be with us during this time of worship.  The Praise Singers recorded this hymn for the service on January 24, 2021.

“We Will Follow”

This traditional Zimbabwean song has the Zulu title of “Som’landela.”  The recording by the Praise Singers was made for the service on January 24, 2021.

The Zulu lyrics are:

Som’landela, som’landel’ U Jesu.
Som’landela yonke indawo.
Som’landela, som’landel’ U Jesu.
Lapho Eyakhona som’landela.

The English lyrics are:

We will follow, we will follow Jesus.
We will follow everywhere he goes.
We will follow, we will follow Jesus.
Everywhere he goes, we will follow.

Hear the song sung by a men’s choir in Zulu, French and English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1VUrqQ86z8%3Ffeature%3Doembed

“Joyful, Joyful We Adore You” (VU #232)

“Joyful, joyful we adore you God of glory, life and love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before you, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the gloom of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day.joyful

All your works with joy surround you,
Earth and heaven reflect your rays,

Stars and angels sing around you,
Centre of unbroken praise.

Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flowery meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain,
Sound their praise eternally.

You are giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Source of grace and fount of blessing, let your light upon us shine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus, which the morning stars began;
God’s own love is reigning o’er us, joining people hand in hand.
Ever singing march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life.”

This hymn of joy celebrates the constancy of God’s love for and in creation.  The words are not a translation of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” but were written in 1907 by Henry van Dyke as a gift to his host, James Garfield, president of Williams College, Massachusetts (and later president of the United States), while van Dyke was a guest preacher at the college.  The text was altered in the interest of inclusivity when it was published in Voices United. The hymn was recorded for worship for our Homecoming Sunday on November 1, 2020.

Hear the hymn at the Royal Albert Hall in London:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMY3ivdNzwE

See Libera perform the song at:  https://youtu.be/MAkXHhs9vOc

“Joy is Like the Rain” 

“I saw raindrops on my window,
Joy is like the rain.
Laughter runs across my pain,
Slips away and comes again.
Joy is like the rain.

I saw clouds upon a mountain,
Joy is like a cloud.
Sometimes silver, sometimes gray,
Always sun not far away.
Joy is like a cloud.

I saw Christ in wind and thunder,
Joy is tried by storm.
Christ asleep within my boat,
Whipped by wind, yet still afloat.
Joy is tried by storm.

I saw rain-drops on the river,
Joy is like the rain,
Bit by bit the river grows,
Till all at once it overflows.
Joy is like the rain.”

This song was written in 1965 by Miriam Therese Winter.  It was recorded by the Medical Mission Sisters.  Hear the original recording at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PiE8gwCYKg

Sung into being at the lowest point in her existence, Miriam Therese Winter talks about the creation of the song “Joy is Like the Rain” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzyymORMxfU

The recording used in the service was made for the service on May 16, 2021.

“In the Bulb There is a Flower” (VU #703)

“In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be;
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

butterflyThere’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery.
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity,
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory.
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

Natalie Sleeth composed “Hymn of Promise” as a choral anthem and later adapted it to congregational singing (1986).  The anthem is dedicated to her husband, Donald Sleeth, a Methodist pastor and professor of homilectics, who was diagnosed with cancer not long after it was written.  The message of hope and trust in God continues to resonate.  The hymn was recorded for use in worship on April 18, 2021, the Sunday before Earth Day.

“Spirit of the Living God” (VU #376)

“Spirit of the living God,  fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God,  fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God, move among us all,
Make us one in heart and mind, make us one in love;
Humble, caring, selfless, sharing
Spirit of the living God, fill our lives with love!”

Pentecost

This is one of the most long-lasting and widely used choruses in Christian worship. Every aspect of the song embodies a simple sincerity.   The melody encompasses only five notes.  The harmonies can be played by a very modestly skilled pianist, and three of the four lines repeat the same nine words.  Yet for many, the straightforward petitions of this song draw the singer into an attitude of prayer.

The first verse of the hymn was written by Daniel Iverson (1890-1977), a native of Brunswick, Ga.  The second verse of the hymn was written by Michael Baughen for Hymns for Today’s Church (1982).  The arrangement in Voices United is the one written by Darryl Nixon for Songs for a Gospel People (1987).  It was recorded on May 23, 2021.

“A New Creed”

“We are not alone,
We live in God’s world,
We believe in God,
Who has created and is creating,
Who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh,
To reconcile and make new,
Who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.United church crest

We are called to be the Church,
To celebrate God’s presence,
To live with respect in Creation,
To love and serve others,
To seek justice and resist evil,
To proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
Our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.”

This setting of the New Creed was composed by Richard Hall.  The creed is a statement of the beliefs of the United Church of Canada. This week we will be using the recording made for our service on November 1, 2020.

“One More Step Along the World I Go” (VU #639)

“One more step along the world I go,
One more step along the world I go,
From the old things to the new,
Keep me travelling along with you:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
Keep me travelling along with you.

Round the corner of the world I turn,
More and more about the world I learn;
All the new things that I see you’ll be looking at along with me
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
Keep me travelling along with you.

As I travel through the bad and good,
Keep me travelling the way I should;
Where I see no way to go
You’ll be telling me the way, I know:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
Keep me travelling along with you.

Give me courage when the world is rough,
Keep me loving though the world is tough,imagesCAHUOSFY
Leap and sing in all I do,
Keep me travelling along with you:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
Keep me travelling along with you.

You are older than the world can be,
You are younger than the life in me,
Ever old and ever new, keep me travelling along with you:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
Keep me travelling along with you.”

This folk-hymn by Sydney Carter was written in 1971. The words of the hymn emphasize that living a faith-filled life is more about the journey than about having all of the answers. It also speaks of our desire to have God with us as we live and learn. Our recording of this song is from November 1, 2020.

“How Great Thou Art” (VU #238)

“O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
 I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul…

But when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul…

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!”

Then sings my soul,…”

A Praise Team and congregational favourite, the words of this hymn are an echo of the awe felt by the writer of Psalm 8.   The hymn How Great Thou Art travelled a long road before it ended up a favourite addition to English hymnals. The original version was a poem written by a Swedish pastor, Reverend Carl Boberg in 1886.   In 1933, English missionaries to the Ukraine, Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine heard the song for the first time, fell in love with it and sang it often throughout their missionary journeys. As they travelled the Carpathian Mountains, the couple was inspired by the incredible beauty to translate the first three verses of the song into English. When WWII broke out in 1939, the Hines returned to England carrying How Great Thou Art to its new home.  In the 1950s, the song was copyrighted and widely published in America, becoming more and more popular. When George Beverly Shea and the Billy Graham gospel choir, directed by Cliff Barrows, began to sing the song at virtually every crusade event, How Great Thou Art soon became one of the most recognized songs around the world. (source:  Share Faith website) The Praise Team recorded this version of the hymn for the service on May 16, 2021.

Hear a beautiful piano version of the hymn at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yixWRocskp0

“God of the Bible” (MV #28)

“God of the Bible, God in the Gospel, hope seen in Jesus, hope yet to come,
You are our centre, daylight or darkness, freedom or prison, you are our home.

God in our struggles, God in our hunger,
Suffering with us, taking our part,freshasthemorning_light

Still you empower us, mothering Spirit,
Feeding, sustaining, from your own heart.

Not by your finger, not by your anger
Will our world order change in a day,

But by your people, fearless and faithful,
Small paper lanterns, lighting the way.

Hope we must carry, shining and certain through all our turmoil, terror and loss,
Bonding us gladly one to the other, till our world changes facing the Cross.

Fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise,
God always faithful, you do not change.

Fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise,
God always faithful, you do not change.”

Our service this week will close with a hymn by Shirley Erena Murray, which was written in 1995 and set to music by Tony E. Alonso in 2001.   The original title was Fresh as the Morning.  Through the hymn Murray emphasizes her confidence in God’s faithfulness and encourages us in our journey to make the world God’s kingdom.  God is with us in the struggle.

Hear the hymn sung by Worship and Music leaders at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSVCzqIK5bE

Bonus video:

Categories: General News, Notes on the Notes
%d bloggers like this: