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Notes on the Notes – March 1, 2015 – Lent 2

Where is your GodThis week’s theme:  God of ALL people

This week’s scripture reading:

          Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

This week’s music:

“Let My Spirit Always Sing” (MV 83)

“Let my spirit always sing, though my heart be wintering,
Though the season of despair give no sign that you are there,
God to whom my days belong, let there always be a song.

Though my body be confined, let your word engage my mind,
Let the inner eye discern how much more there is to learn,
See the world becoming whole through the window of the soul.

Let your wisdom grace my years, choose my words and chase my fears,
Give me wit to welcome change, to accept, and not estrange,
Let my joy be full and deep in the knowledge that I keep.

Let my spirit always sing, to your Spirit answering,
Through the silence, through the pain know my hope is not in vain,
Like a feather on your breath thrust your love, through life and death.”

Shirley Erana Murray wrote the words for this hymn in 1996.  It was set to music by Jan Marshall in 2005. Through the song Murray speaks the desire to continue to know God through all of the stages of life.  It is one of the few hymns that addresses aging and faith.

To learn more about Shirley Erena Murray, go to:  http://www.singingthefaithplus.org.uk/?p=11211

“God, Help Us to Treasure” (MV #147)

“God, help us to treasure these moments of myst’ry;
to hallow the Sacred in all that we do.

Throughout ev’ry season may we be your agents
of love, joy, and blessing as hearts are renewed.

God, help us to honour your presence among us
in newborn, in elder, in fam’ly in need.

By sharing with others we soon will discover
your kindness and loving in generous deeds.

God, help us to value each moment of wonder
when peace shall o’er-shadow our sorrow and pain.

In times shared at Table with all who are kindred,
may we find the healing to sing Love’s refrain.”

John Oldham wrote the text of this hymn in 1998.  It was set to music by Lori Erhardt in 1998 and arranged by Bruce Harding in 2006.  Oldham addresses the presence of God in and for all people and encourages us to be mindful of the presence of God in our lives.

“To Abraham and Sarah” (VU #634)

“To Abraham and Sarah the call of God was clear;  ‘Go forth and I will show you a country rich and fair.  You need not fear the journey for I have pledged my word:  that you shall be my people and I will be your God.’

From Abraham and Sarah arose a pilgrim race, dependent for their journey on God’s abundant grace;  and in their heart was written by God this saving word: ‘that you shall be my people and I will be your God.’

We of this generation on whom God’s hand is laid, can journey to the future secure and unafraid, rejoicing in God’s goodness and trusting in this word:  ‘that you shall be my people and I will be your God.’”

Judith Fetter wrote the words for this hymn in 1984.  It is based on the call of Abraham in the book of Genesis.   The text condenses the narrative of Genesis 17:1–22 and grounds it in the recurring statement of the covenant relationship between God and the people God has chosen.  Fetter has worked with United Church congregations in Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia, and, with her husband, she spent several years at a Methodist mission in northeast Brazil.    The melody, THORNBURY, was written by English organist and composer, Basil Harwood, in 1898 for the text at #274 in Voices United, “Your hand, O God, has guided.” 

Hear the melody on organ:

“I Rejoice”

Each and ev’ry day, as I go my way, I believe the Lord is at my side.
With ev’ry step I take, ev’ry choice I make, I will always let my Savior be my guide.
I can feel the joy that fills my soul, for I know God’s grace has made me whole.

I rejoice, I lift my voice to sing with joy and adoration.
I will raise my song of praise and share the love of Christ, my Savior and my King.

When I look around, in each sight and sound, I can find God’s love in all I see.
In all I do and say, living life each day, I am grateful for the gifts God gives to me.
I will use the talents I receive so the world will know that I believe.

I rejoice…

Come, Christian friends and sing.
Let your alleluias ring.
Join now, with voices strong,
Fill the world with joyful song.

Come, rejoice, and lift your voice to sing with joy and adoration.
Come and raise a song of praise and share the love of Christ, our Savior and our King.
Come, praise our King!”

This week’s anthem by Don Besig and Nancy Price was written in 2007.   The song includes original music as well as a small section using the melody from the hymn “Come, Christians, join to Sing.”   

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” (VU #288)

“Great is thy faithfulness, God our Creator;
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thyGreat is thy faithfulness faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, ever to me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,  sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Great is thy faithfulness!…
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow –wondrous the portion thy blessings provide.
Great is thy faithfulness!…

Thomas O. Chisholm, a Methodist minister,  wrote the poem in 1923 about God’s faithfulness over his lifetime.  William Runyan set the poem to music, and it was published that same year and became popular among church groups.  The song was exposed to wide audiences after becoming popular with Dr. William Henry Houghton of the Moody Bible Institute and Billy Graham who played the song frequently on his international crusades.  The version in Voices United is from the Hymnal of the Evangelical United Brethren (1957).

Listen to Chris Rice singing this hymn at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k1WhFtVp0o

Hear an instrumental version of the hymn at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoFJzsEF3ZM




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