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Notes on the Notes – June 16, 2019

This week’s scripture readings:

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31            John 16:12-15

This week’s music:

“Come and Find the Quiet Centre” (VU #374)

“Come and find the quiet centre in the crowded life we lead,
Find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed:
Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.

Silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us, knows our being, fact to face,
Making space within our thinking, lifting shades to show the sun,
Raising courage when we’re shrinking, finding scope for faith begun.

In the Spirit let us travel, open to each other’s pain,
Let our loves and fears unravel, celebrate the space we gain:
There’s a place for deepest dreaming, there’s a time for heart to care,
In the Spirit’s lively scheming there is always room to spare!”

This hymn was written by Shirley Erena Murray for a Presbyterian Women’s Conference on the theme of “Making Space.”

Listen to a beautiful rendition of this song by Gabrielle Toledo at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjB5-97zKaw

“Come and Seek the Ways of Wisdom” (MV #10)

“Come and seek the ways of Wisdom, she who danced when earth was new.
Follow closely what she teaches, for her words are right and true.
Wisdom clears the path to justice, showing us what love must do.

Listen to the voice of Wisdom, crying in the marketplace.
Hear the Word made flesh among us, full of glory, truth, and grace.
When the word takes root and ripens, peace and righteousness embrace.

Sister Wisdom, come, assist us; nurture all who seek rebirth.
Spirit-guide and close companion, bring to light our sacred worth.
Free us to become your people, holy friends of God and earth.”

The words for this hymn were written by Ruth Duck in 1993.  She says, “In my sophomore Bible class at Rhodes College in Memphis, I learned about Lady Wisdom, an intriguing image of God found in Proverbs, Matthew, 1 Corinthians, and literature between the testaments.”   She created this hymn to attempt to express a trinitarian theology with this image. Sophia is the biblical Greek word for Wisdom, which is why Wisdom is often portrayed as female. In this hymn we see Wisdom as Creator, Word-with-us, and Spirit-guide.  The music is by Donna Kasbohm, a composer from the Twin Cities.

“Joyful, Joyful We Adore You” (VU #232)

“Joyful, joyful we adore you God of glory, life and love;
Hears unfold like flowers before you, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the gloom of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day.joyful

All your works with joy surround you,
Earth and heaven reflect your rays,

Stars and angels sing around you,
Centre of unbroken praise.

Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flowery meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain,
Sound their praise eternally.

You are giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Source of grace and fount of blessing, let your light upon us shine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus, which the morning stars began;
God’s own love is reigning o’er us, joining people hand in hand.
Ever singing march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph son of life.”

This hymn of joy celebrates the constancy of God’s love for and in creation.  The words are not a translation of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” but were written in 1907 by Henry van Dyke as a gift to his host, James Garfield, president of Williams College, Massachusetts (and later president of the United States), while van Dyke was a guest preacher at the college.  The text was altered in the interest of inclusivity when it was published in Voices United.  Beethoven’s chorale theme from the final movement of his Symphony No. 9, Op. 125, was the tune which van Dyke had in mind when he wrote the text.  It had been arranged as a hymn tune in 1846 by Edward Hodges, an organist from Bristol.

Over the years, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” has remained a political protest anthem and a celebration of music. The song has been widely used,  from demonstrators in Chile singing during demonstration against the Pinochet dictatorship, Chinese student broadcast at Tiananmen Square, to the concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Daiku (Big Ninth) concerts in Japan every December.

Hear the hymn at the Royal Albert Hall in London:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMY3ivdNzwE

See Libera perform the song at:  https://youtu.be/MAkXHhs9vOc

“A Song of Rejoicing”

“I will give thanks and lift an alleluia!
I will rejoice in the name of the Lord!
I will sing praise and raise a glad hosanna.
I will give honor and praise evermore.

I will sing to the Lord a new song,
Give to the Lord a new song
For Christ alone is worthy of praise!
I will honor the Lord with music,
Worship the Lord with gladness,
Rejoice in the name, the name of the Lord!

O Jesus, You are my joy, my all.
You are my music, my song of hope.
You are worthy.
You are holy.
You are God and God alone!

I will give thanks…”

This week’s lively anthem is by Joseph M. Martin (2009).  It was purchased in memory of Lawrence Kvamme.

“Spirit God, Be Our Breath” (MV #150)

“Spirit God: be our breath, be our song.
Blow through us, bringing strength to move on.
Our world seems inward, defensive, withdrawn…
Spirit God, be our song.

Patient God: soothe our pride, calm our fear.
Comfort us.
When we know you are near we grow more certain, our vision is clear.
Patient God, calm our fear.

Loving God: be our voice, be our prayer.
Reaching out, joining hands as we share,
We seek your guidance through friendship and care.
Loving God, be our prayer.

Spirit God: be our breath, be our song.
Blow through us, bringing strength to move on.
Through change, through challenge, we’ll greet the new dawn.
Spirit God, be our song.”

This song, with words and music by Bruce Harding, was written in 1997.   The lyrics remind us that God will be with us through the changes that we will see as we move forward in faith.

To ponder:

When have you been confronted by a surprising or discomforting truth?
How did you react?

Categories: Notes on the Notes