Notes on the Notes – March 22, 2020
The Edge of Darkness
This Week’s music:
“Take Time to Be Holy” (VU #672)
“Take time to be holy, speak oft with your Lord;
Abide in him always, and feed on his word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, let him be your guide,
And run not before him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in his word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in your soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath his control.
Thus led by his spirit to fountains of love,
You soon shall be fitted for service above.”
William D. Longstaff, an English businessman, wrote this hymn at an annual Keswick Convention in response to an account of the work of Griffith Jones, a missionary in China who was reported to have been preaching on the subject of holiness. The Keswick Convention, which has met annually since 1875, is a gathering of evangelical Christians in Keswick, in the English county of Cumbria. The composer, George C. Stebbins, wrote the tune while working on an evangelical campaign in India; it was published in 1890.
Hear the Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFApbg-wcmE
Lenten Response (VU #121)
“Give us eyes to see you clearly,
Make us children of your light;
Give us hearts to live more nearly
As your gospel shining bright,
As your gospel shining bright.
Gentle Jesus, mighty Spirit,
Come inflame our hearts anew,
May we all your joy inherit
If we bear the cross with you,
If we bear the cross with you.”
Each week during the season of Lent, we will be using selected verses of the hymn “Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery,” written by Marty Haugen (1984).
“Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness”
“Praise the One who breaks the darkness with a liberating light;
Praise the One who frees the pris’ners, turning blindness into sight.
Praise the One who preached the gospel, healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands with the very bread of peace.
Praise the One who blessed the children with a strong yet gentle word;
Praise the One who drove our demons with a piercing, two-edged sword.
Praise the One who brings cool water to the desert’s burning sand;
From this well comes living water quenching thirst in ev’ry land.
Praise the One true love incarnate: Christ, who suffered in our place;
Jesus died and rose for many that we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness, seeing what our God has done.
Praise the one redeeming glory; praise the One who makes us one.”
Our opening hymn, with text by Rusty Edwards, is a song of praise to Jesus. The words tell the story of Jesus’ life and ministry. The tune is NETTLETON.
Hear the tune at: https://youtu.be/foDEvvseCBw
“Amazing Grace” (VU #266)
“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. 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 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. It is estimated that “Amazing Grace” 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
See the Soweto Gospel Choir at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmMOnbTch5I
See Celtic Women at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsCp5LG_zNE
“We are Pilgrims (The Servant Song)” (VU #595)
“We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow travellers on the road;
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
Sister, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow, till we’ve seen this journey through.
Brother, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.”
This hymn, written in 1974 by Richard Gillard, was first published in Songs of the Kingdom (1977).
Hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdmgpMfnjdU
“May the Grace of Christ”
“May the grace of Christ attend us,
And the love of God surround,
And the Holy Spirit keep us
Now and ever, always.
Amen, amen, forever and ever,
Our benediction response was written by Jeeva Sam, a United Church minister, in 1987.