Monthly Archives: February 2015

Christ Presbyterian Church Music during Lent

lent

March 1 – Handbell Choir

Prelude: “Lenten Reflection” by Michael Glasgow

 

March 8 – Children’s Choir

Anthem: “When Jesus Wept” by William Billings

arranged for voices and hand chimes by June Gladding

 

March 15 – Lindsey Smith, trombone

Prelude: “Prayer” by Englebert Humperdinck

March 22 – Sanctuary Choir

Anthem: “Prayer of St. Richard” by Eugene Butler

 Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits thou hast given me,
for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly, day by day.

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Hymns During Lent

ashAs we begin the 40 days of Lent at the Ash Wednesday service tomorrow night, our music will reflect the gospel story of Jesus’ human life in the days leading up to his death on the cross.  Our hymns look also toward the resurrection and our salvation.  Hymns are excellent Lenten devotionals when you read the words as though they are a story.  Here are some examples:

 

#81 Lord, who throughout these forty days begins the story, asking for our Lord to abide with us throughout these “days of penitence” so that we may attain “an Easter of unending joy.”

 

#2138 Sunday’s palms are Wednesday’s ashes is a prayer of supplication, outlining our sins and our plea that the Lord will “come and cleanse us, then restore us.”

 

#391 Take my life, a very specific prayer of supplication, asks God to make our lives, hands, voice, money, will, and love “ever, only, all for Thee.”

 

More Lenten devotional hymns can be found on pages 76-87 (Lent), pages 92-103 (Holy Week), and throughout the hymnal.  Check the Topical Index (page 691) under Jesus Christ, Forgiveness, Penitence, Cross, and other Lenten topics suggested by scripture, for others.

 

And may you have a holy and blessed Lent.

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Easter cantata practices begin TOMORROW!

Easter cantata practices begin TOMORROW (Wednesday) at 8pm.  If you love to sing but can’t commit to every Sunday,  come and join us on Wednesday evenings from 8:00 – 8:45.  If you’d like to play an instrument on Easter Sunday, contact Barbara at music@cpcfairfax.org.

 

gloryTransfiguration Sunday

“Morning hymn” celebrates Christ as light of the world

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.  Mark 9:2-3

 

Charles Wesley wrote close to 9,000 poems with over 6,000 of them qualifying as hymns.  The quality and depth of theology found in his poetry is why hymnologist Erik Routley dubbed Wesley “the first and, surely for all time, the greatest evangelical hymn writer.”
Of the many great Wesley hymns, “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies,” is considered one of his best, and one of my personal favorites.  Originally titled “A Morning Hymn,” it appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern paired with RATISBON, the tune that most often accompanies the text today.

Wesley begins the hymn with the antithesis between light and night. Also found throughout the first stanza is the personification of “Sun,” “Dayspring” and “Daystar.”

 

Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise, triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near; Day-star, in my heart appear. 

 

In stanza two, Wesley uses allegory, a literary device used to tell a story. “Dark,” “unaccompanied,” and “joyless” are followed by “till” which represents hope for salvation. The final phrase begins with the “cheer” which comes from our redemption.

 

Dark and cheerless is the morn unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return, till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart, cheer my eyes, and warm my heart.

 

In stanza three, Wesley again uses personification: “radiancy divine.” I love the image of “scattering our unbelief” after sin and grief have been pierced.  As the hymn comes its dramatic close, Wesley uses the technique of epizeuxis –  a poetic device in which words are repeated in quick succession for emphasis. “More and more” implies that we can never see enough of the “radiancy divine.”

 

Visit then this soul of mine; pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy Divine; scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display, shining to the perfect day.

 

Scripture references may be found throughout this hymn, from books of prophecy to the gospels and epistles: “true… light” (John 1:9); “Sun of Righteousness” (Isaiah 2:6 and Malachi 4:2); and “Day-star” (Isaiah 14:12 and 2 Peter 1:19).

Routley proclaims, “Never was written a more thoroughly and richly happy hymn than this.” I agree!

 

 

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