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Notes on the Notes – January 4, 2015

This week’s Theme:  Epiphany/Communion


This week’s Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12

This week’s Music:

“Arise, Your Light is Come” (VU #79)

“Arise, your light is come!  The Spirit’s call obey;  show forth the glory of your God, which shines on you today.

Arise, your light is come!  Fling wide the prison door;  proclaim the captive’s liberty, good tidings to the poor.

Arise, your light is come!  All you in sorrow born, bind up the broken-hearted ones and comfort those who mourn.

Arise, your light is come! The mountains burst in song!  Rise up like eagles on the wing; God’s power will make us strong.”

This hymn was first published by the Ecumenical Women’s Center of Chicago in the 1974 collection of hymn adaptations, Because we are One People.  The words were written by Ruth Duck in 1974.  The tune, FESTIVAL SONG was first published in 1872 in a hymn book for the Episcopal Church of the USA called Hymnal with Tunes Old and New.   The lyrics are inspired by words found in the book of Isaiah.

Hear the hymn played on pipe organ at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYoUpNC4FAE

Hear an acoustic guitar version of the tune at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W9UgtefhGo

“A Light is Gleaming” (VU #82)

“A light is gleaming, spreading its arms throughout the night, living in the light.
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,
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.

“As With Gladness Men of Old” (VU #81)

The Magi, By Henry Siddons Mowbray 1915“As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold, as with joy they hailed its light, leading onward, beaming bright, so, most gracious Lord, may we evermore your splendor see.

As with joyful steps they sped, to that lowly manger bed,
There to bend the knee before Christ, whom heaven and earth adore;
So may we with eager pace ever seek your throne of grace.

As they offered gifts most rare at that manger crude and bare,
So may we with holy joy, pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to you, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past, bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide, where no clouds your glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright none shall need created light;
You its light, its joy, its crown, you its sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing hallelujah to our King.”

William Dix, an insurance adjustor and amateur hymn-writer, wrote this song in 1858 after hearing the Epiphany Gospel.  The text is based upon Matthew 2:9-11 and Dix first published it in his own collection called Hymns of Love and Joy.   W.H. Monk adapted the tune from a 19th-century German choral specifically for this text and published it in the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).  Dix himself regretted the use of his text with this tune, written in his honor, but over time it has proved to be a good match.

Hear the hymn played on pipe organ at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97wIbDRAJwU

“When Heaven’s Bright with Mystery” (VU #93)

“When heaven’s bright with mystery and stars still lead an unknown way, when love still lights a gentle path where courts of power can hold no sway, there with the Magi, let us kneel, our gifts to share, God’s world to heal.”

We will be using the fourth verse of this hymn as our offering response.   The words for this hymn were written by Rob Johns, a United Church minister in Winnipeg, as a submission for Voices United.  The words are set to THE SUSSEX CAROL, which is a folk tune that was collected in Sussex in 1904 and which is often referred to by it’s first line “On Christmas night all Christians sing.”  It is one of over thirty-five folk songs adapted and arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the English hymnal (1906).  To see the original carol go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cmfCq8iKgY

“In the Darkness Shines the Splendour” (VU #92)

In the darkness shines the splendor of the World who took our flesh, welcoming, in love’s surrender, death’s dark shadow at his crèche.  Bearing every human story, World made flesh reveals his glory.

Light of nations, veiled in history, born of woman’s flesh and blood, calling to the depths of mystery restless hearts that seek the good.  Healing every human story, Word made flesh reveals his glory.

Broken bread, sustaining us in sorrow, wine poured out to toast our joy; exodus and new tomorrow, life’s full promise to enjoy!  Gladdening every human story, Word made flesh reveals his glory.

All God’s people, sing in jubilation of the birth that sets us free, telling of the revelation:  Jesus, God’s epiphany.  Celebrate the human story!  Word made flesh reveals our glory.”

Bernadette Gasslein’s new hymn is set to the familiar tune IRBY, which is the tune for “Once in Royal David’s City,” composed by Henry John Gauntlett.   The hymn was published in 1994 in the Canadian Catholic book of Worship III.  

Hear the melody on pipe organ at:



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