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Notes on the Notes – January 1, 2017

This week’s theme:

It’s a new dawn.  It’s a new day.  It’s a new life.

This week’s readings:

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13                         Revelation 21: 1-6a

This week’s music:

“The Race That Long in Darkness Pined” (VU #879)

isaiah-9“The race that long in darkness pined have see a glorious light;
The people dwell in day, who dwelt in death’s surrounding night.

To hail, you, Sun of Righteousness, the gathering nations come,
Rejoicing as when reapers bear their harvest treasures home.

To us a child of hope is born, to us a Son is given’
Him shall the people all obey, him all the hosts of heaven.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace, forevermore adored,
The Wonderful, the Counsellor, the great and mighty Lord.

His power increasing still shall spread, his reign no end shall know;
Justice shall guard his throne above, and peace abound below.”

The text for this hymn comes from the prophecy in Isaiah 9:2-8.  The words are by John Morrison, from the Scottish Paraphrases (1781) with music from the Scottish Psalter (1615).

“A Light is Gleaming” (VU #82)

“A light is gleaming, spreading its arms throughout the night, living in the light.
Come
share its gladness, God’s radiant love is burning bright, living in the light.

When light comes pouring into the darkest place,
It hurts our eyes to see the glow.
Sometimes a word of hope reminds us of our fears,
Our memories and tears.

When night is round us and every shadow grows,
A star is there to light our way.
It tells a story of Jesus who came near to say:
“God’s light will ever stay.”

And Jesus showed us a brighter path to walk.
He showed us things we hadn’t seen.
Now we, like Jesus, can help creation shine,bright-light
And this will be a sign:

So let us live in the brightness God has giv’n,
And let us rise to see the dawn.
We trust that God is here asparkle and ablaze,
Warming all our days.”

This song was first published in 1992 in Stickpeople, a collection of songs by the Canadian composer Linnea Good.

“Turn, Turn, Turn”  

ecclesiastes31

“To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!”

Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title which is repeated throughout the song and the final two lines, are adapted word-for-word from the King James Version (1611) of the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes.  The song was originally released in 1962 as “To Everything There Is a Season” on The Limeliters’ album Folk Matinee and then some months later on Seeger’s own The Bitter and the Sweet.  The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was covered by the American folk rock band, The Byrds.

Ecclesiastes is traditionally ascribed to King Solomon, who would have written in the 10th century BC, but believed by a significant group of biblical scholars to date much later, up to the third century BC.  In either case, the lyrics would be the oldest ever in a #1 song.

The Biblical text posits there being a time and place for all things: laughter and sorrow, healing and killing, war and peace, and so on. The lines are open to myriad interpretations, but Seeger’s song presents them as a plea for world peace because of the closing line: “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” This line and the title phrase “Turn! Turn! Turn!” are the only parts of the lyric written by Seeger himself.

See Pete Seeger and Judy Collins sing the song at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PhZ0z8pBFw

See The Byrds perform the song at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX6SuX0Z6AQ

“Renew Us”

“O God, grant me new vision,
new vision to see Your kingdom,
new vision in this year.

O God, grant me a new heart,
a new heart to feel Your love,
a new heart in this year.

Christ, You are around us,
Your light begins to shine,
calling us from the darkness;
renew us in this time.

O God, grant me new strength,
new strength to share Your word,
new strength in this year.

O God, grant me new wisdom,
wisdom to do Your will, Lord,
new wisdom in this year.

This song is written by Herb Frombach with music by David Lantz III.  It is a simple, yet profound prayer, calling upon the Creator God to renew us with clean hearts, the strength to do His will, and the vision to behold His kingdom.  It is inspired by the words of Psalm 51:10 –

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”

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

light-of-the-world

“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. 

When 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.

“Go now in peace” (MV #211)

This commissioning and prayer for guidance was originally written in Spanish (“Vayan en paz”) by Pedro Rubalcava in 2002.  It was arranged by Peter Kolar, also in 2002.

“Go now in peace, guided by the light of Christ,
so you may be nourished by the Word of Life.”

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Categories: Notes on the Notes