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Notes on the Notes – October 5, 2014

World wide communionThis week’s theme:  Christians in Syria – Remaining Faithful Against All Odds


Click to enlarge photo – Syria Ethno-religious composition

Scripture: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20

This week’s music:

God of Freedom, God of Justice (Voices United #700)

“God of freedom, God of justice, you whose love is strong as death, you who saw the dark of prison, you who knew the price of faith:  touch our world of sad oppression with your Spirit’s healing breath.

Rid the earth of torture’s terror, you whose hands were nailed to wood; hear the cries of pain and protest, you who shed the tears and blood:  move in us the power of pity restless for the common good.

Make in us a captive conscience quick to hear, to act, to plead;  make us truly sisters, brothers of whatever race or creed:  teach us to be fully human, open to each other’s need.”

Shirley Erena Murray wrote this hymn in 1980 for a Prisoners of Conscience service held in support of Amnesty International’s Campaign Against Torture.

The melody of the hymn, PICARDY comes from a 17th century French carol.   Its name comes from the province of France from where it is thought to originate. The tune dates back at least to the 17th century, and was originally used for the folk song “Jésus-Christ s’habille en pauvre”. First published in the 1848 collection Chansons popularies des provences de France, “Picardy” was most famously arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906 for the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, in The English Hymnal, the words of which are taken from the Byzantine Greek Liturgy of St. James.   The words are an ancient chant of Eucharistic devotion based on words from Habakkuk 2:20, “Let all the earth keep silence before him”.  The original was composed in Greek as a Cherubic Hymn for the Offertory of the Divine Liturgy of St James; it probably antedates the rest of the liturgy and goes back at least to 275 CE, with local churches adopting arrangements in Syriac.  In addition, Gustav Holst used the hymn in his “3 Festival Choruses” Op. 36a.

 Hear the tune with the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EApd6omsoA0&index=11&list=PLB475D38EF9481800

Watch a handbell solo/string ensemble performance of the melody at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayXd5M0Cxx8

Prayer for Today

“God in heaven, I make my prayer for all the people everywhere who live in fear or pain or doubt; whose homes are gone, and hopes run out.

God in heaven, I make my prayer for all the children everywhere who live in terrible, warring places; who live with hunger and strange, sad faces.

God in heaven, I make my prayer for all good people everywhere who live in comfort, love, and peace and pray sincerely for strife to cease; but who do not always hear the call of those who live with nothing at all.

God in heaven, hear my prayer!  Help all people everywhere to come closer together in plenty and need, and to make our world your home, indeed.

The words for this week’s anthem are by Mary M. Coulson.  They were set to music by Margaret R. Tucker and arranged for choir by Michael Kemp (1986).

One Bread, One Body (VU #467) –  John B. Foley is a theologian, musician, and Jesuit priest who has written new music for the Catholic liturgy.  This hymn is based on I Corinthians 10:16-17 and speaks of the unity of the people of God.   Hear the song at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6xIdDYiA9A

One bread, One Body

“One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless; and we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.

Gentil or Jew, servant or free, woman or man, no more.

Many the gifts, many the works, one in the Lord of all.

Grain for the fields, scattered and grown, gathered to one, for all.”

Communion Setting A (VU #932-933) – The Eucharistic liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church originated with the Liturgy of St. James, the brother of Jesus.  It is thought to be the oldest in Christendom, having been used in Jerusalem in the earliest days of Christianity.   The sung communion setting we will be using today was composed by Marty Haugen.  It is comprised of 4 sections:

The Kyrie – “Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.”

communion table

The Sanctus and Benedictus – “Holy, holy, holy are you, God of power and might; heaven and earth are filled with your glory.  Hosanna in the highest!  Blessed is the one who comes in your name.  Hosanna in the highest, hosanna in the highest!”incense

The Memorial Acclamation – “Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come, come again.”


The Great Amen – “Amen.”

syrian communion

In Christ There is No East or West (VU #606)

“In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north, but one great family of love throughout the whole wide earth.

In him shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find;  his service is the golden cord close binding humankind.

Join hands, then, people of the faith, whate’er your race may be;  all children of the living God are surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both east and west, in him meet south and north;  all Christ-like souls are one in him throughout the whole wide earth.”

The words of this hymn come from The Pageant of Darkness and Light (1908), a musical production of the London Missionary Society.  A revised version was made for Songs for a Gospel People (1987).  In Voices United, the words are set to the tune, MCKEE.   It is an arrangement by Harry T. Burleigh of a tune sung by the Fisk University choir in the 1880s.   Over the century since it was first written, the focus of this hymn has shifted from world missions in the early 20th century to a great hymn of Christian unity for the 21st-century church.  Hear the hymn  at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9TuT1FyPUQ

In Christ there is no east or west

To learn more about the United Church’s efforts in Syria, go to:  http://www.united-church.ca/search?cse=syria

To read this month’s article about the exodus from Syria in the United Church Observer, go to:  http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2014/10/exodus/ 

One world





Categories: Notes on the Notes, Sunday Bulletin and Announcements, Worship