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Music Notes from Denise, April 27, 2024

This Sunday will be the fifth Sunday of Easter when we continue to read about Jesus’ teaching with his disciples. In John 15, he says “Abide in me as I abide in you...I am the vine, you are the branches.” In our Epistle reading in 1st John 4, we read God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them…those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. Our Processional hymn reflects this with Charles Wesley’s awe-inspiring hymn, Love divine, all loves excelling. It was written as a prayer: Through the incarnated Christ, we pray for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and ask that we would never be separated from the love of God in Christ, who works in us and through us until our time on earth is done. (


Our Sequence hymn also centers on love: The Gift of Love was written by Hal H. Hopson in 1972. Hopson is a full time composer and church music clinician residing in Dallas, Texas. This is one of his most popular compositions. (


We have guest musicians this Sunday. A treble ensemble of sophomores, juniors and seniors from Parkway Central High School will join us. They are singing a song that won high honors at State Solo & Ensemble festival this past week. Jordan’s Angels was written by Rollo Dilworth in 2002. It tells the story of a child who receives comfort from a vision of being surrounded by a “band of angels”. Written in a “testifying” style, the lyrics are as follows: Lookin’ out over Jordan, all I could see: a band of angels coming’ after me. Gabriel was playin’ the trumpet, David was playin’ the harp. Someday my soul shall be free, I shall be free. Similar to the water images found in other spirituals, the Jordan River symbolically represents safety, peace, and freedom. It is believed that slaves often made references to water when they sang if a planned escape was to include crossing a creek or river as a means of covering up a trail. Quoting the spiritual All Night, All Day (angels watchin’ over me my Lord) the middle section of the piece includes traditional call and response patterns. The “special chorus” is written in a layered fashion commonly found in the African-American gospel tradition. (2002 Hal Leonard Corporation)


During communion, one of our sophomore students, Kiera Anderson-Pittman, will sing O Rest in the Lord from Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah, and is based on Psalm 37.  O rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desires. Commit thy way unto Him, and trust in Him, and fret not thyself because of evil doers. O rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him.


Our final hymn will be Brian Wren’s I come with joy to meet my Lord. Wren, (b. 1936), explained that he wrote this text as a post-sermon hymn to help illustrate the presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. He wanted to express this as simply as possible, in a way that would take the worshipper from the usual individualistic approach to communion to an understanding of its essential corporateness. The text progresses from themes of remembrance, of sharing the bread and wine in communion with the saints and with Christ in his presence, and of Christian service, but the prevailing tone is one of joy and praise. (Psalter Hymnal Handbook,

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