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Notes on the Notes – September 16, 2018

This Week’s Theme:

“A Saviour That Understands Suffering”

This Week’s Readings:

Proverbs 1:20-33       Mark 8:27-38

This Week’s Music:

“This Day God Gives Me” (VU #410)

“This day God gives me strength of high heaven,
Sun and moon shining, flame in my hearth,
Flashing of lightning, wind in its swiftness,
Deeps of the ocean, firmness of earth.

This day God sends me strength to sustain me,
Might to uphold me, wisdom as guide.
Your eyes are watchful, your ears are listening,
Your lips are speaking, Friend at my side.

God’s way is my way, God’s shield is round me,
God’s host defends me, saving from ill.
Angels of heaven, drive from me always
All that would harm me, stand by me still.

Rising, I thank you, mighty and strong One,
King of creation, giver of rest,
Firmly confessing Threeness of Persons,
Oneness of Godhead, Trinity blest.”

The words for this hymn are an adaptation of “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” by James Quinn, a Scottish Jesuit priest, from his first published collection New Hymns for All Seasons (1969).  The original poem invokes God’s protection on a journey (either literal or the metaphorical “journey of life”) against all manner of evils.  It was dated as from the 8th century by modern experts and is traditionally attributed to St. Patrick. It is composed in the same style as pagan protection charms from Ireland, but with clearly Christian content.   The melody, BUNESSAN, is a traditional Gaelic melody first published in Lachlan MacBean’s Songs and Hymns of the Gael (1888).  Eleanor Farjeon wrote the lyrics for the words we are more familiar with – Morning Has Broken – in 1931.  The song gained huge popularity when it was recorded by Cat Stevens in 1971.

Hear a relaxing harp version of the song below:


“Open My Eyes” (VU #371)

“Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hand the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;
and while the wave-notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit Divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart and let me prepare love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!”

Clara H. Scott (1841-1897) provides us with a hymn of consecration that has been sung for over 100 years. The text of “Open My Eyes” was written in 1895 shortly before Scott’s death. Each stanza reveals an increasing receptiveness to the “Spirit divine.” Open eyes lead to “glimpses of truth.” Open ears lead to “voices of truth.” An open mouth leads to sharing the “warm truth everywhere.” An open heart leads to sharing “love to thy children.”

The image of open eyes is common in the Bible. In some cases, this is a sign of Christ’s healing power, as when Jesus gave sight to the blind man. Closed eyes, on the other hand, could be a metaphor for avoiding the truth.  The image of open ears is also significant in the biblical witness. Matthew often reprises the theme “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Closed ears become a metaphor for a lack of understanding. While the eyes and the ears are receptive organs, the mouth has the capacity to project. The mouth may project “cursing and deceit and fraud” (Psalm 10:7), or it may be an organ that projects praise, as Psalm 51:15 exhorts us: “O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.”

Sing along with the choir at First United Methodist Church in Valdosta, Georgia at: https://youtu.be/71jExPuxRBY

“Come and Seek the ways of Wisdom” (MV #10)

“Come and seek the ways of Wisdom, she who danced when earth was new.
Follow closely what she teaches, for her words are right and true.
Wisdom clears the path to justice, showing us what love must do.

Listen to the voice of Wisdom, crying in the marketplace.
Hear the Word made flesh among us, full of glory, truth, and grace.
When the word takes root and ripens, peace and righteousness embrace.

Sister Wisdom, come, assist us; nurture all who seek rebirth.
Spirit-guide and close companion, bring to light our sacred worth.
Free us to become your people, holy friends of God and earth.”

The words for this hymn were written by Ruth Duck in 1993.  She says, “In my sophomore Bible class at Rhodes College in Memphis, I learned about Lady Wisdom, an intriguing image of God found in Proverbs, Matthew, 1 Corinthians, and literature between the testaments.”   She created this hymn to attempt to express a trinitarian theology with this image. Sophia is the biblical Greek word for Wisdom, which is why Wisdom is often portrayed as female. In this hymn we see Wisdom as Creator, Word-with-us, and Spirit-guide.  The music is by Donna Kasbohm, a composer from the Twin Cities.

“Speak, O Lord”

“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You,
To receive the food of Your holy Word.
Take Your Truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness;
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us all Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail;
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds,
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity;
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises;
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, ’til Your church is built,
And the earth is filled with Your glory.”

This week’s anthem is by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty.  It has been arranged by Fred and Ruth Coleman and comes from the collection “In Christ Alone.”

Hear the original version at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my90e3a_nlM

“Lord, Speak to Me” (VU #589)

“Lord, speak to me that I may speak in living echoes of your tone;
As you have sought, so let me seek your straying children lost and lone.

O lead me, so that I may lead the wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, so that I may feed your hungering ones with manna sweet.

O teach me, so that I may teach the precious truths which you impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many a heart.

O fill me with your fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflows
In kindling though and glowing word, your love to tell, your praise to show.”

The words for this hymn, written by France Havergal, were based on Romans 14:7.  It was first published in a leaflet under the title “A Worker’s Prayer” (1874), referring to her work as an Evangelical lay leader in the Church of England.  The melody, WINSCOTT, was composed by Samuel; Sebastian Welsley (1872).

Hear the hymn used in worship at Strathroy United Church:

To Ponder:  If you were to keep score of words used at a meeting or gathering, which would score higher:  words of wisdom or words that wound?



Categories: Notes on the Notes