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Notes on the Notes – February 2, 2014

This week’s theme:  “Outdated values or timeless wisdom?”

This week’s scripture readings:  Micah 6:6-8, Psalm 15

This week’s music:

“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” (VU #602)

“Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the unity of heart and mind is like to that above.

Before our Maker’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.

We share each other’s woes, each other’s burdens bear; and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.

This glorious hope revives our courage on the way; that we shall live in perfect love in God’s eternal day.”

This familiar hymn was written in 1782.  John Fawcett was an English Baptist pastor, school master, and author.  He spent his entire ministry in Wainsgate, Yorkshire, and most of his hymns were written to follow his sermons.  He published this hymn in his Hymns Adapted to the Circumstances of Public Worship and Private Devotion.   It is alleged that he wrote the text after a last-minute decision not to leave his pastorate to go to a church in London.  The tune, arranged by Lowell Mason, is attributed to Johann G. Naegeli, the Swiss music publisher and educator who promoted the system of music instruction devised by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

Watch the group “Sisters” sing this hymn in four different styles at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No56NKsN6pg

Hear an instrumental rendition of the hymn at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTJ0T6-O9CY

Hear an a cappella choral version at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNOfw1NVAyo

“Eternal, Unchanging, We Sing” (VU #223)

“Eternal, Unchanging, we sing to your praise:  your mercies are endless, and righteous your ways;  your servants proclaim the renown of your name who rules over all and is ever the same.

Again we rejoice in the world you have made, your mighty creation in beauty arrayed, we thank you for life, and we praise you for joy, for love and for hope that no power can destroy.

We praise you for Jesus, our Master and Lord, the might of his Spirit, the truth of his word, his comfort in sorrow, his patience in pain, the faith sure and steadfast that Jesus shall reign.”

R.B.Y. Scott taught Old Testament studies at United Theological College in Montreal for almost twenty-five years before moving to the Department of Religion at Princeton University.  This is on of his early hymns, first published in 1938.   The tune, ST. DENIO, is a traditional Welsh melody adapted into a hymn tune during the Welsh revivals at the turn of the 19th century.  It is also the tune used by Ralph Vaughan Williams with the hymn “Immortal, Invisible.”

Hear the melody on pipe organ at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqgQ3_VcaKw

“Deep in Our Hearts” (MV #154)

“Deep in our hearts there is a common vision;  deep in our hearts there is a common song;  deep in our hearts there is a common story, telling Creation that we are one.

Deep in our hearts there is a common purpose; deep in our hearts there is a common goal; deep in our hearts there is a sacred message, justice and peace in harmony.

Deep in our hearts there is a common longing; deep in our hearts there is a common theme; deep in our hearts there is a common current, flowing to freedom like a stream.

Deep in our hearts there is a common vision; deep in our hearts there is a common song; deep in our hearts there is a common story, telling Creation that we are one.”

This song, with words by John Oldham and music by Ron Klusmeier, speaks to the human longing for the divine that is common across time and faith divisions.  It was written in 1996.

“Christ Has No Body Now But Yours” (MV #171)

The words of this hymn were adapted by Stephen C. Warner in 2003 from the original poem by St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582).


 “Christ has no body but yours.  Here on this earth, yours is the work, to serve with the joy of compassion.

No hands but yours to heal the wounded world, no hands but yours to soothe all its suffering, no touch but yours to bind the broken hope of the people of God.

No eyes but yours to see as Christ would see, to find the lost, to gaze with compassion; no eyes but yours to glimpse the holy joy of the city of God.

No feet but yours to journey with the poor, to walk this world with mercy and justice.  Yours are the steps to build a lasting peace for the children of God.

Through ev’ry gift, give back to those in need;  as Christ has blessed, so now be his blessing, with ev’ry gift a benediction be to the people of God.”

Born in Spain, Teresa entered a Carmelite convent when she was eighteen, and later earned a reputation as a mystic, reformer, and writer who experienced divine visions. She founded a convent, and wrote the book The Way of Perfection for her nuns.  The music used in More Voices was written in 2006 by Rick Gunn, a United Church musician from Bedford, Nova Scotia.

“What Does the Lord Require of You?”

“What does the Lord require of you?

But to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?

He has shown us what is good.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.

These are the greatest commandments.”

Today’s anthem, written by Neill A. Burgess and Howard J. Prior, takes it’s lyrics directly from the book of Micah.  It was written in 2000.

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