Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ash Wednesday Music + Soup Supper – March 1

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right
spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

 

 

In our hymns for Ash Wednesday, we move from

  • confessing our sins – “Sunday’s Palms are Wednesday’s Ashes”

  • to requesting strength to conquer our sins – “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days”

  • to offering our lives to God – “Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”

 

“Sunday’s Palms are Wednesday’s Ashes”

 

Rae E. Whitney’s 500+ hymn texts are characterized by rich Biblical imagery, liturgical reference, and her personal faith. In this hymn (2138 in our hymnal supplement, Sing the Faith), the first line recalls the custom of burning remaining palms of the previous year to form the ashes.  Notice in each stanza we list our specific sins in the first 3 lines, and pray for forgiveness in the 4th line:

 

Sunday’s palms are Wednesday’s ashes as another Lent begins;
thus we kneel before our Maker in contrition for our sins.
We have marred baptismal pledges, in rebellion gone astray;
now, returning, seek forgiveness; grant us pardon, God, this day!

 

We have failed to love our neighbors, their offenses to forgive,
have not listened to their troubles, nor have cared just how they live,
we are jealous, proud, impatient, loving overmuch our things;
may the yielding of our failings be our Lenten offerings.


We are hasty to judge others, blind to proof of human need;
and our lack of understanding demonstrates our inner greed;
we have wasted earth’s resources; want and suffering we’ve ignored;
come and cleanse us, then restore us; make new hearts within us, Lord!

 

B. F. White’s tune BEACH SPRING was named after the Beech Spring Baptist Church, located near two beech trees at a spring in Pine Mountain, Georgia. White’s misspelling, “Beach Spring,” has been kept in all editions of The Sacred Harp, where the tune first appeared.  A five-note or pentatonic melody, BEACH SPRING is the setting to several hymns texts in recent major hymnals.

 

Join us for a simple soup supper at 6:30 and worship at 7:00.

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Transfiguration Sunday – Last Light Before Darkness of Lent

 “Morning hymn” celebrates Christ as light of the world

“… Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart… 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 is 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 contrast between light and dark.

 

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 brings it down to us. I love the image of “scattering our unbelief” after sin and grief have been pierced.  As the hymn comes to its dramatic close, “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.

 

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

 

 

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More Sermon on the Mount Music

7th Sunday of Epiphany – February 19

 

“THOUGH I MAY SPEAK”

Hymn 335, The Presbyterian Hymnal

 

I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day. Though a secular holiday, its subject — love — is found in much of Jesus’ teaching. Sunday’s gospel from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, & 7) is the inspiration for including this hymn in worship.

 

“You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven… For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”  (Matthew 5:43,44; 46)

 

Hal Hopson’s text has become one of the most popular late 20th-century hymns.  Hopson is a composer and church musician with over 1000 published works. With a special interest in congregational song, he has made a significant contribution to the new hymns included in modern hymnals. The tune, O WALY WALY, is traditional English dating to the early 1700s.

 

From stanza 1:

Though I may speak with bravest fire and have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain as sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

 

From stanza 3:

Let inward love guide every deed; by this we worship, and are freed.

 

 

 

Easter Cantata – You are invited!

 Sing or play an instrument in this year’s Easter cantata April 16.

You do not have to be a regular choir member to sing in the cantata.

CHOIR PRACTICE

Wednesdays starting tonight February 15 – 8:00 – 8:45

INSTRUMENTAL PRACTICE

Wednesdays, April 5 (6:30 – 7:15) & April 12 (7:30 – 9:00)

 

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Easter Cantata – You are invited to sing or play an instrument!

 

Sing or play an instrument in our Easter cantata during the 11am worship April 16.

All are welcome!

You do not have to be a regular choir member to sing in the cantata.

 

CHOIR PRACTICE

Wednesdays starting February 15 – 8:00 – 8:45

 

 

INSTRUMENTAL PRACTICE

Wednesdays, April 5, 6:30 – 7:15 & April 12, 7:30 – 9:00

 

 

Talk to Barbara after worship, or call 703-346-3512,  or

email music@cpcfairfax.org.

 

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