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Notes on the Notes – October 9, 2016

This week’s theme:

What is Thankfulness?

This week’s scripture readings:

Deuteronomy 26:1-11              John 6:25-35

This week’s music:

“As Those of Old Their First-fruits Brought” (VU #518)


We open our worship today with this Thanksgiving hymn, from Ten New Stewardship Hymns (1961) by Frank von Christierson.  The tune, FOREST GREEN, is a traditional English fold tune arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the English Hymnal (1906).

“As those of old their first-fruits brought of vineyard, flock, and field
To God, the giver of all good, the source of bounteous yield;
So we today our first-fruits bring:  the wealth of this good land,
Of farm and market, shop and home, of mind and heart and hand.

A world in need now summons us to labour, love, and give,
To make our life an offering to God, that all may live.
The church of Christ is calling us to make the dream come true:
A world redeemed, by Christ-like love, all life in Christ made new.

With gratitude and humble trust we bring our best to you,
Not just to serve your cause, but share your love with neighbours too.
O God, who gave yourself to us in Jesus Christ, your son,
Help us to give ourselves each day until life’s work is done.”

Hear the song on organ at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVccvOzP9N4

“We Praise You, O God” (VU #218)

The title for our hymn book, Voices United,  comes from the third stanza of this hymn.  The words were written by Julia Cory in 1902 at the request of the organist, for a Thanksgiving service at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York.  The original 16th century text, known as the “Dutch Hymn of Thanksgiving,” was written in celebration of the release of the Netherlands from Spanish rule.  The melody, KREMSER, was arranged by the Viennese conductor Eduard Kremser from a tune published with the earlier text in a 17th-century collection of Dutch folk songs.

“We praise you, O God, our Redeemer, Creator;
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before you; we kneel and adore you;
We bless your holy name, glad praises we sing.

We worship you, God of our mothers and fathers,
Through trial and tempest, companion and guide.
When perils o’ertake us, you will not forsake us,
But faithful to your promise, you walk by our side.

With voices unied our praises we offer
And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
Our sins now confessing, we pray for your blessing,
To you, our great Redeemer, forever be praise!”

Hear the hymn played on organ at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPlPtJ0iZW8

“Give Thanks, My Soul, for Harvest” (VU #522)

“Give thanks, my soul, for harvest, for store of fruit and grain,
But know the owner gives so that we may share again.
Where people suffer hunger, or little children cry,
With gifts from God’s rich bounty may thankfulness reply.

Give thanks, my soul, for riches of woodland, mine, and hill,
But know that gold and timber are the Creator’s still.
God lends to us, as stewards, abundance we might share,
And thus provide earth’s children the blessing of God’s care.

Give thanks, my soul, for labours, that strength and days employ,
But know the Maker’s purpose brings toil as well as joy.
Show forth, O God, your purpose; direct our will and hand
To share your love and bounty with all in every land.”

This hymn was written in 1960 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the department of Stewardship and Benevolence of the National Council of Churches (USA).  As with other contemporary harvest expressions, the words draw our attention in the midst of celebration to the need for sharing of resources and care of the earth.

The words are set to the German tune, MUNICH, which was in use as early as the 16th century.  It was adapted by J.S. Bach for Cantatas 24 and 71, and by Felix Mendelssohn for his oratorio Elijah (1846).  The tune is also used for the hymn, “O Christ, the Word Incarnate” (VU #499).

Hear the melody on organ at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w30Q6jDKNZE

“Canon of Thanks”

thankful“Thank the Lord, O thank the Lord;
Let all the world rejoice as one.
O come, you thankful people, come;
Alleluia, alleluia.

Count your blessings one by one, and praise the work that God has done.
Rejoice and sing forevermore;
Alleluia, alleluia.”

This week’s anthem is an arrangement by Donald Moore of a popular traditional folksong. The theme of singing songs of love and thanksgiving for all of life’s many blessings is fitting for Thanksgiving Sunday.

“In the Spirit of Thanksgiving”

“In the spirit of thanksgiving, Lord, we bow our heads in prayer.
Let this time be the beginning, when we finally learn to share.
We are blessed to be a blessing. Fill our cup, Lord, with Your grace.
Overflowing with thanksgiving, truly living out our faith.”

The word’s for this week’s offering response are taken from the anthem of the same name, written by Joseph Martin.   The melody is the familiar tune, BEACH SPRING.

“The Lord’s Prayer” (VU #959)

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name;
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
Now and forever.”

This setting of the Lord’s Prayer was written by David Haas in 1986.

“Grateful” (MV #182)

Grateful for the life you give us, thankful for your Holy Son,
Joyful in your Spirit flowing over all, O God of Love.grateful snoopy
Grateful for the Bread of Heaven, thankful for your Holy Word,
Joyful in your mercy flowing, we will praise you.

You are more than we imagine, Ancient, Holy, Living Lord.
Even when we doubt your presence you are faithful to your Word.

May our lives proclaim your justice, may our voices sing your praise.
May our hands work in your service to the glory of your name.”

This song of thankfulness is by Tom Tomaszek (2003), author, composer, educator and liturgical musician.  His ministry began with teaching English at a public high school while serving as a parish musician and catechist. Those experiences led to 14 years of service to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s youth ministry office.  Later, Tom served as the director of the Artists and Repertoire at OCP. He holds a master’s in theological studies from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, and a master’s in education from the University of Wisconsin.

Hear the song sung by Tom Booth and Sara Hart at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz-wEa6DTV0

“For the Fruit of All Creation” (VU 227)   

For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit, thanks be to God.
For the wonders that astound us, for the truths that still confound us,
Most of all that love has found us, thanks be to God.

We will be using the third verse of this hymn of thanksgiving as our benediction response this week.   The closing words remind us that, of all the things we have to be thankful for, God’s love is the most precious and abiding.

The English Methodist cleric, poet, and hymn writer, Fred Pratt Green, wrote the text to provide a new harvest hymn (1970).  The text was modified into inclusive language for the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).  The revised text was published in “Songs for a Gospel People.”  It was set to the traditional Welsh tune AR HYD Y NOS (All through the night).  This melody was also arranged a s a hymn tune by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the music editor of The English Hymnal (1906).

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Categories: Notes on the Notes