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Music Notes from Denise, June 8, 2024

This Sunday we will respond to the knowledge of God’s grace as we read in 2 Corinthians 4: Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God…for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal…For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This Sunday we will also be so fortunate to have our former Music Director Clay McKinney’s and Julia Sakharova’s oldest son, Nicolai McKinney playing several pieces for us on the piano! He has been studying piano for several years now and has won numerous awards. We look forward to hearing him play the Offertory this week.

 

Our Processional hymn will be How wondrous and great thy works, and was written by Henry Ustick Onderdonk (1789-1827). Having decided to devote his life to medicine, he studied first in London and then in Edinburgh, receiving his M.D. from that university in 1810. Returning to New York, he began to study theology under Bishop Hobart and was ordained in 1815. He was rector of St. Ann's, Brooklyn, until 1827 when, following a famous controversy, he was elected bishop coadjutor of Pennsylvania, becoming diocesan in 1836 upon the death of Bishop White. He, with W.A. Muhlenberg, q.v., was influential on the committee appointed by General Convention to prepare the so-called Prayer Book Collection, 1826. The two men were also instrumental in the publication of the volume known as Plain Music for the Book of Common Prayer, in 1854. These books served until the Hymnal of 1874. Although some metrical psalms were included in the Prayer Book Collection, the book marked the change in America from psalmody to hymnody. Onderdonk contributed nine hymns, of which only this one survives. --The Hymnal 1940 Companion

 

Our Sequence hymn will be My faith looks up to thee. Ray Palmer (1808-1887) wrote these words while employed as a teacher at a private girls' school in New York. He had experienced a difficult year of illness and loneliness and was inspired to write this verse one night after meditating on a German poem that depicted a sinner kneeling before the cross of Christ. He later stated, "The words for these stanzas were born out of my own soul with very little effort. I recall that 1 wrote the verses with tender emotion…When writing the last line, "O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!" the thought that the whole work of redemption and salvation was involved in those words… brought me to a degree of emotion that brought abundant tears.” This hymn was written as a personal response to the realization of what Christ meant to the author. It is a prayer, acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the only source of forgiveness, love, comfort, and salvation. (hymnary.org)

 

Our final hymn will be God of grace and God of glory. Harry E. Fosdick was a well-known and controversial preacher in the early twentieth century. After Fosdick left his position at one church, John D. Rockefeller asked him to become pastor of Park Avenue Baptist Church in New York City, but Fosdick thought the church was too wealthy, and agreed only on condition that a new church would be built in a less fashionable place. The site selected for Riverside Church was on the banks of the Hudson, not far from Harlem. Fosdick wrote this hymn at his summer home in Maine in 1930 for the opening service of Riverside Church that fall. This hymn is a prayer for God's help for the church to live in God's power and love with generosity and progress toward social justice. The hymn tune CWM Rhondda is a well-known Welsh tune. It was written in 1907 by John Hughes, a Welshman who spent most of his life as a railway worker. The tune name literally means “Rhondda valley,” after the Rhondda River that flows through a coal-mining district of Wales. This tune has great vigor, and was at first circulated only in leaflet form because hymnal editors considered it too vigorous to be a proper hymn tune. (hymnary.org)

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Music Notes from Denise, May 31, 2024

This Sunday we will begin our post-Pentecost focus on Jesus and his encounters with people around him, teaching them how their pre-conceived notions and expectations don’t always fit into the kingdom

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