Monthly Archives: April 2014

“I Come With Joy”


Easter 2014
Some of you readers may be surprised to learn that our celebration of Easter continues for seven weeks – right up to Pentecost! In this Sunday’s gospel lesson, Jesus again appears to his friends, “opening the scriptures” to them. While they are breaking bread together, the disciples’ eyes are (finally!) opened, and they “recognize him.” (Luke 24)

As we disciples celebrate communion, we will sing Hymn 507, “I come with joy to meet my Lord.” Notice the scriptural references in the text by Brian Wren:


  • Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
  • Eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Cor 11:28
  • So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but …members of the household of God. Eph 2:19
  • My soul shall be joyful in the Lord . Ps 35:9


I come with joy to meet my Lord, forgiven, loved, and free,
in awe and wonder to recall his life laid down for me.

I come with Christians far and near to find, as all are fed,
the new community of love in Christ’s communion bread.

As Christ breaks bread and bids us share, each proud division ends.
That love that made us makes us one, and strangers now are friends.

And thus with joy we meet our Lord. His presence, always near,
is in such friendship better known: we see and praise him here.

Together met, together bound, we’ll go our different ways,
and as his people in the world, we’ll live and speak his praise.


Brian Wren (b. 1936) is a writer, preacher, worship and workshop leader, and internationally published hymn-poet, with entries in most recent denominational hymnals in North America, Britain and Australia. Some of his hymn-poems have been translated into Finnish, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Korean.

The tune, DOVE OF PEACE, is from Walker’s Southern Harmony, 1835, and appears in 22 hymnals.


Happy Easter!







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Christ is Risen! Singing Our Alleluias



Our celebration of resurrection was filled with excitement and power!


Thank you, Chancel Ringers,

for your outstanding ringing of “Now the Green Blade Riseth,”
a thrilling beginning to our Easter celebration.

Mary Ellen Absetz, Wanda Baddley, Glyna Brooks, June Gladding, Lynn Garner,
Nancy Irwin, Janet Lough, Anne Scroggs, Marge Sielinski, Carolyn Tate, Lois Wenzell


Thank you, congregation & James Sayen, trumpet,

for your soaring and spirited Easter hymns.


Thank you, choir and instrumentalists,

for your passionate and moving music offering, and for your hard work and dedication.

Kim Cameron, Marilyn Dorn, Sue Ferguson, Bill Gilchrist, SuJin John, Jay Lough, Geoff McLean,
Shirley Moore, Anne Scroggs, Tom Shaw, Marge Sielinski, Taylor Sielenski, Betsy Stagno,
Charles Thies, Howell Thomas, Eric Westrate, Sandy Williams
Carolynn Baer, flute; June Gladding, percussion; Kenneth Law, cello; Casey MacLean, violin;
Marvel Onga Nana, viola; Joe Sayen, trumpet; Carolyn Tate, percussion; Stephanie Twedt, viola;
Rachel Sarrano Winograd, piano, Meredith Kane, assisting


Thank you, “Followers of the Lamb,”

for your sensitive readings and narration.

Rich McFadden, Sheila McLean, Mark Murphy, Nyambi Nyambi, Michael Twedt, Susie Twedt

Thank you, God, for the gift of your son,

our savior!  Alleluia!












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Holy Week Music


Music and Meditation


Our music this week reflects Jesus’ last days, from his dramatic entry into Jerusalem, to his somewhat unsuccessful attempt at the Last Supper to tell the disciples what is happening, to those same disciples’ disappointing lethargy in the Garden, and finally to Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion.  Music can help us to “think on these things.”


Palm Sunday

The Children’s Choir sang “Hosanna to the Lord” under the masterful direction of June Gladding and Anne Scroggs.  The bell choir added excitement to this palm processional.


Meditation: Why were the people so excited to see a man riding into Jerusalem on a donkey?


Maundy Thursday

Jay Lough plays “Wondrous Love” on the psaltery.


Meditation: What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the heavy cross for my soul?”


Geoff McLean sings “The Table of Grace.”


Meditation: Remember the gift of His sacrifice. 


Good Friday

Choir and Carolynn Baer, flute, accompany Geoff on “Stay with Me,” a poignant reflection of Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.


Meditation: Jesus shows us his humanity by asking God to relieve him of this burden.


Choir and Betsy Stagno sing the spiritual “Were You There?”


Meditation: Consider the confusion, devastation, and sorrow of Jesus’ family and close friends as they witness his death.


Choir sings “It is Finished.”


Meditation: They killed him.  Yet he says, “Father, forgive them…”


Worship and reflect with us this Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm.


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hosannaSinging our loud hosannas

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord…Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.  Psalm 118:26-27

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Luke 19:38


Since we sing so many hosannas on Palm Sunday, I thought a little research might be in order. 

Turns out the meaning of the word hosanna that we teach our children – “praise” – isn’t the whole story.  “Hosanna” is from the Hebrew and means “save, rescue.”  To reconcile these two meanings, I think it helps to look at both the Jewish and Christian uses of “hosanna.”


Jewish usage

At the Feast of Tabernacles, in which Jews celebrated God’s deliverance of Israel into the promised land, the people chanted the words of Psalm 118 and waved palm branches. Modern Jews have a procession of palm branches in the synagogue every day during the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall, while prayers called hosannas are recited. The joyous character of the festival builds up to the seventh day, popularly called the Great Hosanna.


Christian usage

At the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which we celebrate on Palm Sunday, the multitudes (these were Jews, remember) sang “Hosanna” and spread palm branches for Jesus to ride upon, demonstrating their understanding that Jesus was the long-awaited savior, the Messiah.

 So…what was originally an APPEAL FOR DELIVERANCE has become for Christians an expression of joy and PRAISE FOR DELIVERANCE GRANTED.  Both salvation and praise!


What a lovely way to connect our Palm Sunday celebration to our Jewish forbears!  I hope you will participate heartily in the “hosannas” this Sunday.

“Hosanna to the Lord” – Children’s Choir Palm Processional

“Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” – Gathering Hymn

“We Sang Our Loud Hosannas” – Sending Hymn


Related trivia: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practices an organized shouting of hosannas, called a “hosanna shout,” at the dedication of each of its temples.


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Cherishing the Cross

“The Old Rugged Cross”rugged

Sujin John, guitar prelude


Even as a child, George Bennard wanted to be an evangelist and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Active in the Salvation Army and ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church, he (along with his wife) conducted revival services across the United States and Canada.  In 1913, Reverend Bennard wrote a hymn that would become beloved by many Christians:  The Old Rugged Cross.

From Bennard’s diary: “I was praying for a full understanding for the cross and its plan in Christianity. I read and studied and prayed. I saw Christ and the Cross inseparably. The Christ of the Cross became more than a symbol. It was like seeing John 3:16 (For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”) leave the printed page, take form and act out on the meaning of redemption. While watching this scene with my mind’s eye, the theme of the song came to me, and with it the melody.”


Unusual for hymn writers, Bennard composed the melody for “The Old Rugged Cross” before he wrote the text, and spent many months getting just the words he wanted. The hymn was first sung publicly at an evangelistic meeting in Pokagon, Michigan in June 1913. It soon became extremely popular throughout the United States, and it is considered to be one of the most popular of the twentieth century hymns. 


Mr. Bennard continued in evangelistic work for forty years after writing this well-loved hymn.  Although he wrote other hymns, none were ever as popular as “The Old Rugged Cross.” Upon his death in 1953, the local chamber of commerce of Reed City, Michigan, erected a large memorial cross near the Bennard home as a tribute to his life to his hymn.   A year later, The Old Rugged Cross Historical Museum was dedicated near the same site. The cross and the museum still stand today.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:  So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary. (Refrain)

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For t’was on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me. (Refrain)

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share. (Refrain)


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