Notes on the Notes – September 8, 2019
“All Creation Molded by God”
This week’s scripture readings:
Jeremiah 18:1-11 Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24 Luke 14:25-33
This week’s music:
“In the Dawn of the Ages”
“In the dawn of the ages God created the earth.
Ev’ry living creature found in God its birth,
From the birds in the sky to the deer in the wood.
She looked all around and she said, “It is good.”
In the dew of the morning with her work almost done,
The Creator said at rising of the sun,
“Only one thing is lacking from earth far and wide:
The children of earth living here by my side.”
So she reached down and gathered up the clay in her hand,
And she shaped and formed a woman and a man.
Then she breathed into each her own life-giving soul.
She gave each a longing to love and be whole.
One God, Creator of us all,
In you we find our life and call.
Great Spirit and source of birth,
We praise your name in all the earth.“
This hymn was written by Ruth Duck in 1974 and revised in 1996. The language offers an alternate view of God the Creator as a female essence, similar to the language we see in writings referencing Wisdom. The words are a retelling of the creation story from the book of Genesis. The tune is the 19th century Shaker melody, SIMPLE GIFTS, which has also been adapted for the hymn “Lord of the Dance.”
“As a Fire is Meant for Burning” (VU #578)
“As a fire is meant for burning with a bright and warming flame,
So the church is meant for mission, giving glory to God’s name.
Not to preach our creeds or customs, but to build a bridge of care,
We join hands across the nations, finding neighbours everywhere.
We are learners; we are teachers; we are pilgrims on the way.
We are seekers; we are givers; we are vessels made of clay.
By our gentle, loving actions, we would show that Christ is light.
In a humble, listening Spirit, we would live to God’s delight.
As a green bud in the springtime is a sign of life renewed,
So may we be signs of oneness mid earth’s peoples, many-hued.
As a rainbow lights the heavens when a storm is past and gone,
May our lives reflect the radiance of God’s new and glorious dawn.”
Ruth Duck wrote this hymn after her visit in 1982 to United Church of Christ missions in Turkey. The first line is a paraphrase from the writings of Emil Brunner. The tune, JOYOUS LIGHT, is by Marty Haugen, an American Roman Catholic song writer (1987).
Hear the hymn at: https://youtu.be/VrrohN2j-ns
“Creator God You Gave Us Life” (MV #27)
“Creator God you gave us life, your image formed within our souls,
Yet through the mist of time and space, we search for that which makes us whole.
In every flower and every tree, we see your great diversity,
Yet greater still we see your love, expressed in our humanity.
When with our hearts, our hands, our minds, we share our gifts with all the world,
Our spirits soar beyond the veil, to touch the very face of God.
Through hands that paint majestic skies, and voices chanting melody,
With words that reach beyond the page, we comprehend your mystery.”
Both the tune and text of this hymn were written by Judith Snowdon in 2004. Judith Snowdon was born in England but completed her formal music education in Canada at Canadian Mennonite University and the University of Winnipeg. The lyrics are a reminder that when we open ourselves to truly look at the many facets of Creation, we are able to see God’s touch everywhere and in everyone.
“Lord, I come to You today with a simple prayer to pray.
In ev’rything I do, let my life, oh Lord, praise You.
Praise You, praise You;
Let my life praise You.
Praise You, praise You,
Let my life, O Lord, praise You.
Lord, You formed me out of clay.
And for Your glory I was made.
Use this vessel as You choose.
Let my life, oh Lord, praise You.
This simple song by Wayne and Elizabeth Goodine is a humble prayer that all of our actions be in praise to God. It was written in 1993.
“For Beauty of Prairies” (VU #303)
“For beauty of prairies, for grandeur of trees,
For flowers of woodlands, for creatures of seas,
For all you created and gave us to share,
We praise you, Creator, extolling your care.
As stewards of beauty received at your hand,
As creatures who hear your most urgent command,
We turn from our wasteful destruction of life,
Confessing our failures, confessing our strife.
Teach us once again to be gardeners in peace;
All nature around us is ours but on lease;
Your name we would hallow in all that we do,
Fulfilling our calling, creating with you.”
This hymn reminds us of our sacred role as stewards in caring for God’s creation. The words were written by Walter Farquharson in 1966 (one of his first hymns), and set to a tune by Healey Willan (1927).