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Music Notes from Denise, April 13, 2024


This Sunday will be the third Sunday of Easter when we read about Jesus dining with his disciples in Luke 24. I notice many TV shows and movies fixated on “Ghosts” these days, and I found it interesting that Jesus ate some of the disciples’ fish to prove to them that he was resurrected and alive and not a ghost! His message was for them to become a part of God’s kingdom by proclaiming his name and witnessing to all people that they encountered. Faith comes with a commission: belief in the resurrection means that the disciples must now be witnesses of the Gospel to the whole world. My music selections center around the idea of a shared meal with Jesus where we are all invited to partake. I’ve attached a photo that I took in Venice of part of a large wall mural of Jesus dining with many people from all walks of life.

 

Our Processional hymn will be Come, ye faithful, raise the strain. Greek poet John of Damascus (675-754) wrote canons for the major festivals of the church year. This text is John’s first ode from the canon for the Easter season, inspired by the Song of Moses in Exodus 15. One of the last of the Greek fathers, John became a great theologian in the Eastern church. The canon demonstrated how Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection. Song of Moses was used as a metaphor for Christ’s delivery of his people from slavery of sin and death, as used in stanza 1. Stanza 2 uses images of spring and sunshine as metaphors for the new life and light of Christ. (Psalter Hymnal Handbook, Hymnary.org)

 

For the offertory, St. Martin’s choir will sing the communion hymn, In Remembrance, by Ragan Courtney and Buryl Red. Courtney provides the context for the text: I wrote “In Remembrance” as a song to sing during the acting out of the last supper…I was a relatively new Christian, and all of my writings were erupting out of my newfound relationship with the Lord. I remember being concerned that the lyric was just a trifle and not at all up to the occasion. Then I heard Buryl’s setting and I wept. His composition ennobled the words. (Paul Hammond, Handbook to the Baptist Hymnal, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992) The hymn goes as: In remembrance of me, eat this bread…drink this wine…pray for the time when God’s own will is done…heal the sick…feed the poor…open the door and let your brother in. In remembrance of me search for truth…always love…don’t look above, but in your heart look for God. (1972 Broadman Press/Van Ness Press, Inc.) We will also sing the well-loved spiritual, Let us break bread together, as another song about sharing a meal as God’s family.

 

Our final hymn, That Easter Day with joy was bright, was written by John M. Neale (1818-1866) whose life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly temperament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. (Hymnary.org) The hymn describes the Luke 24 story about Jesus meeting with his disciples, showing them his wounded hands and feet. Both the disciples and our response is: All praise, O risen Lord, we give to thee, who, dead, again dost live; to God the Father equal praise, and God the Holy Ghost, we raise!

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