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HYMN for Week 8 I Have a Friend who Loveth me/Jag har än vän some älskar mig

HYMN for Week 8 I Have a Friend who Loveth me/Jag har än vän some älskar mig

John 15:9-17 Text and Tune: Nils Frykman (1842-1911) 1. I have a friend who loveth me, He gave His life on Calvary; Upon the cross my sins He bore, And I am saved forevermore. R/Oh, hallelujah, He’s my friend, He guides me to the journey’s end, He walks beside me all the way, And gives to me a crown some day. 2. My Savior’s love so full and free Doth light the weary way for me; It fills with joy each passing day And drives my sorrows all away. R/ 3. I have a friend, a mighty friend, Upon His power I may depend; He reigneth over every land, O’er valley, hill, on sea and strand. R/ 4. O brother, join us in our song! This friend to you would fain belong; Tho’ far from what you’d like to be, His grace sufficient is for thee. R/ REFLECTION I see her standing beside a piano in a small country church singing this song in her light sweet mezzo. My mother loved singing this as a solo at evening services in our country congregations and during other small gatherings around God's Word. It was a comfort to her. She had lost her mother as a small child and craved friendship. Although her father and aunts and uncles loved her and raised her in a warm and loving home, she also had close friends whom she loved and kept close her entire life. It was the model for her understanding of Jesus as her friend. She spent every morning from her late teens until her death with him in devotion. When she was dying, all I could think of was that she was going home to be with her best friend. When Jesus in his farewell discourses tells the disciples to love one another as he has loved them, we kind of know what he means. But when he tells them that he thinks of them, not as servants, but as friends, he is saying something easy and difficult to fathom. We know what a friend is—there is equality in a good friendship—and understand that relationship but can be overwhelmed when we come to understand this is God who has come to be our friend. What does that mean? Those who have good friends know how precious such a relationships are. Many people during the pandemic have remarked on how much they miss the hugs of friends and family. The very old among us say the worst thing about living so long is the loss of old friends. We can tell good friends most anything, and trust them to be wise with our secrets, our hopes and fears. In some ways they can be like confessors. The Germans and Scandinavians have a word we don’t really use much in English. Sjelevenn/soulfriend. Soulmate is our word, and it is okay, but it doesn’t say friend. While we may have good friends, there are some that immediately connect with our shared faith in Jesus and that makes for soul mates, or soul friends. Jesus is present in that relationship and deepens it beyond what we can measure. The Swedish tradition seems to have more than its share of hymns and songs about Jesus as friend, "Jesus is my Friend most Precious,"(Arrhenius) "I have a Friend so Patient, Kind, Forbearing." "With God and his friendship," (Rosenius), etc. To be sure, we have it in the English tradition in one of our most beloved hymns, “What a Friend we Have in Jesus.” My favorite, of the Swedish, is this one: Nils Frykman’s “I have a friend who loveth me/Jag har än vän some älskar mig.” While it hasn’t remained as popular in the tradition as others, it is there. It expresses the love Jesus has for us which fills us with the love in which we bask. It flows out of us to our friends and to others in whom we see the Lord. And that isn’t just our close friends. If we have this image of Jesus, and hear his voice in our daily lives, we can see and hear him in all others around us. His friendship fills us and the world. His call for us to love with a love that is greater than any other love, while a command at the beginning of the chapter, becomes irresistibly natural as his love and friendship spill out of us into the whole world to those who are desperately in need of a friend who loveth them. That is our joy and our calling: to bring the love of Jesus everywhere we go. Amen. HYMN INFO Nils Frykman (1842-1911) is one of the three Swedish American song writers whose songs are most beloved by those in the Swedish Covenant tradition. They also made it into the songbooks of the Norwegians who emerged from the Scandinavian Augustana Synod (1860-1870) when the Swedes, Norwegian and Danes, were together both in church and seminary. Born on a farm in Sunne, Värmland, he became a teacher, all the while writing songs. He got involved in the strife that ended up in a split which created the Swedish Free Church. He was forced to give up his teaching because he would not agree to teach what the state church required. For some time he traveled around the district on horseback, preaching and singing his songs. He emigrated with his family of ten children to the United State in 1888, where he served congregations in Chicago and finally in Pennock, near Minneapolis. He appeared frequently at the Swedish Tabernacle, which became First Covenant Church, in the city. The Sunday evening services which featured many of his songs became hugely popular. My parents went there for Sunday evening services on their dates, walking home sharing their thoughts on the evening sermons and hymns. When Frykman died in 1911, over 2000 people attended his funeral. He is buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis where his favorite hymn verse, “I have a future all sublime” is carved on a stone beside the grave. He was called the Joyful Singer and his songs, some 300, are filled to overflowing with the joy he knew in Jesus. LINKS In English Matt Werner and friends https://youtu.be/VGpu2NE_rgM Piano Solo/Emily Valine https://youtu.be/EDQCMDn_bic In Swedish from Frykman’s home region https://youtu.be/dtQZ9OZP7oI Maria Almroth https://youtu.be/28LhCMkEaco Solistkvartetten https://youtu.be/N69-dMUcGq0

HYMN FOR WEEK 7 I AM the Vine You Are the branches

HYMN FOR WEEK 7 I AM the Vine You Are the branches

John 15:1-10 REFLECTION
I am stumped for hymns on this lesson. The text for today is a fundamental image of Jesus, one of his great I AM statements--stating that he is God, the great I AM. The vine and branches image is redolent with Old Testament passages as well. Strange, then, that there are so few hymns with the image. This text was not in the old lectionaries as far as I can tell so, for example, there are no cantatas by Bach on this text. However, more hymns have been written on the text recently given that it is now in the series B of the lectionary. John Michael Talbot wrote one of the more popular versions of the text, "I Am the Vine." In it he weaves together the imagery of John 15, Psalm 1 and Matthew 11. Jaroslav Vajda, one of the more esteemed Lutheran hymn writers of the past generation, wrote a hymn on the text for the LBW, "Amid the World’s Bleak Wilderness” using a Dantean sonnet form, meaning stanzas of four rhyming (tercets) as did Dante in his Divine Comedy. It imitates the vine as it connects all four stanzas and then is held together by the couplet at the end. A hard form to set to a tune, but Richard Hillert’s tune seems up to the task. While there are thousands of hymns on the Bread of Life, another I AM passage, and thousands on the bread and wine of the sacrament, there are few on this passage. Why, I do not know. Mindekirken, my church, was finished in 1930. It has some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I have seen in a church its size. The artist would later work with Tiffany and one can see that in the brilliance of the colors. There are two stories of Jesus on each window, from the Annunciation to his Ascension. They are told with clear references to the traditions of the painters of Christian scenes: Mary wears blue and red, the annunciation has her reading a book, the angel bears a lily, etc. But the windows over the altar have no scenes to portray, only symbols for the church. At the very top is the Word from which flows everything in the Christian life. Then below are Alpha and Omega and then the sacraments, the font and the cup with wheat for bread. The feature that holds them all together, however, is the imagery of the vine and the grapes. It is a beautiful, rich purple window in some contrast to the rest of the windows which tend to be bright blue and red. One sees the grapes reappearing all through the windows. It is not just a communion image. It is an image of our relationship to the branch that gives life. While the fruitage of the vine is the luscious grapes, delicious to see and taste, none of that would be possible without the rich juices flowing into the flower and fruit from the trunk, or vine, of the plant. It is easy for us to think that the way we have grown, bloomed and borne fruit is our work. But without the life of the vine, there would be nothing but dry sticks worthy only to be thrown into the fire for kindling. To live we need to be tended by the gardener in his nursery. He is not only the gardener, he is the vine, the one who delivers life to us through his word, he is “the source of all that lives.” What a richness to know we are nourished by the life of Christ flowing through us, helping us grow and bloom, producing rich and luscious fruit as we were intended to do by our creator. Over the year of confinement, many have felt disconnected from the vine because they have not been able to be with other Christians. We have been able to see and hear each other through Zoom, but it has been a deprivation not to be able to gather together physically. In the gathering we gain strength and are fed God's word by each other. We need to be tended in the nursery of grace, by the gardener who gives life. Here is my sonnet on this text from my book of sonnets Jesus the Harmony--really, sermons or bible studies in miniature. (Available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other on line book companies, either as a book or ebook for your Kindle!) I AM THE VINE (Sonnet 286) The root of all, the source of all that lives. Through him comes life, all the food we need Coursing through our arteries to give Life to our spirits, bodies, fruit, and seed. His words cleanse the lines to make a place Where he abides, and we abide with him, A home, comfortable and filled with grace, Where the juices fructify the limbs. Without their cleansing, the branches wither and die; The gardener throws them in the fire to burn. Even tender shoots he prunes away For richer harvests; helping us to learn, The Father readies this house to dwell with us, A nursery of grace that he will tend with love. John 15:1-8; Romans 11:22-24; Revelation 3:20 Gracia Grindal from Jesus the Harmony Gospel Sonnets for 366 Days Copyright Fortress Press 2021 https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Harmony-Gospel-Sonnets-Days-ebook/dp/B08L9S4Z1T/ref=sr_1_3_nodl?dchild=1&keywords=Grindal&qid=16145&asin=B08L9S4Z1T&revisionId=6988f12d&format=1&depth=1 LINKS Knowles Shaw/the old 19th century chestnut https://youtu.be/_H0SVbuhyf8 John Michale Talbot https://youtu.be/oHr7Z7ZS3GE Arvo Pärt’s I am the True Vine/Ars Nova Copenhagen https://youtu.be/OCYSuwPAZ30 Danny Daniels and Randy Rigby You are the Vine and We are The Branches https://youtu.be/JCelXOcHkX8

HYMNS for Week 7

HYMNS for Week 7

HYMN FOR WEEK 6 He Shall Feed His Flock/Good Shepherd Sunday

HYMN FOR WEEK 6 He Shall Feed His Flock/Good Shepherd Sunday

Psalm 23/Isaiah 40:11/Matthew 11:28-29; John 10:11-18 Text: King James Version of the English Bible. Tune: George Fredrich Handel He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs With His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11) Come unto Him, all ye that labour, come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He Is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29) I am the Good Shepherd/John 10:11-18 REFLECTION Not surprisingly one of the very first sketches of Jesus in the catacombs is of him as a shepherd. Scripture is filled with references to shepherds and how God is like one. Jesus calls himself The Good Shepherd. I had a colleague, Gerhard Forde, who made much of Jesus’ saying he was THE good shepherd. Not A good shepherd. Jesus is the one against whom all other shepherds are to be measured. In the John passage, he elaborates on what a good shepherd does for the sheep: he lays his life down for them. He knows his own and his own know him. That may be why the disciples being called by Jesus follow so promptly. They understand somehow that this is their shepherd calling them. There is no other one to follow. As they are listening to him speak, throughout the gospels, they are clearly mystified, and confused, and downright unable to understand, something in them obviously knows this is their shepherd and they need to be with him to live. People today are in need of that voice. They seem to be sheep without a shepherd and follow many voices with passion and conviction but have no way to discern the voice of the true shepherd because they have not heard it speaking clearly through us to them. There is no life without the shepherd. In the Isaiah passage set so incomparably by Handel the Savior is LIKE a shepherd, and one who feeds the lambs he carries. Eating and feeding are central to life. It is the job of the shepherd to feed the lambs, to see they are nourished and given safety. Today because of our inventions and industrial ability to farm, we are not so conscious of how vulnerable we are when it comes to food and clothing. One of the authors I have been reading remarks on how little people understand that today. If one were to go back not even 200 years, one would find that most people spent almost all of their time making sure that there would be food enough to eat through the year. People did not have to look for work. If they did not work on the farm, there would be no food. Not only that, they also knew that while they had to work hard to tend the crops and animals that would feed them, they also knew that if God did not give the growth with good weather and the like, their work would be for naught. It made them look to the Lord for everything in life. Scripture knows this and uses images of food and clothing to talk about what God does for us. Not only sustenance, but he gives rest. The exhaustion of the normal farmer and farm family every day is something we have forgotten. The physical weariness that Jesus promises to relieve with rest is a great solace for the desire of every heart. Physically, and spiritually, we need to be fed, tended, watched over and given rest. When people cannot get rest because of worry about anything—their physical needs being met, their ability to meet the needs of the families, their children, their community—they need a place to go to find it. The promises of God are running over with all this. It is not exactly a compliment to be thought of as a sheep. They are rather stupid and desperately in need of a shepherd. They wander—“All we like Sheep have gone astray“—and cannot protect themselves from the wolf and other predators. And when they are in danger, all they can do is look up for their shepherd—pray. I worry about too many things, many of which I can do nothing to fix, except pray. Jesus has understood that and knows how to tend us gently, with food and safety. And with rest. Handel’s putting together these two lessons from Scripture is exactly right. That may also be why we especially love Psalm 23. It comforts us with promises of food, drink, safety in the midst of danger and our enemies and rest, all good things. Our cup runneth over. Amen. HYMN INFO This aria from the Messiah is from the Christmas part. It ends the account of the birth of Jesus, describing what he will do for his people—after the shepherds who were to hear the good news have run to the stable and worshiped the Christ child who will be their shepherd. Handel’s librettist Charles Jennens used nothing but Scripture for the language of the classic. Much of our interest in the words of Part One especially is how he combined the Old and New Testament to speak of the birth of Jesus as fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. It is a great sermon for.us. Handel quickly understood that as he wrote the entire oratorio in three weeks of intense and fevered work. The theme of the Good Shepherd is widespread in our hymns as well. See others below. LINKS René Fleming https://youtu.be/JSNvKCGUK3g Barbara Bonney https://youtu.be/l-bAXm-A3Ls Favorite hymns on the Good Shepherd from Hymnsfortoday.com The King of Love my Shepherd is https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-46-the-king-of-love-my-shepherd-is Savior Like a Shepherd lead us https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-42-savior-like-a-shepherd-lead-me

HYMN OF THE WEEK 5 Lord of all Hopefulness

HYMN OF THE WEEK 5 Lord of all Hopefulness

Easter 3 B Luke 24:36-49) Text: Jan Struthers (1901-1953) Tune: Irish Folk SLANE 1 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day. 2 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day. 3 Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day. 4 Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
Text Copyright Oxford Press 1931 REFLECTION
"Hope is the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul…." Emily Dickinsen’s poem on Hope gets at the importance of hope in every day life. Without hope, we die. There is nothing to live for, no reason to improve your life or the lives around you. It sings in the "chilliest land" and sings of a better time and place. Hope is also one of the three theological virtues—Faith, Hope and Love. As Paul says in I Corinthians 13, both faith and hope will end when we meet the end, but love endures forever. I like the double meaning in the word end in both English and Greek. Telos, the Greek word for end, also means something to look toward, as in our end, or goal, is to survive. And also the finish—the day is ended, the race is ended. To get to the end, people can often use terrible means—as in the revolutionaries’ cry that the "End justifies the means" often attributed to Machiavelli. Even in a reign of terror, the ruler will say that certain brutalities are necessary to get to a better place. A cruel hope is even found there. For Christians, however, faith and hope are what we live by, keeping faith in the promise of salvation and eternal life with Christ, and hope that it indeed will happen. In Pilgrim's Progress, Hopeful is the last companion of Christian the Pilgrim and urges him on as he faces the river. Love is, however, constant, it never ends. It is there in the most awful times and continues: heaven will be a place of eternal love which does not disappear. Love is, in fact, what makes the world go around. Not just our carnal love—which pop songs say makes the world go round--but the love of God runs the entire universe and makes it sing. Christians believe that our God is a God of love. Out of love the world was created, out of love God created human beings, and out of love God sent his Son into the world so we could be in loving fellowship with him for eternity. If people didn’t think the shut down and quarantine would end, they could have perished of hopelessness. Even things in daily life are affected by our hope or lack thereof. There's no use in doing this, people say, nothing will come of it, so they quit. Fear takes hope away and erases it from our view of the future. When we are fearful we cower in corners of the room, or in our own personal corners, afraid to walk forth into the light of hope. So Jesus is always telling us to "Fear not!" and giving us peace. Only then can hope draw us forward into the day. The text for this day, Easter 3 B (Luke 24:36-49) describes how Jesus meets his disciples after he has appeared to the couple in Emmaus. They have run back to Jerusalem to say, He is risen! And as they do and begin talking together about his resurrection, Jesus appears among them. The first thing he says is “Peace be with you!” He knows they will be frightened to death by his appearance. So he assures them he is the risen one, in the flesh, with flesh and bones, not a spirit. Wondering and astonished, they see his hands and feet. And then he asks for something to eat. A spirit would not be able to ingest a plate of broiled fish. The physicality of our faith is always surprising. The resurrection is both spiritual, and physical. For many this is the hardest thing to believe. But Jesus is eating fish right in front of them, in a body they know and love. The American writer, John Updike, a Christian, in his poem “Seven Stanzas at Easter” confesses in vivid language how the resurrection is real. “Make no mistake: if He rose at all/it was as His body;/if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules/reknit,/the amino acids rekindle,/the Church will fail.” Updike goes on to say what Paul does, in modern images and terms, it was not “metaphor, /analogy,/sidestepping transcendence.” We must believe it because “If Christ be not raised, then we are to be pitied.” This changes everything about today. Because Jesus is raised, he is now among us, through his spirit, which will clothe us with power, giving us hope as we go about our daily lives in his strength, love and peace. He will make a heaven out of even the grimmest life, because his love surrounds us and recreates in us new life. For now and all eternity! Amen! Come Lord Jesus! HYMN INFO
Jan Struther is the pen name of Joyce Torrens-Graham She was the author of the popular novel, Mrs. Miniver, among many other books: poetry, hymns, novels, satires. She wrote this text for Percy Deamer when together they were editing Songs of Praise (1931). She was married twice, first to Anthony Maxtone and then Adolf Kurt Placzek. During World War II she left London for New York where she continued writing and raising her children. She died there from cancer. The tune SLANE is much loved for hymns. "Be Thou My Vision" is the most famous text with the tune, but people like the Celtic sound and this marriage of tune and text has been a happy one. It is a fine hymn to bless the day, both morning, noon and night. And it covers us as we go about our daily vocations. LINKS Lovely oboe accompaniment
https://youtu.be/9-D_aT8CXyc Westminster Abbey Commonwealth service 2018 https://youtu.be/PNlLEl8rkSA Choir of Ely Cathedral https://youtu.be/--Kh9ACX7BE Choir with organ https://youtu.be/b8mti7VL3gg ____________________ I wrote this text for my pastor and his wife as a farewell present. Dan's setting is very fine. For permission write Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc. https://www.wayneleupold.com/index.php/congregational-song.html?p=4

HYMNS FOR WEEK 5 (Easter Three)

HYMNS FOR WEEK 5 (Easter Three)

HYMN FOR WEEK 4 SAINT THOMAS

HYMN FOR WEEK 4 SAINT THOMAS

Gideon did not believe the Lord/We Walk by Faith and not by Sight Text: Gracia Grindal Tune: James Clemens Text: Henry Alford (1810-1871) Tune: Marty Haugen 1. Gideon did not believe the Lord Put the fleece out on the threshing floor. “If it’s wet with dew I will know that you Will be there at my right hand As I fight to save the land.” 2. In the morning Gideon went to see Just how wet the fleece had come to be. It was soaking wet, Wet as it could get, Wet enough to fill a bowl. Still it troubled Gideon’s soul. 3. Gideon did not quite trust God’s word, Saying, “Don’t be angry, Lord, Once more could I try: Let the fleece be dry.” Then God answered him, he knew: All but it was wet with dew. 4. “Now I know you are the Lord of Lords,” Gideon said, “O help me, be my guard. You are God of all, You made great and small. Lord, forgive my unbelief; Give me faith, help me believe.” Text Copyright Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc. 2015 REFLECTIONS Putting out the fleece is a common expression among some Christians. I grew up with it as I noted some time back on the hymnblog. My parents taught me about it early on. If there was a question that may have needed an answer, and the feelings about it were at 50/50, my mother would say, put out the fleece. And then she would say, for example, if there are over 250 in church tomorrow, we will do this, rather than that. We would laugh about it, but it stopped her from fretting. I have come to use the expression about such decisions and have also come to understand the wisdom of doing so. You put the question into God’s hands and go on with the rest of the day without having to tie yourself up in knots about the decision. What Gideon did, however, seems over the edge. He was really testing God in a way that makes me expect a kind of bolt from the heavens. First, demanding God fill the fleece with dew, which it was to overflowing. Wanting a second sign seems outrageous. But God sends the message clearly.The fleece was dry the next morning. Gideon now must go into battle. And it is a strange one. God does not want him to go with too many troops, but only with those fierce enough to lap up the water from the river like dogs. They defeat the Midianites by scaring the daylights out of them with their small force of 100 men, as they blow the trumpets and smash the jars in their hands. It scares the Midianites out of their minds and they flee. God is the victor! There is good reason that the church uses the story of Gideon as an OT story to stand with the story of doubting Thomas. Thomas also tests Jesus. His great cry on hearing that they have seen Jesus and he has not, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the marks of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” When Jesus says, “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do no disbelieve, but believe,” Thomas instantly worships Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Something happened in this encounter that awakened faith in Thomas. "We walk by faith, not by sight." It is one of the perfect hymns for this Sunday. Thomas then becomes a model of faith, not doubt, as he takes the Gospel into the farthest reaches of the known world. The story goes that he went to India. There are today Indian Christians who see themselves in a direct line with Thomas. Some even suggest he went to China. About these things we know little, but the story is clear in both Gideon and Thomas—doubt can be changed in a twinkling of an eye to faith strong enough to do unimaginably gallant things for the Lord. But on a less grand backdrop, giving things over to the Lord, putting out the fleece, resting in the fact that you will be led by the Lord in both great and small things gives one freedom. Maybe even good humor to go forward into the future, confident that somehow in all this, God is going before. We believe he is leading us into places we might never have thought of, surprising us again and again. And in these surprises, we learn to believe that he is near: Our Lord and God! HYMN INFO My text is a fun piece I wrote on the texts for the saints and martyrs with James Clemens. Alford, a Victorian writer, known mostly for his monumental edition of the Greek New Testament, and his art, also wrote many hymns, of which this one is the most famous. Marty Haugen, one of the most influential composers and writers of liturgical music in the past fifty years, has written a lovely tune for the old chestnut. He used it in his Mass for the Creation composed in 1996. A graduate of Luther College, he became the musician of the Vatican II liturgical revival in the United States and is still an active composer of music for worship. His songs are popular because they are so lyrical and memorable. Probably his most well known work is Holden Evening Prayer which he wrote while at Holden Village. 1 We walk by faith, and not by sight;
no gracious words we hear
from one who spoke as none e’er spoke,
but we believe him near. 2 We may not touch his hands and side,
nor follow where he trod,
yet in his promise we rejoice,
and cry, “My Lord and God!” 3 Help then, O Lord, our unbelief,
and may our faith abound
to call on you when you are near,
and seek where you are found: 4 that when our life of faith is done,
in realms of clearer light
we may behold you as you are
in full and endless sight. 5 We walk by faith, and not by sight;
no gracious words we hear
from one who spoke as none e’er spoke,
but we believe him near. LINKS We Walk by Faith and not by Sight Marty Haugen https://youtu.be/6hk_7EUvwv8 From the recording of the Mass of Creation https://youtu.be/icsXi-tqFlY

HYMNS FOR THE WEEK 4 from Hymnsfortheday

HYMNS FOR THE WEEK 4 from Hymnsfortheday

Second Sunday in Easter John 20:24-29 Thomas HYMNS FOR THE WEEK (These are some repetitions from last week since the Thomas story is the text. O Sons and Daughters of the King is the most appropriate hymn for this text) 30 O Sons and Daughters of the King/O fillii et filliae https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/exclusive-backstage-interview-with-jimmy-blues 31 See your hands are filled with flowers/Dine hender er fulle av Blomster https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/what-s-in-a-name-the-top-10-most-creative-band-names-of-all-time 32 Like the Golden Sun Ascending/Som den gyldne sol Frembryder https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-32-like-the-golden-sun-ascending 33 Up from the grave he arose https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-33-up-from-the-grave-he-arose 34 Stay with us/Bli hos oss https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-34-stay-with-us-lord-jesus 35 Awake my Heart with Gladness/Auf! Auf! Mein Herz https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-35-awake-my-heart-with-gladness 36 Death Must Give way/Døden maa vike https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-36-death-must-give-way 37 God’s Son has Made me Free/Guds Søn har gjort meg fri https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-37-god-s-son-has-made-me-free

HYMN FOR WEEK 3 I Know that My Redeemer Liveth

HYMN FOR WEEK 3 I Know that My Redeemer Liveth

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Happy Easter! Text: King James Version of the Bible Tune: George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day
upon the earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall
I see God. (Job 19:25-26) For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that
sleep. (I Corinthians 15:20) MEDITATION Mary Hull Mohr, one of my best and oldest friends, died this Holy Thursday. She was my colleague, and mentor, at Luther College in the English department. When I arrived in the summer of 1968, she and her husband Martin invited me to dinner in their new home on Ridge Road in Decorah with their newborn son, Jonathan. It was the first of many such dinners. She had received a Ph.D. in English, one of the first women faculty with a Ph.D. A daughter of a Swedish Augustana pastor, she had grown up in congregations along the Mississippi. A devout Christian, she loved the Christian liberal arts and transmitted her love of the tradition, teaching Chaucer, Donne, Herbert, Shakespeare, modern drama, etc. with great pleasure. She enjoyed the rich artistic offerings at Luther College, the music, the dramas, the concerts and in England where they spent several sabbaticals. She took her part in the administration of the college, working as chair of the English department and on major committees there. She participated in civic projects like the AAUW and other groups in Decorah. A fine seamstress and cook, she read everything, finishing her grading of endless themes every week before any of us. In addition, she was an active member at First Lutheran church where she served as president, worked on many committees, singing in the choir, and working with the Ladies Aid serving the huge crowds that filled Decorah for Nordic Fest. She also served the national church, working on its committees. She viewed with affection and amusement the complications of parish life. She and Martin were fixtures in the Luther College community until his death in 2019. Many will echo what I say here. My heart is flooded with gratitude as I remember her--usually sitting in their living room talking with Martin and her--he offering acerbic comments and she exclaiming, "Oh, Martin!" One of my favorites is her delight in relating to me the story of an Easter sermon she had just heard on their Easter break. The preacher began the sermon with a statement of shock that there were people who did not believe in the resurrection. Where had he been? Both of us had friends and colleagues who no longer believed in it. We both knew some who, when confessing the Apostles’ Creed, could not bring themselves to say, “on the third day he rose again from the dead.” She noted once as we were saying it that the pastor leading the recitation had been looking down, but at this crucial moment, he looked up almost as if to check for unbelievers. It is the basis of our confession. As we discussed the sermon, she came to the conclusion that it really was refreshing to hear from a preacher who understood the word of Paul that “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14. In an age that prized doubt and irony, and confessed Christ with uncertainty, this was a moment to cherish. That amused tenderness and deep faith fill me with gratitude and praise now as I give thanks for her and our friendship. Her witness to generations of colleagues, students and friends will persist for a long time. Today as we sing and hear the great music of the resurrection, especially, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” from Handel's Messiah we think of those who have gone before. Handel knew as he was writing it that he was standing in the presence of a truth so grand he could not even eat the meals brought to him during the twenty-four days during which he composed the masterpiece. One day a servant interrupted him and he announced, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.” His music helps us to see all heaven. Christians do this for each other--they show by their expressions of faith and conversation glimpses of what it will be like in our flesh to see God! We talked about what it would be like often. (See the poem below). Sarah Hinlicky Wilson treats this in her blog Theology and a Recipe, opening up the notion that we can know something of what heaven will be like when we see Jesus returning to be with his disciples, his deniers, and difficult friends, ready to live with them in love and forgiveness. Sartre at the end of No Exit has his characters discover that hell is other people. Heaven will be other people, too. People of all kinds, some we found insufferable here on earth, or maybe even bitter enemies, but then we will rejoice in our fellowship around the throne of God. When my mother complained once to Mary Lou that she was not sure she wanted to be in heaven with some difficult Christians, Mary Lou reminded her that they would be changed. That encouraged Mother, briefly, and then Mary Lou added, with her smile, "And so will you." The resurrection of Jesus happened back then. But as Christians we know it is a living truth in our midst today. If we do not believe it, Paul says, we are to be pitied. That’s what Christian friends like Mary Lou do, they witness to us, during savory meals, idle conversations and formal speeches, they announce that Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! LINKS HANDEL Sylvia McNair https://youtu.be/Kg7aXEvCeXY Choir of New College https://youtu.be/4Q0qho_hKEg (I have to include this poem from a long time ago. Heaven was a frequent topic for us.) HEAVEN (For Mary Lou who had the dream) there were six of us we were riding in a car she said there was a brick wall we slammed through it thinking this is it we are finished she said we floated pleasantly out though space free of everything we just rode on the blue air the sphere of crystal sang we were changed to diamond and no one shed a tear we spoke sentences of light countries of words lay before us meadows of wild thyme and stars we fell like water through the light with no gravity to speak of we looked at each other and smiled we are finished she said this is it Gracia Grindal from Sketches Against the Dark, Blue Moon Press, 1984.

HYMNS FOR WEEK 3 from Hymnfortheday.com

HYMNS FOR WEEK 3 from Hymnfortheday.com