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Notes on the Notes – January 11, 2015

This week’s theme:  Baptism of Jesus/The Whole Creation in a New Light

This week’s Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5, Mark 1:4-11

This week’s music:

“Crashing Waters at Creation” (VU #449)

Crashing Water“Crashing waters at creation, ordered by the
spirit’s breath,
First to witness day’s beginning from the brightness of night’s death.

Parting water stood and trembled as the captives passed on through,
Washing off the chains of bondage – channel to a life made new.

Cleansing water once at Jordan closed around the one love-told,
Opened to reveal the glory ever new and ever old.

Living water, never ending, quench the thirst and flood the soul.
Well-spring, Source of life eternal, drench our dryness, make us whole.”

The baptismal hymn by Sylvia Dunston reminds us of the use and significance of water in the journey of faith.  She takes us through creation, the crossing of the Hebrews through the waters of the Red Sea during the Exodus, and the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river, through to our own baptism.  The song is taken from her collection In Search of Hope and Grace (1991).   This week we will be using the tune, STUTTGART, which we are familiar with as the melody for the hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”

“Bathe Me in Your Light” (MV #82)

 “Bathe me in your light, O God of All, Creator;  let it shine upon my soul with healing and with grace.  Be to me a beacon bright through shadows of life’s wounding, showing me the way to live in faith, in your embrace.


Bathe me in your love, O Source of Awe and Wonder; help me walk the sacred path of harmony and peace.  May I   be attentive to the musings of your presence, drinking from the well of hope that brings the heart release.

Bathe me in your grace, O One of Spirit’s longing;  teach me of your gentle ways that fill the soul with strength.  Guide me on the pilgrimage that leads to truth and wholeness.  Fill me with your promise of a love that knows no length.”

The text of this new hymn was written by John Oldham in 2002.  John served as a United Church minister for many years in Manitoba, including 14 years at Donnelly United Church in Winnipeg.  John and his spouse Marlene live in Winnipeg, Manitoba where they enjoy being close to family.

The music is by Canadian composer Ron Klusmeier.  Ron lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He composes, arranges, and edits new music for worship and serves as a resource consultant for churches throughout Canada and the U.S. Ron provides leadership at churches, conferences, and special events throughout North America each year.  He has worked in music and arts as a full-time ministry since 1971 as a composer, editor, and arranger. Ron’s freelance work includes leading workshops, seminars, concerts, and worship celebrations. He has worked with nearly 2,000 churches in every Canadian province and almost every U.S. state.

Hear the music played on piano at:  http://musiklus.com/anthology/item/1294/bathe-me-in-your-light

“When Long Before Time” (VU #248)

“When long before time and the worlds were begun,
When there was no earth and no sky and no sun,
And all was deep silence and night reigned supreme,
And even our Maker had only a dream…

…the silence was broken when God sang the Song,
And light pierced the darkness and rhythm began,
And with its first birth-cries creation was born,
And creaturely voices sang praise to the morn.

The sounds of the creatures were one with their Lord’s,The Creation
Their harmonies sweet and befitting the Word,
The Singer was pleased as the earth sang the Song,
The choir of the creatures re-echoed it long.

Though, down through the ages, the Song disappeared,
Its harmonies broken and almost unheard,
The Singer comes to us to sing it again,
Our God-Is-with-Us in the world now as then.

The Light has returned as it came once before,
The Song of the Lord is our own song once more;
So let us all sing with one heart and one voice
The Song of the Singer in whom we rejoice.

To you, God the Singer, our voices we raise,
To you, Song Incarnate, we give all our praise,
To you, Holy Spirit, our life and our breath,
Be glory for ever, through life and through death.”

This song, also known as “The Singer and the Song,” is an extended reworking of the creation story which takes us through the faith journey from before the world was created to the present.  It is written in ballad style.  The author of the lyrics and music is Peter Davison, from Vernon, British Columbia.  The song was written in 1981 and was popularized in the United Church’s Songs for a Gospel People (aka the Green book).  Hear the hymn played on the organ at:  http://www.commonpraiseonline.ca/index.php/300-399/388-307-when-long-before-time
 ... from John’s Gospel – The Significance of Jesus’ Baptism

“Down Galilee’s Slow Roadways”

“Down Galilee’s slow roadways a stranger traveled on from Nazareth to Jordan to be baptized by John.

He went down to the waters like soldier, scribe and slave, but there within the river was sign of birth and grave.

Arising from the river, he saw the heaven’s torn;  it seemed the sky, so open, revealed the Spirit’s form….”

This setting of the story of Jesus’ baptism was written by Sylvia Dunston and Bob Moore in 1991.

“Praise God, From Whom all Blessings Flow” (VU #541)

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise God, all creatures high and low;
Give thanks to God in love made known;
Creator, Word and Spirit, One.  Amen”

This doxology, the closing stanza of “Morning and Evening Hymns,” was written by Thomas Ken while he was chaplain at Winchester College, and was probably in use by 1674.  It was first published in 1695.   The words were slightly altered by the United Church of Canada in the interest of inclusivity.

The tune, OLD 100TH, was composed or adapted by Lo9uis Bourgeois and published in the enlarged edition of the Genevan Psalter of 1551, where it was set to Psalm 134.

Hear an acapella version at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbjpG0SeXYU

Hear a contemporary Christian version with the David Crowder Band at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SHl_BmTqfk

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

“O radiant Christ, incarnate Word, eternal love revealed in time:  come, make your home within our hearts, that we may dwell in light sublime.

Our bartered, busy lives burn dim, too tired to care, too numb to feel.  Come, shine upon our shadowed world:  your radiance bathes with power to heal.

Your glory shone at Jordan’s stream, the font where we were born anew.  Attune your church to know you near; illumine all we say and do.

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.”

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 ).

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 our lives may be changed.  The hymn was commissioned by the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  The words were written in 1991.

“I Have Called You By Your Name” (MV 161)

A hymn for ordination, commitment, and commissioning by Daniel Charles Damon (1995).  This hymn is written from God’s perspective, saying “I have called you by your name, you are mine” and goes on to speak of God’s hope for us.   It commissions us to have the courage to follow where God leads and reminds us of everyone’s innate value in God’s eyes.  This week, we will be using verses 1 & 4.

“I have called you by your name, you are mine;
I have gifted you and ask you now to shine.
I will not abandon you; all my promises are true.
You are gifted, called, and chosen; you are mine.

I have given you a name, it is mine;
I have given you my Spirit as a sign.
With my wonder in your soul, make my wounded children whole;
Go and tell my precious people they are mine.”




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