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Music Notes from Denise, October 28, 2023

This Sunday we are challenged by our Matthew 22 reading when Jesus expands our understanding of God and God’s commandments. When asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” The Processional hymn will be Thou, whose almighty word, written by John Marriott (1780-1825). He studied Christ Church in Oxford and later became curate of St. Lawrence in Exeter. According to his son this hymn was written about 1813 and was printed in The Friendly Visitor in 1825 under the title Missionary Hymn. (hymnary.org)


Our Sequence hymn will be O Spirit of Life, O Spirit of God which continues our recognition of our need for the Spirit to enliven us and show us how Jesus’ commandment can be incorporated into our lives. Originally written by Johann Niedling, it was translated by John C. Mattes (1876-1948). Mattes was educated at the Theological Seminary at Mount Airy, Philadelphia and became a professor of theology at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque Iowa. He translated several well known hymns from German to English such as Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming. The lovely tune, O heiliger Geist (often called O Jesulein Suss) is also commonly sung at Christmas as a lullaby with the text O Jesus so sweet, O Jesus so mild. (hymnary.org)


This Sunday, the choir will sing a moving anthem, Have You Heard God’s Voice?, arranged by Frederick Chatfield. Mr. Chatfield served as Director of Music and organist for Christ United Methodist Church in Kettering, Ohio until retirement. The original song was written in 2008 by Jacqui G Jones, a singer-songwriter originally from South Africa, but more recently from Westport, New Zealand. Jacqui is an accomplished worship leader and song writer of devotional songs to encourage, refresh, inspire and challenge the Body of Christ. (spiritualsongs.co.uk) 


“Have you heard God's voice; has your heart been stirred? Are you still prepared to follow? Have you made a choice to remain and serve, though the way be rough and narrow? Will you use your voice; will you not sit down when the multitudes are silent? Will you make a choice to stand your ground when the crowds are turning violent? Will you walk the path that will cost you much and embrace God's love and sorrow? Will you trust in One who entrusts to you the disciples of tomorrow? Will you watch the news with the eyes of faith and believe it could be different? Will you share your views using words of grace? Will you leave a thoughtful imprint? In your city streets will you be God's heart? Will you listen to the voiceless? Will you stop and eat, and when friendships start, will you share your faith with the faithless? We will walk the path that will cost us much and embrace God's love and sorrow? Will you trust in One who entrusts to you the disciples of tomorrow.  (2018 St. James Music Press License 11394)

Our Communion hymn, The Servant Song, was written by Richard Gillard in 1978. The eldest of six children, Gillard emigrated to New Zealand as a young boy. In a letter, he wrote, “I’ve had almost no formal musical training. I’m a self-taught guitarist and play mostly in a folk style.” He published this hymn in 1978 on a record album by Scripture in Song called Father Make Us One and has appeared in other publications including a song book entitled Songs of Praise which is widely used by New Zealand congregations. (DNAH Archives, hymnary.org)


The final hymn may be recognizable to some as the chorus of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, but the hymn in our blue hymnal is called Come with us, O blessed Jesus and was written by the Rev. John Henry Hopkins, Jr. (1820-1891). A man of many talents, he was much beloved as a scholar, writer, preacher, controvertialist, musician, poet, and artist, excelling in all that he did. Totally devoted to his parish people, he especially loved children and was kind to anyone in need. He was considered very down-to-earth. He delivered the eulogy at the funeral of President Ulysses S Grant in 1885. He was considered a great developer of hymnody in the Episcopal Church in the mid-19th century. (John Perry, hymnary.org)

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