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Notes on the Notes – January 31, 2016

This week’s theme:  What is Love?

This week’s scripture readings:

Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

This week’s music:

“Praise Our Maker” (VU #316)

Praise our Maker, peoples of one family;
God is love, God is love!
Praise our Maker, peoples of one family;
God is love, God is love!

Love our Saviour, followers of Jesus;
God is love, God is love!
Love our Saviour, followers of Jesus;
God is love, God is love!

Care for others, children of the Spirit;
God is love, God is love!
Care for others, children of the Spirit;
God is love, God is love!”

This children’s hymn was adapted by Gerald Hobbs, who also added a third verse for inclusion in Songs for a Gospel People (1987) – the original lyrics being “Praise Him, Praise Him, all ye little children.”  The hymn tune PRAISE HIM was arranged by Carey Bonner (under the pseudonym E. Rawdon Bailey) for the Sunday School Hymnary (1905).    The arrangement used in Voices United was written by Toronto composer Ruth Watson Henderson (1995).

“Open Your Ears, O Faithful People” (VU #272)

“Open your ears, O faithful people,
Open your ears and hear God’s word.
Open your hearts, O faithful people,
God now speaks to you.

They who have ears to hear the message,
They who have ears, now let them hear.
They who would learn the way of wisdom,
Let them hear God’s word.

God has spoken to the people, hallelujah!
And those words are words of wisdom, hallelujah!”

Willard F. Jabusch is a faulty member at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois.  He wrote this song, based on the Tulmud, in 1985 for the traditional Hasidic melody.    The melody has been arranged by Richard Proulx, an American composer, organist and choir director.

“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.

“The Greatest of These”

“Tho I may speak with the tongues of angels,
Tho I speak with a voice of peace.
And tho I seek all the gifts of heaven,
Or behold all its mysteries,
If I’m not with Love’s compassion,
If I speak without Love’s voice,
My lofty words and noble actions, are as Noise.

Tho I have faith to remove a mountain,
Tho I’ve faith to command the hills,
And if I dare, in the face of danger, my own body to offer still,
But if I’ve not Love’s understanding,
If I’m lost to Love’s own songs,
My lovely words and thrilling actions are as Gongs.

The breath of Time rushes ever onward,
Prophecy shall pass away.
Our grandest words and our greatest knowledge shall be gone at the break of Day.
For the wisest of our wisdom, and the boldest prophet’s call are merely shadows of the Holy, One-in-All!

For now we see only a glimpse of the things to be.
As thro’ a mirror dimly, ’til Time and Earth are free.
Faith, Hope and Love abide below, abide above,
But ever new, and ever true, the greatest of these is Love!”

This song, by Canadian composer Linnea Good, quotes from 1 Corinthians 13:1-12.   The song was used at the Burnaby Centennial Interfaith Celebration in 1992.   When speaking about this gathering, Linnea says, “Through a glass darkly; through a mirror dimly…Whether we are looking at the convolutions of the world outside or the percolations of the world inside, it is good to know that God’s creation is not locked into the confine of human imagination and perception! ”     In referencing this song, Linnea also shares the following story about Winnipeger,  Karen Ridd:  “Karen Ridd clowned her way from the United Church to El Salvador, to work with refugees fleeing the bombing of their homes by the military.  As a member of Peace Brigades, she became part of an ancient tradition of offering sanctuary in the house of God.  One night, she and her Combian co-worker were apprehended by the military and taken to be interrogated about their work.  Told that they would be taken to ‘el puerto del diablo’ or the current body-dump, they were spirited away to a prison and questioned.  When they finally told Karen that she could leave, it was without her co-worker.  Karen said she wouldn’t leave without her.  Her response left her interrogators baffled, and they reminded her that this would mean that the blindfold would go back on her.  ‘But, you know how it is,’ she said. ‘When you have a buddy who’s in trouble, you can’t leave them.’  They eventually found themselves out on the early morning sidewalk.  I still wonder what experiences I will have to look death straight in the eye and answer it as if it still held the possibility of life.”

Hear Karen Ridd speak about Peace Building at: https://youtu.be/vDTQklX0YaE

“When Hands Reach Out Beyond Divides” (MV #169)

Keri Wehlander is an author, hymn lyricist, liturgical dancer and leader of retreats and workshops. Spirituality and the arts provide a primary focus for her work in various settings in both her native Canada and the U.S.  The lyrics for this hymn of unity, peace and love are:

“When hands reach out beyond divides and hope is truly found,
Each chain of hate will fall away and bells of peace shall sound.

When fear no longer guides our steps and days of war are done,
God’s dream for all shall live anew; our hearts will heal as one.

When race and creed blind us no more, a neighbour’s face we’ll see,
And we shall dance the whole world round, for love will set us free.”

 The tune, SALEM, is from the 1854 edition of Southern Harmony.

 the greatest of these



Categories: Notes on the Notes, Worship