Elizabeth, Jeremy, Alex, and Eileen went up to visit the Hatch branch of the family yesterday. I stayed behind. This allowed me to write the bulletin article I mentioned yesterday.
If you’re at all curious, here’s what I submitted:
The organ prelude and postlude today are based on the melody used with the 16th century hymn, “An Wasserflüssen Babylon” or “By the Waves of Babylon.” The hymn is a metrical setting of the psalm for today, Psalm 137. The prelude, Joel Martinson’s 1992 organ composition, is actually entitled “Variations on a Lenten Chorale: A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth.” He had a different hymn text in mind. But I think that Martinson’s gentle settings also fit the mood of Psalm 137. Bach knew the the 16th century Psalm adaptation as a familiar chorale his church would sing. As usual, his organ setting takes us deeper into the meaning of the Psalm.
Though the text for today’s anthem, “Lord, increase our faith,” is drawn from a 1662 Prayer Book Collect, it also echoes today’s gospel which begins, “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!” This anthem for many years was misattributed to Orlando Gibbons.
Our opening hymn, “Gracious Spirit, give your servants,” picks up on the idea that Jesus calls us to a life where serving others is the norm (“We are worthless slaves, we have only done what we ought to have done.” the ending phrase of today’s gospel reading). This hymn is addressed to the Trinity but reverses the usual order and begins with the Spirit. The closing stanza is an unusual rendering of the doxology. The language is inclusive (non gender based) and ends with a beautiful uniting of the Incarnation to mission: “through us may the world be hold you, find your live, your truth, your light.” It is taken from Wonder, Love and Praise. Our sequence hymn continues this idea of service. “The servants well-pleasing to God” is taken from Voices Found. “This is my body,” our first communion hymn is taken from Lift Every Voice and Sing. Both it and the second communion hymn are drawn from the Holy Eucharist section of each hymnal. “Strengthen for Service’ (Hymnal 1982 #312) is from a fifth century Indian liturgy (Liturgy of Malibar) which adapted the words from the even more ancient Syriac Liturgy of St. James. John Mason Neale made a prose translation which was published in 1859. The version we sing today reflects further renditions by C.W Humphreys and then Percy Dearmer in The English Hymnal. With our closing hymn we return to the notion of service. The author of the text, Rusty Edwards, consciously wrote a mission text that does not reflect the colonial, paternalistic attitudes the church has often taken in its evangelistic outreach to the world. It “makes our own lives the subject of evangelism, not the people of distant lands. At the same time it does not diminish either the urgency of the Gospel or the call ‘to touch the lives of others by God’s surprising grace. [st. 2]'” (taken from the Leader’s Guide to Wonder, Love, and Praise)
If you spot anything weird, let me know. I still have time to correct stuff before it’s published for a week from this Sunday.
After writing this, I did the Mom book thing (put books in the doc with which I keep track of Mom’s reading, interlibrary-loaned some books for her, then went to the library and grabbed a bag of books for her), practiced at church and then came home and treadmilled. Managed to do all of this before the group got back. I was just about to take the books to Mom when I received a text from Eileen that they had stopped to see her on the way back. I texted back that I had books for her, but Eileen missed the text. I’ll take her books over today sometime.
Today, Elizabeth, Jeremy, and Alex are meeting Mark and Leigh. All of these family visits are taking a toll on the travelers. And this is all before the big wedding in Vancouver of Jeremy’s brother, Mike. I don’t think this is much of a relaxing time for them, but I am grateful to get to see them.
I finished reading Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer yesterday. I’m not sure how many people are reading him these days. Neither Elizabeth nor Jeremy seemed to recognize him. I mistakenly said that he had written Where the Sidewalk Ends. Everyone in the room quickly corrected me. I guess he’s in the same part of my brain as the actual author of that, Shel Silverstein.
This is the first in a projected trilogy by Feiffer. He published, Cousin Joseph, the second volume recently. That’s when I got wind of the project and checked out the first volume.
Say it often enough, and many will believe.
You know you’re getting old when you put up links like this on your blog. I do like Jane Brody. And I have arthritis, but not too bad yet.