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Music Notes from Denise, May 11, 2024

This Sunday will be the seventh Sunday of Easter when we also celebrate the Ascension of Jesus Christ. I took this photo of a painting of the Ascension that is hanging in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome showing the surprise and wonder of Jesus’ disciples.


Our Processional hymn, Hail the day that sees him rise, was written for this day by the great hymn-writer, Charles Wesley. The hymn elaborates on the royalty and sovereignty of the ascended Christ. The second stanza refers to one of the royal psalms: Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (


The Sequence hymn will be Loving Spirit by Shirley Erena Murray, the prolific New Zealand hymn writer. She has done a great deal to promote expanded images of the Divine; like Julian of Norwich, she writes of God as both Mother and Father. With sensitivity, she takes those metaphors even deeper, making basic connections between the Motherhood of God, the Incarnation of our Lord, the Eucharist, and the miracle of human birth. By the same token, the Fatherhood of God is clothed in tender images that redeem the idea of paternity in an age that affects to despise patriarchy. Murray herself says of this text, “This is a personal meditation, in simple form, on the images of God as known to us through human relationships. It was the first of my hymns to be widely accepted and has been used in many different ways.” (Voices Found hymnal supplement Leaders Guide, 2004 Church Publishing)


The Offertory will be The Word of Life arranged by Joel Raney with words by John Bell. The tune is a lively Irish folk tune, Wild Mountain Thyme, paired with a text that tells the story of Jesus’ life from birth to his death and resurrection. Jesus is often called the WORD (or the Greek LOGOS) which is the divine principle that God revealed God’s personal message to us through Jesus. In a byre near Bethlehem, passed by many a wandering stranger, the most precious Word of Life was heard gurgling in a manger…By the Galilean lake where the people flocked for teaching, the most precious Word of Life fed their mouths as well as preaching…Quiet was Gethsemane, camouflaging priest and soldier; the most precious Word of Life took the world’s weight on his shoulder…On the hill of Calvary, place to end all hope of living, the most precious Word of Life breathed his last and died forgiving…In a garden just at dawn, near the grave of human violence, the most precious Word of Life cleared his throat and ended silence, for the good of us all. And he’s here when we call him, bringing health, love, and laughter to life now and ever after, for the good of us all. There will also be a lovely flute played by Charlotte Elsensohn. (Text 1987, Iona Community; music arrangement 2017 Hope Publishing Co.)


In honor of Mother’s Day, the Chapel Choir will play melody bells to accompany the Spiritual, He’s got the whole world in his hands. We’ve learned many skills in our music time each week of Children’s Chapel, and we’re concluding with bells played in chords to accompany a familiar song. Our Communion voluntary will be a beautiful French lullaby, Berceuse, composed by Philippe Gaubert, and played on the flute by Charlotte Elsensohn. Charlotte is a junior at Parkway Central High School and is a part of their Symphonic Band. She has been playing flute for 6 years now, and is excited to share her talent! When she is not playing the flute, she enjoys crocheting, singing, and acting. She would like to thank her family for allowing her to grow, especially her aunt, whose flutes Charlotte has used all these years. She hopes you enjoy the music!


Our final hymn will be Alleluia! Sing to Jesus! In this glorious hymn, author William C. Dix invites us to sing a new song of praise to our ascended Savior. The tune, Hyfrydol (meaning “tuneful” or “pleasant”) is one of the most loved Welsh hymn tunes and was composed by Rowland Hugh Prichard in 1830 when he was only 19.  This hymn is a declaration of Jesus’ victory over death, and his continued presence among us. When a friend moves away or leaves us for a long time, our first response is to feel sad and lonely. In this hymn; however, Dix reminds us that though Christ physically left the earth in the Ascension, he does not leave us “as orphans”, but rather remains with us always, all the while interceding for us to God. And so we raise our voices to cry “Alleluia!” to the ascended, yet ever-present Christ.  (

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As we prepare for Bishop Deon’s visitation with us on July 7, we are eager to prepare those who seek baptism and those who seek confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church. Please contact Moth


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