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Notes on the Notes – February 22, 2015 – Lent 1

Where is your GodThis week’s readings:                                    Genesis 9:8-17, Mark 1:9-15

This week’s music:

“Creator God, You Gave us Life”  (MV#27)

“Creator God you gave us life, your image formed within our souls, yet through the mist of time and space, we search for that which makes us whole.

In every flower and every tree, we see your great diversity, yet greater still we see your love, expressed in our humanity.

When with our hearts, our hands, our minds, we share our gifts with all the world, our spirits soar beyond the veil, to touch the very face of God.

Through hands that paint majestic skies, and voices chanting melody, with words that reach beyond the page, we comprehend your mystery.”

Both the tune and text of this hymn were written by Judith Snowdon in 2004. Judith Snowdon was born in England but completed her formal music education in Canada. She completed her formal composition studies at Canadian Mennonite University and the University of Winnipeg.  An award winning composer and accomplished church musician, Judith currently teaches piano in Dieppe, NB where she also works part-time for the Mennonite Central Committee and serves as organist/choir director at McKees Mills United Church.

“Like a River of Tears” (MV #98)

“Like a river of tears your love pours upon us;
Like a sunshine of blessing your grace will sustain us;
Like a star-studded sky your spirit shines o’er us,starry night
Renewing our spirits with courage and faith.

Like a bird in free flight by windows around us;
Like a wind in the forest that breathes life among us;
Like a phoenix that’s rising from ashes around us,
Renewing our spirits with vision and grace.

Like a pillar of cloud you promise to guide us;
Like a bright fiery bush you come to speak to us;
Like a calm cooling breeze your spirit breathes in us,
Renewing our spirits with loving embrace.

Like a lover’s caress your spirit revives us;
Like a song of the soul you come to be with us;
Like a prayer of the heart you heal and restore us,
Renewing our spirits, the future to face.”

This hymn is also known by the name, “Renewing Our Spirits.”  The words are by John Oldham (1996), with music by Ron Klusmeier (1997).   The lyrics offer rich visual, tactile and spiritual imagery of the many ways that God renews our souls.

“Jesus, Tempted in the Desert” (VU #115)

Jesus, tempted in the desert, lonely, hungry, filled with dread:
“Use your power,” the tempter tells him, “turn these barren rocks to bread!”
“Not alone by bread,” he answers, “can the human heart be filled.
Only by the Word that calls us is our deepest hunger stilled!”

Picture 006

Jesus, tempted at the temple, high above its ancient wall:
“Throw yourself from lofty turret; angels wait to break your fall!”
Jesus shuns such empty marvels, feats that fickle crowds request:
“God, whose grace protects, preserves us, we must never vainly test.”

Jesus, tempted on the mountain by the lure of vast domain:
“Fall before me! Be my servant! Glory, fame, you’re sure to gain!”
Jesus sees the dazzling vision, turns his eyes another way:
“God alone deserves our homage! God alone will I obey!”

When we face temptation’s power, lonely, struggling, filled with dread,
Christ, who knew the tempter’s hour, come and be our living bread.
By your grace, protect, preserve us lest we fall, your trust betray.
Yours, above all other voices, be the Word we hear, obey.

The text of this hymn is from Herman Stuempfle’s The Word Goes Forth (1990).  It is a retelling of the Gospel story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.  The tune, BEACH SPRING, is a very familiar one as it is used with 4 sets of words in Voices United.

Here a beautiful rendition of the melody on piano at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWCDbt4ifQk

“Someone is There”

“When I’m standing on the brink of all that matters in my life,
when I’m reaching for an anchor in the sea,
When the sky is dark above me and when no one seems to love me,
Someone waits beside me patiently.

When I feel I’ve been forsaken, and my friends have turned away,
when I’m searching for a shelter from the storm,
When my heart is more than heavy and there’s nothing left to spare,
Someone waits to hear my humble prayer.

Though the world is sighing, searching, I can see His blessed face,
And He offers me the promise of His grace.
There is strength beyond my needing. There is hope beyond my tears.
Someone waits to calm my anxious fears.

Someone is there, His hand is reaching out for mine.
He knows the plan. He knows the grand design.
Someone is there. His love is greater than my pain.
He always makes the sun shine through the rain.”

This week’s anthem has text by Mary Kay Beall and music by Jay Althouse (1987).

“God of All” (VU #389 verse 4)

“God of all, of church and kingdom, in an age of change and doubt
Keep us faithful to the gospel; help us work your purpose out.
Here in this day’s dedication, all we have to give, receive;
We, who cannot live without you, we adore you! We believe!”

The closing verse of the hymn “God of All” will be our offering response for the season of Lent.  The words were written by Fred Pratt Green for the closing of an eight-month church festival on worship, music, and the arts at the University United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas.   The tune BLAEWERN, was composed by William Rowlands during the Welsh revival of 1904-1905.

Hear the melody on pipe organ at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYUj7iyVqPE

“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” (VU #658)

“O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.”


George Matheson, although nearly blind, studied for the church of Scotland ministry, assisted by his sisters, who learned Latin, Greek and Hebrew to help him.   He wrote this hymn at his parsonage during a particularly difficult time in his life.  It was published in 1882.  Albert Lister Peace composed this melody St. Margaret for Matheson’s text.

Hear Christ Rice at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuVt4okF-OM

Hear a unique acapella version by Sam Robson at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZad7yBVm5o

Hear the Westminster Chorus at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiZ9xXoZ1Mk

Hear the Gaither vocal band prior to a performance at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O6z1t4sveQ

“Go, My Friends, in Grace”

“Go, my friends, in grace, beneath the blessed sky.
Where you go, God is there, beneath the blessed sky.
Come again, my friends, to worship and to pray.
Where we meet, God is here, Benedictus Deus.”

We will be using the first and last verse of the hymn by David Wright and Jim Clemens as our benediction response for the first weeks of Lent.    The words assure us that wherever we go in life, God is there with us.  The final Latin words translate to “Blessed be God.”

Categories: Notes on the Notes, Sunday Bulletin and Announcements, Worship