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Notes on the Notes – July 5, 2015

This week’s Scripture Reading:

2 Corinthians 12: 2-10

This week’s music:

“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.  He has worked in music and arts as a full-time ministry since 1971 as a composer, editor, and arranger.  Ron 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

“Amazing Grace”  (VU #266)amazing grace

“Amazing grace!  how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! 

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.” 

“Amazing Grace” was written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725-1807), published in 1779.  Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed (forced into service involuntarily) into the  Royal Navy, and after leaving the service became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm battered his vessel so severely that he called out to God for mercy, a moment that marked his spiritual conversion.  However, he continued his slave trading career until 1754 or 1755, when he ended his seafaring altogether and began studying Christian theology.

Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. “Amazing Grace” was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773. It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses; it may have simply been chanted by the congregation. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper’s Olney Hymns, but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States however, “Amazing Grace” was used extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to a tune named “New Britain” to which it is most frequently sung today.

“Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and it is estimated that it is sung 10 million times a year.

See 7-yr old Rhema Marvanne sing the hymn at:  https://youtu.be/DDDlxmsciqY

See Il Divo in concert at:  https://youtu.be/GYMLMj-SibU

“The Lord’s Prayer”

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. Hallowed be Thy name.
As in heaven so on the earth; Hallowed be Thy name.
Give us this day our daily bread. Hallowed be Thy name.
And forgive us God all our debts; Hallowed be Thy name;
As we forgive all our debtors. Hallowed be Thy name.
And lead us not into temptation; hallowed be Thy name,
But deliver us from all evil. Hallowed be Thy name.
For Thine is the Kingdom, power and glory; Hallowed be Thy name;
Forever and forever and ever. Hallowed be Thy name.
Amen, amen, it shall be go; Hallowed be Thy name.
Amen, amen it shall be so. Hallowed be Thy name.”

This setting of the Lord’s Prayer is a traditional West Indian melody as found in the children’s collection, “All God’s Children Sing.”

Hear the song at:  https://youtu.be/veX2syQaGBg

“All Who Hunger” (VU #460)

Born in 1955, Sylvia Dunstan attributes her love of song to her grandparents, who kept song alive in the family and entrusted Sylvia’s formal musical education to one of the nuns at the local convent. Sylvia began writing songs in the early seventies and soon after met Sister Miriam Theresa Winter, who encouraged her to write songs based on Scripture. Sylvia eventually realized that her talents did not lay with the music and concentrated instead on the lyrics.    In 1980, she was ordained by the Hamilton Conference of the United Church of Canada. During her career she served as a minister, a prison chaplain, and editor of a Canadian worship resource journal, Gathering.

In the summer of 1990 she was invited to lead the annual conference of the Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada in a session exploring her hymnody.  She became acquainted with the American folk hymns in William Walker’s Southern Harmony (1835) at this conference.   She wrote “All Who Hunger” for the tune HOLY MANNA, composed in 1825 by William Moore.  The arrangement used in Voices United is by David Kai, a member of the Hymn and Worship Resource Committee which compiled Voices United.

Sylvia Dunstan died on July 25, 1993, almost four months after being diagnosed with liver cancer. She left behind a ministry that combined a compassionate concern for the needy and distraught with a consuming love of liturgy. (Source: http://www.giamusic.com/bios/)

“All who hunger, gather gladly, holy manna is our bread.
Come from wilderness and wandering.  Here, in truth, we will be fed.
You that yearn for days of fullness, all around us is our food.
Taste and see the grace eternal.  Taste and see that God is good.

All who hunger, never strangers; seeker, be a welcome guest.
Come from restlessness and roaming. Here, in joy, we keep the feast.
We that once were lost and scattered in communion’s love have stood.
Taste and see the grace eternal. Taste and see that God is good.

All who hunger, sing together; Jesus Christ is living bread.
Come from loneliness and longing. Here, in peace, we have been led.
Blest are those who from this table live their lives in gratitude.
Taste and see the grace eternal. Taste and see that God is good.”

We learn from this hymn the nature of the meal and how important it is for all who share it. Those who partake in this meal “yearn for days of fullness” (stanza one), are “never strangers” (stanza two), and will find that “Jesus Christ is living bread” (stanza three).   This is not a memorial hymn that recalls Christ’s suffering, but a joyful hymn of community to be shared at the table.  As the writer notes in stanza three, “Blest are those who from this table live their days in gratitude.”

To hear the tune go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBktKbgTm_g

all who hunger

Categories: Notes on the Notes