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Music Notes from Denise, May 4, 2024

This Sunday will be the sixth Sunday of Easter when we read in John 15 the words of Jesus: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” In our Psalm 98, we read Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing. Our Processional hymn will be All creatures of our God and King, based on the writings of St. Francis of Assisi. As we sing this hymn, we join with Christians throughout the ages to sing our praises to God the Creator. This is our call and our invitation, and now, using the words God has given us through the voice of a Saint, we answer that invitation with a joyful “Alleluia!”

 

Our Sequence hymn, In Christ there is no East or Westwas adapted by Harry T. Burleigh from the spiritual “I know the angel’s done changed my name”.  The tune, which was originally an Irish tune that was adopted by African American slaves, was named McKee in honor of Elmer M. McKee, the rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church, New York City, where Burleigh sang for over 50 years. It was adapted to John Oxenham’s poem, becoming an emphatic statement of Christian unity, and illustrates Galatians 3:28: ‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ.” Let these words find a place in each of our hearts as we consider how to follow Christ’s call to seek justice for all.

 

Our St. Martin’s Hand Bell Choir will play for a final time this spring: All Things Bright and Beautiful, arranged by Susan Geschke. Dr. Geschke is an American composer and arranger of handbell music. She actively composes and arranges handbell music and has more than 100 publications ranging from original pieces to traditional to contemporary styles of music. (hopepublishing.com) She wrote the following about this piece:“As I watched my young boys joyfully bounce around the house, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this song’s words: All creatures great and small…the Lord God made them all! I arranged this song in thankful praise to God for those two little blessings. I’ve always loved this English melody! My hope is that the eight-measure introduction/interlude will help you see the beauty of God’s creation. As I worked on those measures, I imagined I was standing in the early morning English countryside—dawn’s pale light just beginning to flood the sky—its soft rosy glow dispersing the night. Warm, yet playful. Can you feel it? (Brian Childers, E-Notes 11/2019, handbellmusicians.org)

 

The final hymn is one that was written a few days ago by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, O God, within the Psalms.  She was inspired by the 23rd Psalm and the Gospel reading in John 10 that we had on April 21st, with the biblical images of God’s creation juxtaposed with the concern for the climate crisis. The stanza about the “earth cries out through storm and drought” is evident in our recent news, with March 2024 ranking as the warmest March in the planet’s climate record. This hymn calls us to follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another and one way of achieving this is to take better care of our world for each other and future generations.

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