Notes on the Notes – February 23, 2014
This week’s theme: Do’s, Don’ts and the life of faith
This week’s scripture: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18, Matthew 5:38-48
This week’s music:
“God Says” (MV #172)
God says, “Be still so you may hear the words I whisper in your ear. If you will listen, you will know I’m with you always where you go.”
God says, “Look up and see the prize I’ve placed here right before your eyes. Find beauty in the things of earth, a cause for wonder and rebirth.”
God says, “Come here! I need your voice. Please teach my people to rejoice. In who you are, in what you do, your life will show my love for you.”
God says, “Reach out! The world’s in need and wants a word, a song, a deed. I send you forth to speak, to sing, to act for Christ in everything.”
The words and music for this hymn were written by Mary Bittner in 1993. Mary Bittner was a native of Pennsylvania and received a B.S. in music education from Penn State University. She taught piano, organ, clarinet, and school music, and also served as music director and/or organist in Baptist, United Methodist, and Presbyterian churches and a U.S. Air Force Base Protestant chapel. She began writing hymns in 1990 while enrolled in a church music degree program. She received her Master of Theological Studies in church music in 1993, the same year she began attending hymn writing workshops and conferences of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Mary died from cancer in 2007.
“One More Step Along the World I Go” (VU #639)
“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…
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…
Give me courage when the world is rough, keep me loving though the world is tough, leap and sing in all I do, 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…”
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.
Hear the song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PXV3dwaeNU
“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. Many hymn-writers are passionately committed to developing a language whose style and tone is as reverent as it is relevant. One of the leaders in this movement is Ruth Duck, professor of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Her powerful texts have emerged as the major part of the cutting edge of language that speaks of God in universal terms and in poetry that is as poignant as it is stoic. Before coming to Garrett in 1989, she served as pastor at United Church of Christ parishes in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. She holds two masters degrees–one from Chicago Theological Seminary and one from the University of Notre Dame. Her doctorate in theology was earned at Boston University. (Source: GIA publications). 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emNeA_-fI7w
“For Love Shall Be Our Song”
“God is love, God is peace, God is joy and gladness. May we then live our lives in love, in peace, in joy with Christ our Lord.
For love shall be our song, as we lift our hearts to the Lord; so as members of the family of God, rejoice, give thanks and praise.
And when others do us wrong, patience we will show, to forgive as Christ did us; seeds of love we’ll sow…”
This week’s anthem was written by Douglas E. Wagner in 1987. The words are inspired by Colossians 3:12-15.
“Gentle God, When We are Driven”
“Gentle God, when we are driven past the limits of our love, when our hurt would have a weapon and the hawk destroy the dove, at the cost of seeming weak, help us turn the other cheek.
Gentle Spirit, when our reason clouds in anger, twists in fear, when we strike instead of stroking, when we bruise and sting and smear, cool our burning, take our pain, bring us to ourselves again.
In the mirror of earth’s madness let us see our ravaged face, in the turmoil of all people let compassion find a place, touch our hearts to make amends, see our enemies as friends.
Let our strength be in forgiving as forgiven we must be, one to one in costly loving, finding trust and growing free, gentle God, be our release, gentle Spirit, teach us peace.”
The words for this song were written by Shirley Erena Murray in 1982. SHIRLEY ERENA MURRAY is a hymn text writer, born in Invercargill, New Zealand in 1931. Her texts have appeared in more than 100 collections worldwide and have been translated into several languages. Her hymns and carols address a wide spectrum of themes ranging from the seasons of the Church year to human rights, care of creation, women’s concerns and above all, peace. Methodist by upbringing, and ecumenical by persuasion, she has spent most of her life as a Presbyterian. She is married to a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of NZ, the Very Rev. John Stewart Murray.
We will be using the hymn tune IRBY, which is best known as the tune for the carol “Once in Royal David’s City.”