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Notes on the Notes – January 27, 2019

This week’s scripture readings:

Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5-6, 8-10          1 Corinthians 12:12-31

This week’s music:

“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” (VU #602)

“Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;
The unity of heart and mind is like to that above.

Before our Maker’s throne we pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.

We share each other’s woes, each other’s burdens bear;
And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.

This glorious hope revives our courage on the way;
That we shall live in perfect love in God’s eternal day.”

This familiar hymn was written in 1782.  John Fawcett was an English Baptist pastor, school master, and author.  He spent his entire ministry in Wainsgate, Yorkshire, anblest be the tie that bindsd most of his hymns were written to follow his sermons.  He published this hymn in his Hymns Adapted to the Circumstances of Public Worship and Private Devotion.   It is alleged that he wrote the text after a last-minute decision not to leave his pastorate to go to a church in London.  The tune, arranged by Lowell Mason, is attributed to Johann G. Naegeli, the Swiss music publisher and educator who promoted the system of music instruction devised by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

Hear an instrumental rendition of the hymn at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTJ0T6-O9CY

Hear an a cappella choral version at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNOfw1NVAyo

Watch the group “Sisters” sing this hymn in four different styles at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No56NKsN6pg

“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. The hymn is an plea to God to (re-)open our hearts to the natural feelings of the human life that, over time, we may have become less responsive to.  It reminds us that, if God’s love is our guiding principle, we will live our lives and respond to others differently.

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: https://youtu.be/5UnHsbWZss4

Hear the hymn sung at Geneva Presbyterian Church at:  https://youtu.be/SrxqxL4_2qM

Hear the song on guitar at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BopRb9pdB00

“Many are the Light Beams” (VU #588)

“Many are the light beams from the one light.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG
Our one light is Jesus.
Many are the light beams from the one light;
We are one in Christ.

Many are the branches of the one tree.
Our one tree is Jesus.
Many are the branches of the one tree;
We are one in Christ.

Many are the gifts given, love is all one.
Love’s the gift of Jesus.
Many are the gifts given, love is all one;
We are one in Christ.

Many ways to serve God, the Spirit is one,
Servant spirit of Jesus.
Many ways to serve God, the Spirit is one;
We are one in Christ.

Many are the members, the body is one,
Members all of Jesus.
Many are the members, the body is one;
We are one in Christ.

In 1972, Anders Frostenson, a Swedish pastor and hymn writer, wrote this paraphrase of a passage from “De Unitat ellesiae” by Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (252 A.D.). The English translation is by David Lewis (1983). The tune was written by Swedish composer Olle Widestrand and arrranged by Leonard Lythgoe of Vancouver. This hymn was sung extensively at the Vancouver and Canberra Assemblies of the World Council of Churches. Its message of diversity of gifts used in unity of purpose strikes a healing note in a fractured world.

“Our Song of Fellowship and Faith”

Friends and believers, we gather in faith,
Here in this house of the Lord,
crosshands1Feeling the gift of God’s unfailing grace
As it surrounds us once more
Here in this fellowship love has grown,
Kindness and friendship abound.
Here in this family, we’re never alone,
Help and compassion are found.

Hear us, O Lord, as we sing out Your praise.
In honor and glory our voices we raise.
We will follow and serve You through all of our days,
Sharing Your truth and Your love.

Sisters and brothers come walk in the light,
Joining your hearts and your hands,
Knowing and sharing and living for Christ,
Following all His commands.
Working together, both young and old,
We will be steadfast and strong,
Faithful disciples wherever we go,
Filling the world with our song.”

This week’s anthem was written by Don Besig and Nancy Price in 2010.  It was commissioned by the memorial fund of Brick Presbyterian Church in Perry, New York, in honour of their 175th anniversary celebration in October, 2009.

“Jesus, United By Your Grace” (VU #591)

“Jesus, united by your grace, and each to each endeared,
With confidence we seek your face, and know our prayer is heard.

Help us to see in each a friend, each other’s cross to bear;hands-of-friendship
Let all their friendly aid extend, and feel the other’s care.

Up unto you, our living head, let us in all things grow,
Til you have made us free indeed and faithful here below.

Drawn by the lodestone of your love, let all our hearts unite;
Let us toward each other move, and move toward your light.”

The text of this hymn is taken from the fourth part of Charles Wesley’s “A Prayer for Persons joined in Fellowship,” which was published in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1742.  The tune, ARLINGTON, comes from the overture to Thomas A. Arne’s opera Artaxerxes (1762). It was adapted into a hymn tune by the composer.

To ponder:  

We need to work together.

How have you experienced that truth?

Categories: Notes on the Notes