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Notes on the Notes – December 31, 2017

This week’s scripture readings:

Galatians 4:4-7   Luke 2:22-40

This week’s music:

This year, the first Sunday following Christmas Day is also New Year’s Eve.       The secular world has, for the most part, moved on past Boxing Day sales and into New Year’s resolutions.   This week’s scripture readings remind us that we are children of God and then take us to the blessing of Jesus in the temple.   Next week, Epiphany, is when the focus is on the wise men’s journey to visit Jesus.     At times it can seem like this “in-between” week is a hodgepodge of themes and ideas.   This week’s music reminds us of the wonder of Christmas that has just taken place, moves us to recognition of Jesus being the long-expected “Light of the world, ” and encourages us to look forward, seeking Jesus, just as the wise men did.

“Joy is Now in Every Place” (VU #45)

“Joy is now in every place,
Christmas lightens every face;
Now be with us, in your grace,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus. Joy

May the star that shone that night,
Making your poor stable bright,
Fill our hearts with love and light,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.

Through the New Year let it stay,
Leading us upon your way,
Making Christmas every day,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.

Now and ever may we find
Your good news to fill our mind:
Peace and love to humankind,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.”

According to the Canadian Youth Hymnal (1939), the source of this carol was Child Education, December 1929, although the author of the words is unknown.  The German carol tune was used in medieval mystery plays about the nativity where it was associated with the carol “Joseph lieber, Joseph mein.”

“Arise, Your Light Is Come” (VU #79)

“Arise, your light is come!Arise and Shine 2
The Spirit’s call obey;
Show forth the glory of your God, which shines on you today.

Arise, your light is come!
Fling wide the prison door;
Proclaim the captive’s liberty, good tidings to the poor.

Arise, your light is come!
All you in sorrow born,
Bind up the broken-hearted ones and comfort those who mourn.

Arise, your light is come!
The mountains burst in song!
Rise up like eagles on the wing; God’s power will make us strong.”

This hymn was first published by the Ecumenical Women’s Center of Chicago in the 1974 collection of hymn adaptations, Because we are One People. The words were written by Ruth Duck in 1974. The tune, FESTIVAL SONG was first published in 1872 in a hymn book for the Episcopal Church of the USA called Hymnal with Tunes Old and New. The lyrics are inspired by words found in the book of Isaiah.

Hear the hymn played on pipe organ at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYoUpNC4FAE

Hear an acoustic guitar version of the tune at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W9UgtefhGo

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” (VU #64 – v4)

“O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.”

The text for “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was written by Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), an Episcopal priest, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his church and his organist, Lewis Redner, added the music. We will be using the fourth verse of the carol for our offering response.

“I Am the Light of the World” (VU #87)

“I am the light of the world! You people come and follow me!”
If you follow and love you’ll learn the mystery of what you were meant to do and be.

light-of-the-worldWhen the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the shepherds have found their way home, the work of Christmas is begun…

To find the lost and lonely one, to heal the broken soul with love,
To feed the hungry children with warmth and good food, to feel the earth below, the sky above!…

To free the prisoner from all chains, to make the powerful care,
To rebuild the nations with strength of good will, to see God’s children everywhere!…

To bring hope to every task you do, to dance at a baby’s new birth,
To make music in an old person’s heart, and sing to the colours of the earth!…”

Jim Strathdee is an American composer and performer of religious music. The text of this song is based on a Christmas poem by Howard Thurman, a prolific 20th-century writer, theologian, and teacher. The song grew out of Strathdee’s music ministry at an intercultural, bilingual congregation in Los Angeles. It was written in 1967.

“O Radiant Christ, Incarnate Word” (VU #84 – v4)

“O Light of Nations, fill the earth; our faith and hope and love renew.
Come, lead the peoples to your peace, as stars once led the way to you.”

Ruth Duck has written a text fitting for the season of Epiphany, with its sense of wonder at the incarnation and its petition that through Christ’s revelation that our lives may be changed. The hymn was commissioned by the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. The words were written in 1991. We will be using the fourth verse of the hymn as our Benediction response. CANONBURY is one of a number of 19th-century hymn tunes adapted from instrumental works by well-known composers. The melody is from Robert Schumann’s Nachtstucke, Opus 23, No. 4 (1839) for solo piano (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_88SiwtWzc8 ).

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Categories: Notes on the Notes