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Notes on the Notes – January 17, 2016

This week’s theme:  The Holy Spirit works best for those who want it to work!

This week’s scripture readings:

1 Corinthians 12: 1-11 – gifts of the Spirit

John 2:1-11 – the wedding at Cana – Jesus did what was best for the community

This week’s music:

 “Jesus Bids Us Shine” (VU #585)

“Jesus bids us shine with a pure, clear light,
Like a little candle burning in the night.
In this world is darkness, so let us shine,shine logo -800
You in your small corner, and I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine first of all for him;
Well he sees and knows it if our light grows dim:
Jesus walks beside us to help us shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine, then, for all around,
Many kinds of darkness in the world are found:
Sin, and want and sorrow; so we must shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.”

This hymn, by American novelist Susan Warner, was first published in 1868 in a children’s magazine titled The Little Corporal.  An interesting side note is that the author’s younger sister, Anna Barlett wrote the hymn “Jesus Loves Me.”   The tune was written by Edwin O. Excell, an American composer of gospel hymns.

“Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” (VU #101)

“Song of thankfulness and praise, Jesus Christ, to you we raise,
Manifested by the star to the sages from afar;
Branch of royal David’s stem in your birth at Bethlehem;
Anthems be to you addressed, God in flesh made manifest.


Manifest at Jordan’s stream, Prophet, Priest, and King supreme;
And at Cana wedding guest, in your Godhead manifest;
Manifest in power divine, changing water into wine;
Anthems be to you addressed, God in flesh made manifest.

Manifest in making whole palsied limbs and fainting soul;
Manifest in valiant fight, quelling all the devil’s might;
Manifest in gracious will, ever bringing good from ill;
Anthems be to you addressed, God in flesh made manifest.

Grant us grace to see you, Lord, mirrored in your holy Word;
With your grace our lives endow, grace to imitate you now,
That we like to you may be at your great epiphany,
Anthems be to you addressed, God in flesh made manifest.”

The text of this hymn provides a recapitulation of the whole message of Epiphany.  It outlines the ways in which Christ was made manifest in history and concludes with a prayer for the imitation of Christ.  The hymn was written by Christopher Wordsworth, the nephew of William Wordsworth, and published in his collection of hymns for the church year entitled The Holy Year, in 1862.   The tune is attributed to Jacob Hintze (1678) with harmony adapted from J.S. Bach (ca. 1765).

“In Cana at a Wedding Feast”

“In Cana at a wedding feast, Christ worked his first great sign.
There Jesus’ mother told her son, “They don’t have any wine!”
He called for six stone water jars; they filled them to the brim;
Through water changed to wine that day, his friends believed in him.

Far from the town, the crowds pressed in on Jesus’ prayer retreat.
He healed their sick, then told his own, “You give them food to eat!”
Five loaves of bread and two small fish were all they found to share,
Yet thousands ate the meal he blessed, with baskets left to spare.

Out on the sea, the winds were strong; the stormy waves were high;
There Jesus’ friends were filled with fear when he came walking by.
“Take heart, for it is I!” he said, and helping Peter stand,
He calmed the storm and stirred their hearts; God’s world was in his hand.

The blind, the poor, the outcast too, found Christ to be their friend.
“Have mercy!” Bartimaeus said. “I want to see again.”
With great compassion and with grace, Christ gave him back his sight.
Through deeds of power, deeds of love, he filled our world with light.

O Lord, we see your wondrous signs and know through faith-filled eyes:
You are new wine that brings us joy, true bread that satisfies.
You give clear vision to your church, you make the wounded whole.
You give us hope, when seas are rough; for you are in control!”

This hymn is by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (1999).  Carolyn grew up in a family that was, and continues to be, active in the United Methodist Church.  She remembers being a very small child and standing on the pew next to her parents and brother in worship, holding a hymnal (before she could even read it), and trying to sing along as the congregation sang the beloved hymns of the Christian faith. Her father was a college English professor until he retired, and both her father and her mother encouraged her to love language and writing.

She was confirmed in the United Methodist Church and was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1986.  Carolyn started writing hymn texts in 1998 while attending Synod School.

This week we will be using the tune, HAYDN,  which can be found at #231 & #622 in Voices United. 

Consider this quote from Carolyn’s article “Singing Our Lives:”

“Our blending voices bear witness to the
fact that we are made one in Christ. The
variety of voices—high or low pitched, on or
off-key, some soaring to the rafters and
others barely above a whisper—reminds us
of the wonderful diversity in the Church.”

“With Gifts That Differ by Your Grace”245534993_120corinthians2012-67572410075_xlarge

“With gifts that differ by your grace your Spirit fits us all,
That Christians in each time and place may answer when you call.
You strengthen some to take a stand, to prophesy or preach,
While others give with open hand, or heal the sick, or teach.

 And yet, because our faith is frail, we bury gifts you give.
Afraid to risk, afraid to fail, we are not free to live.
At times we use your sacred gifts for only selfish ends.
Our purpose fades, our focus shifts, and conflict soon attends.

Come, Spirit, build your church anew, that all may do their part,
Together finding life in you, diverse, yet one in heart.
So may your people seek your will, transformed in all our ways.
We offer body, mind and skill, a sacrifice of praise.”

This week’s anthem is by Ruth C. Duck (1995).  In the notes on her songs, Ruth says,

The book Glamorous Powers by Susan Howatch inspired With Gifts That Differ by Your Grace.  In this engaging novel, Howatch describes an Anglican priest’s struggle to use his gifts to fulfill God’s calling, not to impress other people or set himself above them.  Indeed, faithfully using the gifts God places within us is one of the greatest challenges of the spiritual journey.  Will be bury our gifts, use them for self alone, or employ them as we take our part in building human community and glorifying God?”

“We Bring our Gifts to Share”

We bring our gifts to share, and lift our grateful prayer that with our faithful care, our world will grow.
Through work of minds and hands in gestures small or grand, let willing hearts expand the love You sow.”

This song by A. Baer (2013), arranged by S. Porter was written as an offering response and reminds us that there are many ways to give to God’s world.

“There Are Many Ways of Sharing”

“There are many ways of sharing, But God’s Spirit gives each one.
There are different ways of caring; It’s one Lord whose work is done.
God, whose gifts are overflowing, May we hear you when you call;
Keep us serving, keep us growing For the common good of all.

We’ve been baptized in the waters! We’ve been given work to do.
When you call your sons and daughters, You give gifts for serving you.
God, we join in celebration Of the talents you impart.
Bless each baptized one’s vocation; Give each one a servant’s heart.

All are blest by gifts you give us; Some are set apart to lead.
Give us Jesus’ love within us As we care for those in need.
Give us faith to make decisions; Give us joy to share your Word.
Give us unity and vision As we serve your church and world.”

Our closing hymn, also by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (2004), commissions us to go out, and, with God’s help, share our gifts with the world.

We will be singing the hymn to the tune, NETTLETON (VU #559).





Categories: Notes on the Notes, Worship