Notes on the Notes – March 10, 2013
Readings: Psalm 32, 2 Corintians 5:16-21
This week’s music:
“Come Just as You Are” – This song, by contemporary Christian song-writer, Crystal Lewis, reminds us that all are welcome before God. Watch a 4 minute video meditation on this idea at: Come Just As You Are
“Bless the Lord” (MV #46) – This song, based on Psalm 103, was “accidentally” written by a youth group praise band in 1994. To read the full story, go to http://www.spiritandsong.com/articles/14195. To hear the song go to, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1iMlNH8VG4
“How Great Thou Art” (VU #238) – The hymn How Great Thou Art traveled a long road before it ended up a favorite addition to English hymnals. The original version was a poem written by a Swedish pastor, Reverend Carl Boberg in 1886, and entitled O Stor Gud. The author, Carl Boberg himself gave the following information about the inspiration behind his poem. “It was that time of year when everything seemed to be in its richest colouring; the birds were singing in trees and everywhere. It was very warm; a thunderstorm appeared on the horizon and soon thunder and lightning. We had to hurry to shelter. But the storm was soon over and the clear sky appeared. When I came home I opened my window toward the sea. There evidently had been a funeral and the bells were playing the tune of ‘When eternity’s clock calling my saved soul to its Sabbath rest.’ That evening, I wrote the song, ‘O Store Gud.'” Boberg published the poem in his periodical Sanningsvittnet. Several years later he was surprised and delighted to hear his poem being sung by a church congregation, to the tune of an old Swedish folk melody.
Boberg’s poem was soon thereafter translated into German by Manfred von Glehn, who entitled it Wie gross bist Du. In 1925, an American Reverend E. Gustav Johnson translated the Swedish poem into an English version that is somewhat different than the one popular today. In 1927, I.S. Prokanoff translated Glehn’s German version into Russian, to be enjoyed by that culture also. Throughout all of these translations, the original Swedish folk tune remained the same.
In 1933, English missionaries to the Ukraine, Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine heard the song for the first time, fell in love with it and sang it often throughout their missionary journeys. As they traveled the Carpathian Mountains, the couple was inspired by the incredible beauty to translate the first three verses of the song into English. When WWII broke out in 1939, the Hines returned to England carrying How Great Thou Art to its new home. After the war they wrote the fourth verse and arranged the original Swedish folk tune to be published in English hymnals.
In the 1950s, the song was copyrighted and widely published in America, becoming more and more popular. When George Beverly Shea and the Billy Graham gospel choir, directed by Cliff Barrows, began to sing the song at virtually every crusade event, How Great Thou Art soon became one of the most recognized songs around the world. It was also recorded by several popular artists, including Elvis Presley. A poll conducted by the Christian Herald magazine in 1974 named How Great Thou Art the most popular hymn in America. In Britain, it runs a close second to Amazing Grace. (source: Share Faith website)
Here are a variety of interpretations of this much-loved hymn:
George Beverly Shea singing on one of Billy Graham’s Crusades in 1969: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsrEscUUNMA
George Beverly Shea singing in later years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FILs1qiVA
For Elvis fans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf0vJiyeLIo
For Statler Brothers fans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2YCGhh1bAg
Contemporary Christian version by Paul Baloche – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXdP8tGLOOE
“How Beautiful” – Today we will be singing an anthem version of Twila Paris’s 1990 hit song “How Beautiful.” This arrangement, by Benjamin Harlan also incorporates the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” which was written by Isaac Watts, and published in Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707.
“God is in Control” – By Mark Cole, worship pastor at Eastside City Church in Calgary. Mark loves to develop worship teams and lead people into the Presence of God. He has a passion for introducing people to God at home and abroad and has travelled to over 60 countries. Mark is a Music Producer and Arranger and has done over 16 music and worship recordings for various artists, churches and ministries, including five of his own worship CD’s. Mark is also the founding arranger for praisecharts.com which supplies music arrangements, charts and songs to thousands of churches.
“God Will Make a Way” – by Don Moen. Go to http://www.donmoenandfriends.org/donmoen-god-will-make-a-way/ to read the composer’s story about this meaningful song.
“Lead Us Out” – This song was written by Michael Schmid for the new vision statement of the congregation that he serves, St. John’s Lutheran Chruch in Napa, CA. He says, “The three parts of the Vision (Lead us up, lead us in, lead us out) refer to God’s call to be in growing relationships with Himself, other followers of Jesus, and the world that we’re trying to reach. Of ultimate importance is God’s mission through the church. In that sense, He leads us up and in so that He might lead us out.
This is a prayer for individuals as well as the church. It is my prayer that Christ answer this prayer in the lives of all His followers, as He leads us into His world.”