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Music Notes, November 25, 2023

Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1. This Sunday we have come full circle when we celebrate the end of the Church Year and observe Christ the King Sunday. Jesus has fulfilled the prophecy of the ideal king serving as a true shepherd of his people, providing and protecting. In our gospel reading in Matthew, Jesus explains the role of the Son of Man ruling in love and rewarding those who have followed his teachings by loving and serving others.

 

Our Processional hymn will be All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! written by Rev. Edward Perronet (1721-1792). It is interesting that those who express the most eloquent praise are often the people we would deem the least likely to have the ability. Yet David, the adulterating, murdering, lying king of Israel wrote a good deal of the Psalms with beautiful language praising God. Likewise Perronet was a difficult person who would rather pick a fight over theology than display brotherly love. Though he was a minister of the Church of England he became a “dissenter” and found it difficult to be accepted even in the evangelical movement. (from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology 1907) The words both declare the majesty of Christ and task us with making that majesty known to all. (Hymnary.org)

 

For the Offertory, St. Martin’s Choir will sing a hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, O Jesus, You Were Born to Be (2008). The hymn was written at the request of gifted Christian Educator Don Griggs to be used for his study Gospel Portraits of Jesus. The 1 stanza is: O Jesus, you were born to be God’s gift to save humanity; And one great day we’re moving toward, All life will bow and call you Lord! Griggs says, “The hymn starts with the human name of Jesus which means “The Lord saves” (Matthew 1:21) and ends with a reference to one of the oldest Christian hymns which is found in Philippians 2:5-11: Every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This hymn is also found in Carolyn’s new book, God’s World is Changing, where she uses scriptures for Advent and writes hymns and meditations which reflect our changing world. In her Meditation for this hymn, she writes, “Jesus was called by many names and titles as he went about during his ministry…Jesus, Lord, Rabbi (Teacher), Master,  the Way (and the Truth and the Life), the Resurrection…All of these beautiful names, titles, and expressions for Jesus remind us of the wonderful love that God has shown to us in Jesus, God’s Son...No matter what names we use for Jesus or what verbs we use to describe what he did for us, in a changing world, we can find comfort and joy in the one who loves us unconditionally and brings us wholeness and salvation. In the words of the hymn, “You give us hope and make us new; How wondrous is our life in you!” (God’s World is Changing by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, 2022) “While Carolyn is a gifted poet and lyricist, her theological training and extensive pastoral experience shine through her hymns and meditations.” – The Rev. Charles Myers, Presbyterian minister and Emeritus Professor of Religious studies at Gettysburg College. Our Communion hymn, Whatever You Do , is also written by Gillette. She found inspiration for this hymn from Jesus’ teaching about the final judgment and call to compassion. It was taken from our Gospel reading in Matthew 25: “Whatever you do to the least ones of these, I tell you in truth that you do unto me!” Lord Jesus, you taught us! May we learn anew that when we serve others, we also serve you. It is sung to the tune, St. Denio, that we use for the hymn Immortal, Invisible God only wise. (carolynshymns.com)  

 

One of the most effective and simple costume changes is to put on a hat. When you walk off stage and return wearing a top hat, you are suddenly a different character. A “man of many hats’ is someone who can be a different person in various contexts. Our final hymn declares that we are to Crown him with many crowns , but this does not mean that Jesus is a “man of many hats”. Christ was not simply a prophet, he was not simply the carpenter’s son, and he was not simply human, nor simply divine. Rather, this call to “crown him with many crowns’ is a simple and yet profound declaration that Christ is everything. He is Lord of all, to be crowned for many things that all add up to Him being Savior of the world. Each crown represents a different aspect of who Christ is--Lord of life, Lord of love, Lord of years, Lord of heaven the Lamb upon the throne. Christ is King, Servant, lamb, Shepherd, and we celebrate this all-encompassing, paradoxical nature of our Savior by crowning Him Lord of all. (Hymnary.org)

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