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HYMNS for PENTECOST 22 Mark 10:46-52

Healing of Blind Bartimaeus Once again, these are from my first blogs. I have not resent them before so for many of you they will be new. 8 How Great thou art/O store Gud https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-8-how-great-thou-art 9 Entrust thy ways Befiehl du deine Wege/Velt alle dine veier https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-9-entrust-while-on-your-journey 10 Put thou thy trust in God/Befiehl du deine Wege https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-10-give-to-the-wind-thy-fears 11 God will take care of you https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-11-god-will-take-care-of-you 12 God Moves in a Mysterious Way https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-12-god-move-in-a-mysterious-way 14 If thou but suffer God to guide thee/Wer nur den lieben Gott https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-14-if-thou-but-suffer-god-to-guide-thee 15 Not even one small sparrow/Ikke en spurv til jorden https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-15-not-even-one-small-sparrow

HYMN FOR PENTECOST 21 By Gracious Powers

Bonus: hymn for Saint Luke's Day, October 18 German: Von Guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen Norwegian: Av gode makter verna, som eit under Text: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) Tunes: Siegfried Fietz/C. Hubert Parry/Russell Schulz-Widmar (For reasons of copyright I cannot put the text here, but you can see it and hear it on this link.) https://youtu.be/zxfB7vfDQxQ REFLECTIONS Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred for his suspected cooperation with the group that tried to assassinate Adolph Hitler in 1944. Apprehended the year before, on April 5, 1943, he was first sent to Tegel prison, and then finally Flossenburg where he was executed on April 9, 1944, just as the Allied forces were closing in on Berlin. A star student of theology, he had been destined to be a leader in the German church from his early days as a student. In 1930, he studied in New York at Union Seminary and enjoyed the time immensely, especially his acquaintance with Reinhold Niebuhr and Frank Fish, an African American student who introduced him to the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and Adam Clayton Powell where he learned to know and love the African American spiritual and understand the need for justice. He returned to Germany just as Hitler’s ascent to power was beginning. From the first he opposed his party and rule, especially the anti-Semitism which resulted in the Holocaust. In 1933 he and others began forming the group which became the Confessing Church in 1934. He continued to fiercely oppose Hitler and the Nazi party, during the war working with the resistance against Hitler. This opposition did not pass unnoticed. He was forbidden to teach at the University of Berlin. He began teaching seminary students in Finkenwalde, at an underground seminary. Finally he was apprehended. During his time in prison, he wrote letters to his family and friends, which when collected as Letters and Papers from Prison was widely read along with his major work, The Cost of Discipleship. The great sentence from that rings through the story of his life: "when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." The day before his death, when he was being led away by his jailors from the worship service he was conducting, he said, “This is the end—for me the beginning of life.” The hymn for today was written in 1943. It captures the paradoxes of the Christian life—as Bonhoeffer began facing his very likely execution, along with his fears, he became more and more confident and firm in his faith that God was in charge. Despite his terror, he still believed God was gracious and loving. Bonhoeffer's hymn explicitly admits the terrors of the time and the trembling of our souls in the face of tyranny and its violence against its citizens. Bonhoeffer’s hymn, written in a Christmas greeting to his fiancée and family, seems more and more appropriate and encouraging. Even in the midst of his suffering he knew that a gracious hand is guiding and leading us into the light. When there is nothing else, no other option but death, Bonhoeffer came to see that the powers of God are the most gracious and lasting. God is faithful. To know that is to know that the life Christ gives, as Bonhoeffer confessed before going to his death, begins every day, and most clearly, as we face the end. John Bunyan’s pilgrim experienced doubt, even as he was going down through the waters crossing into heaven. Even then, he found the wicked one making him wonder if his sins were really forgiven. It terrified him. His companion Hopeful reminded him, “These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which hitherto you have received of his goodness, and live upon Him in your distresses.” (Pilgrim's Progress.) The wicked one is skillful at making us look at our own sins and weaknesses rather than Jesus who makes us whole. We should remember that as Bonhoeffer did, while facing his own terrors, that it was the gracious power of God in Christ that never fails. HYMN INFO Bonhoeffer wrote this poem in a Christmas letter of 1943 to his finance Maria, a kind of hymn for the ending and beginning of the year. He had turned to writing more and more poems while in prison. After the publication of Letters and Papers from Prison, and the poem became well known, over 70 composers set it. The most popular tune in Germany is by Siegfried Fietz. And it is the top nomination for the new German hymnal today. There are several tunes in the United States—one in With One Voice, a tune by Hugh Distler, also a martyr to the Nazis. I am partial to the Russell-Schulz-Widmar version, an anthem, which you can see and hear via the link. It has quotes from "A Mighty Fortress" in it, plus a lovely obligato among other things. LINKS Siegfried Fietz sings his version https://youtu.be/aN7dGz6NH5M Animato Choir and Animato Symphonic with Fietz’ melody https://youtu.be/3C8v9icR6yA Georg Schroeter group singing Fietz’ tune https://youtu.be/rK2ZBx6Ws3U Chinese Immanuel Church/Fietz tune https://youtu.be/lRHUY5Qn-rA C. Hubert Parry’s tune by the Chicago First Methodist Women's Quintet and Organ https://youtu.be/agY9jiBggbI Trinity Little Rock/Parry’s setting https://youtu.be/OD60LwSo0CI Russell Schulz-Widmar’s anthem https://youtu.be/zxfB7vfDQxQ --------------------------------------------- BONUS Monday, October 18, is St. Luke's Day. This is from my collection A Treasury of Faith: Festivals and Martyrs. (Wayne Leupold Editions, 2020.) I had a lot of fun with them, thinking of the wonderful children's hymn from the Episcopal tradition, "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God." I learned it as a teenager while accompanying a children's choir in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Salem, Oregon, loving especially the way the kids sang about the "Fierce wild beast." St. Luke, St. Luke, He Wrote Two Books CM St. Luke, St. Luke, he wrote two books, The books of Luke and Acts A Gentile born in Antioch A doctor, that's a fact! He told us how our Lord was born, and gave us Mary's song, Old Simeon's joy, the piercing sword, The one for whom he'd longed. Luke gathered up the things he'd heard So we could all believe That Jesus was the living word, God's gift that we received. In Acts he told us how the church Was born in wind and flame, How Paul and Peter went to work To preach our Savior's name. He watched with Paul impris’ned in Rome Then went to live in Greece, He died an old man in his home They buried him in Thebes. His symbol is a winged ox The beast of sacrifice, Who served his master on the block And saw the birth of Christ.

HYMNS for Week 21 Mark 10:35-45

These are the first hymnblogs I did back in March 2020. Many of you may not have read the following blogs. I started doing them for my Bible study group at church just as the pandemic shutdowns started and then it became obvious I should do a hymnblog for a wider audience. I haven't quite gotten the form down, but here are some of the greatest most popular hymns in the canon. 1 Trust in God’s Promise/Löftena kunna ej svika https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-1-trust-in-god-s-promise 2 How Lovely Shines the Morning Star/Wie Schön Leuchtet der Morgenstern https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-2-how-lovely-shines-the-morning-star 3 Shall We Gather at the River/O hur salig at få vandre https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-3-shall-we-gather-at-the-river 4 Children of the Heavenly Father/Tryggare kan ingen vara/Ingen er så trygg I fare https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-4-children-of-the-heav-nly-father 5 Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-5-nobody-knows-the-trouble-i-ve-seen 6 Great is thy Faithfulness/Stor er din trosfasthet https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-6-great-is-thy-faithfulness 7 When Peace Like a River https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-7-when-peace-like-a-river

HYMN for Pentecost 20 I'd Rather Have Jesus

Mark 10 Text: Rhea F. Miller (1894-1966) Tune: George Beverly Shea (1909-2013) 1. I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold I'd rather be His than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin's dread sway I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today 2. I'd rather have Jesus than worldly applause I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I'd rather be true to His holy name R/ 3. He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He's sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs.
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead R/ REFLECTIONS Today’s Bible passage is the story of Jesus speaking with the rich young man who has rushed up to him and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus looks on him and loves him, the Gospel of Mark has it. Jesus quickly sees the issue. The young man is obsessed with owning things, having them in his possession. He does not see it as a way of life. Jesus turns the conversation into how the young man must live and manage his wealth. Because he cannot obtain salvation for himself as a kind of possession, he turns "empty away" as the King James Version had it. So while he is loaded down with things, his spirit is empty. We know that feeling. All of us remember getting the much coveted toy, and finding after only a few days, it was tiresome, and we wanted more of the same. None of which was ultimately satisfying. As Christmas is approaching and we are being warned there will be shortages of everything due to the delays from COVID 19 and the incredible blockage at the ports on the West Coast especially, we may discover Christmas is about life, not possessing anything. Maybe a good lesson, but there will be parents yielding to many temptations maybe even violence to get their kid the coveted Christmas toy, whatever that will be. It may be a hard lesson to teach to the young ones in our midst, they have already had a hard two years due to COVID. But it is a lesson we might be able to teach by giving the kids a life, not things. Being with them, celebrating the season with activities that will be remembered much longer than the broken toys that become detritus in the basements of our lives. The hymn was written by a pastor’s widow who had dedicated her life to teaching pastors’ children how to play the piano so they would be able to help in congregations when a musician was needed. While her mother was a sturdy and faithful Christian, her father was an alcoholic who stole money from everyone in the family to get money to support his habit. One day he was taken by the Gospel and his life turned around completely. The family was stunned and thankful. Rhea heard her father’s testimony one day that he now understood that he would rather have Jesus than anything, wealth, riches, fame or power. As he spoke, she realized that his testimony was a hymn, and she wrote it down, making it into poetry. George Beverly Shea, a pastor’s son from Canada, was 23 and at home briefly. A student of music, who was finding his way in the musical world, he saw the poem his mother had put on the keyboard, and as he read it, this tune came to him. As they say, the rest is history. It became a favorite first with the Billy Graham association and its Hour of Power, and then in the hundreds of revivals Billy led all over the world. On hearing the story of this rich young man whom Jesus loved, we can sing it as he might have. Here he was standing before the Lord of Life, his creator, and he walked away toward the things his creator had given, and he coveted, not the author of all that is. Jesus is all that our hungering souls will ever need. HYMN INFO This is a big favorite in the repertoire of the Gospel songs in America and many a Lutheran attending Sunday evening services, or Wednesday night Bible study, probably heard it several times a year, sung by the local soloist. Shea sang it thousands of times with his rich bass baritone. After How Great Thou Art it is probably his song—especially since he wrote the tune. He probably is the singer who sang before more people than any other singer in history. His records sold in the millions. He won a Grammy for his Lifetime Achievement Award LINKS George Beverly Shea, singing and telling about his finding it https://youtu.be/oHg-o2eGzM4 George Beverly Shea telling the story of the song https://youtu.be/PRDyUSp6u8Y Selah https://youtu.be/Bt_1sAg-Q40 The Gaither Family https://youtu.be/PwZWTKjguX0 Another Gaither version with a basso profundo! https://youtu.be/LO3rCAbdxRI Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir/riffing on the old tune https://youtu.be/tGiL9O-OXL4 Sonnet from my book Jesus the Harmony JESUS AND THE RICH YOUNG MAN The rich young man could buy anything, Have whatever his youthful heart desired. He wanted eternal life, like a gold ring,
A commodity to be sold to the richest buyer. Jesus changes the terms. It is a way
Of life, a house you enter, a place to live, Following the commandments every day.
It cannot be bought; it is something Jesus gives, Something only those who lose can find. When he has sold his stuff, given to the poor, Then he will get it, the changing of his mind. His clutter gone, he can open the door
To a treasure trove in heaven, where he will get Forgiveness of all his unacknowledged debt.
Matthew 19:16–22; Leviticus 18:1–5; Nehemiah 9:29–30 Copyright 2021 Fortress Press Available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Harmony-Gospel-Sonnets-Days/dp/1506464556/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=16145&sr=

HYMNS for WEEK 20/The Rich Young Ruler Mark 10

These hymns are a couple of weeks ahead of time, but never too early to remember All Saints and our Heavenly Home 221 I’m just a poor, wayfaring stranger https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-221-i-m-just-a-poor-wayfaring-stranger 222 Oh, what their joy and their glory must be/O quanta qualia https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-222-oh-what-their-joy-and-their-glory-must-be 223 In Heaven is joy and gladness https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-223-in-heav-n-is-joy-and-gladness 224 In Heaven Above/I Himmelen, I himmelen https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-224-in-heaven-above-in-heaven-above 225 For all the saints https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-225-for-all-the-saints-who-from-their-labors-rest 226 Behold a Host/Den store hvide flok https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-226-behold-a-host-arrayed-in-white 227 The Trumpet Shall Sound https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-227-the-trumpet-will-sound-and-christ-descend 228 Who keeps watch?/Noen må våke https://www.hymnfortheday.com/post/hymn-228-who-keeps-the-watch-in-creation-s-night

HYMN FOR PENTECOST 19, Day by Day Lina Sandell

Text: Lina Sandell (1832-1903). Tune: Oscar Ahnfelt (1813-1880) Day by day, and with each passing moment Strength I find to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure, Gives unto each what He deems best, Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest. Every day the Lord himself is near me, With a special mercy for each hour; All my cares he fain would bear and cheer me, He whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r. The protection of his child and treasure Is a charge that on himself he laid; “As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,” This the pledge to me he made. Help me then, in every tribulation, So to trust thy promises, O Lord, That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation, Offered me within thy holy Word. Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E’er to take, as from a father’s hand, One by one, the days, the moments fleeting Till with Christ the Lord I stand. Tr. A. Skoog REFLECTIONS Today is the birthday of Lina Sandell. Born in 1832 to Pastor Jonas Sandell, and his wife, in Småland, Sweden, she was raised in the parsonage of Fröderyd. It is a lovely little clearing in the forest surrounded by lakes, farms and woodlands. It reminds one of northern Minnesota. The soil is rocky and difficult so it is no surprise many Swedish emigrants to America came from this province. Lina was a precocious child. Her father knew from the beginning that she would be a help to him in his old age as he taught her the Bible, hymns and her catechism. She was a quick study, learning English and German, the required curriculum of a young girl in her class. Very devout, she lived her entire life deep in the Scriptures. Her hymns are filled with biblical references. This hymn, probably the second most beloved of Lina’s work, is based on Deuteronomy 33:25, “As thy day is, so shall thy strength be.” It is said that Lina wrote this after reading a parable in a Sunday school magazine about an old grandfather’s clock. The pendulum sighed to the face of the clock, “I can’t go on. I have counted how many times I must go back and forth, and it is in the millions. I can’t make it.” The face of the clock thought about it a bit and said, “Well, you only have to do it one more time.” The pendulum considered it and finally agreed. “Yes, I can do that.” From that story, Sandell wrote this hymn. It is filled with Scripture and basic human knowledge. We all have grown weary of repetitive tasks, things that must be done every day without fail. I remember as a young woman, thinking how tiresome it was that every day one had to make three meals, especially if one had children. The old saw, a man must work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done,” expressed that feeling quite well at that time. Life is filled with such tasks that are part of everyday routine. The farmer never gets done milking the cows. Milking them twice a day is part of a routine that must be followed or the cows will go dry. A pastor is never done with the writing of sermons, either. My father had a strict routine for the week, from Sunday to Sunday on the preparations for the sermon, beginning with reading the text for the next Sunday during the last hymn of the service so it started cooking in him instantly. My mother established an ironclad routine for our day and week. Every day she made my father take a nap, as she did, saying as her father had said, “if the horses need to rest, so do I.” We lived in the nursery rhyme: Monday she washed clothes, Tuesday ironed, Wednesday cleaned up, Thursday other tasks, Friday baked and Saturday cleaned again for Sunday, which was a day for feasting and rest. She knew that in every moment of her duteous day the Lord was with her and it gave her joy even in her weariness. The schedule gave order, and oddly, freedom, to their lives. They knew when they would have spare time to enjoy. The routine saved them from chaos of which there can be a lot in the parsonage--people need ministry at odd times, they are ill, they die, they have trouble. While there are several translations of this hymn, I tend to prefer the earlier one by Skoog. The literal translation of "Blott en dag et ögonblik I sänder" really means "just one day, an eyeblink in time," is very difficult to translate into a good English sentence, but Skoog gets closer with “each passing moment.” Jesus came to be with us at all times and his life in us sanctifies all of our lives, not just when we are in church or at meetings. Luther taught us this in his doctrine of vocation. While it may have been used to keep people in their places, and the women’s movement rightly objected to a part of that, none of us can escape the dailiness of life. Without sleep, regular meals and love from our families and friends, life falls to pieces. That training gave me a sense for the habits of life. One is never done with meals, cleaning, rest and relaxation. To know that the Lord is with us in all of that, that he asks us to come to him and he will give us rest, and that he never asks more from us than we can bear, is a great comfort. “As thy days are so shall thy strength be!” What a marvelous promise to claim in our most stressful times. HYMN INFO Oscar Ahnfelt, who was always pestering Lina for texts, wrote this melody which has done a great deal to make the hymn one of the most beloved among Swedes, Swedish Americans, and millions of others who have come to love it through the Billy Graham team, among others. When she originally wrote it she wrote in the first stanza, “Han som bär for meg en moders hjärte/he who bore for me a mother’s heart. Almost from the first, the editors changed it to father. It is a little odd. Lina was not saying God was father or mother, but that he acted like a mother in giving us sustenance for each day. In Scandinavia they have restored that, but the newest American version has neither mother or father in order to avoid the issue altogether. The ironies of political correctness. The Swedish version has several more stanzas, but these three appear to be the ones used around the world. LINKS Carola with Iver Kleive at the keyboard, my absolute favorite, you can hear the “moders hjärte/mother’s heart” in her first stanza https://youtu.be/IPDjvXJpXzw Iver Kleive and Aage Kvalbein/cello and piano/lovely https://youtu.be/wozd7Zmt5p8 Piano version Sveinung Hølmebakk https://youtu.be/WpYJc5xqDoQ Mons Leidvin Takle piano and Hawaiian guitar https://youtu.be/BocmFwHVL-w Ben Pila Guitar version—maybe the way Ahnfeldt played it, lovely https://youtu.be/07C4k-YgX30 Sissel https://youtu.be/UVp9yqkRee0

HYMN FOR MICHAELMAS, ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS WEEK 18

September 29, Michaelmas Text: Gracia Grindal Tune: James E. Clemens. or Scottish Psalter The twilight, like a cloud has spread; O Lord, I need your light. It’s time for me to go to bed, And say my prayers tonight. Lord, let your angel hover near To watch with me tonight, Dispel my worries and my fear, And be my guiding light. Forgive the things I’ve left undone, The hurts I may have caused; I number them, regret each one, I count them, every loss. Wash them away, and let me rest Beneath your angel’s wings, At peace, asleep, and deeply blest With all the love you bring. Then waken me to light again With strength to serve you well, Refreshed and ready for the day To work to do your will. Copyright © 2015 Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc. REFLECTIONS “The Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael’s valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.” Michaelmas is an old marker of the year, as this old nursery rhyme has it, which is still observed in Europe, and unknowingly in America and around the world with small things, such as the end of the quarter—September 30—when financial markets give their reports and summations for the past three months. In a way it serves as something of a Christian version of the fall equinox, falling as it does so close to the beginning of autumn in nature. There are times for summing things up and reflecting on how things have gone and what they portend for the future. While such things perhaps are not so vital as they used to be when everyone lived much closer to the farm, we still depend on the harvest around the world and the farmers for our sustenance and in our own ways when we can or freeze the bounties of nature in our own kitchens. The rhythms of life cannot be overcome. And are best lived with in thanksgiving for the way God continues to provide. The marking of Michaelmas shows us the holiness of life as we live it in our daily rounds, always looking to be good stewards of what God has given. But there is more to the day. In European medieval times, when the darkness signaled an increased time for the devil to roam among us bringing chaos and dissolution (his favorite sport since he can do nothing positive) the people knew they needed the protections of St. Michael and all angels even more than they had in the bright summer. We still know evils in our midst, in fact, it feels maybe like evil and the wicked one are more active than ever. Martin Luther knew this and contended with the devil on a daily and personal basis. Luther, the opera by Kari Tikka, which you can see on DVD and Youtube, used a singer playing the devil in disguise for Luther’s enemies, Erasmus, and many others, (see the clip below.) A remarkably high tenor, he appeared slinking around Luther through the entire opera. Tikka reminded us in his drama that this is the way the devil works. Not just openly where we can see him, but in many disguises lurking around us to do us damage, either through sly intents, or even naively, trying to do good, but actually unloosing evil around us. For this we need St. Michael and all angels to hover over us and keep us safe. No wonder Luther’s morning and evening prayer ask for the Holy Angel to watch over us and keep us from the enemy. A good reminder morning and evening to pray for protection against the evil one whom Luther also tells us in his great Reformation hymn, one little word will fell. Praise be to Jesus! HYMN INFO This hymn I wrote for my series of hymns on the saints and festivals of the church year. St. Michael appears several times in Scripture and I have loved those appearances for my whole life. This one uses much of the imagery of Luther’s morning and evening prayers which Lutheran hymn writers from Paul Gerhardt on have used. James Clemens tune is a lovely way to sing it. LINKS The hymn can be sung to many tunes because it is in Common Meter (CM) I will link to several possibilities below. Enjoy the text to My God How Wonderful in the anthem arranged by Oscar Overby and Rene Clausen, two beloved versions of the hymn. Rene Clausen’s arrangement for choir https://youtu.be/S9KypMOKsF4 Concordia Chapel Choir https://youtu.be/p4VYf_DCkHk Another tune by the Boston Choral Ensemble https://youtu.be/AKUjA6k1enc for a thrill, listen to this, the Grace Song from Tikka's opera Luther, Erasmus as the devil https://youtu.be/7qd9tJ660_Q BONUS EVENING PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL Michael, Angel of the light Guardian angel through the night, Come into my darkened room, Take away my fear and gloom, Slay the dragon in the dark Bring your light and let it arc Through my fears and make me brave. Keep me strong, secure and safe, Watch above my bed and keep Guarding me while I’m asleep. Cast my scary nightmares out, Keep the one who roams about Far away so I can sleep Safely in your light and keep All the children safe tonight Wake them rested in the light Ready for the brand new day. Guard us as we go our way. Copyright © 2015 Gracia Grindal

HYMN FOR THE WEEK Pentecost 17 Holy Manna

Brethren we Have met to worship Text: George Askins d. 1816 Tune: William Moore 1790-1850 Sacred Harp 1 Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around. 2 Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumb'ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers,
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around. 3 Sisters, will you join and help us?
Moses' sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners
Who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior,
Tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around. 4 Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till our God makes all things new.
Then He'll call us home to heaven,
At His table we'll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself, and serve us
With sweet manna all around. REFLECTIONS
This is one of those old chestnuts that was very popular in the revivals of the 19th century and the Sacred Harp tradition, but not known in the main line churches. Its text with its address to brothers and sisters clearly makes one think of the evangelical tradition. What is clear in the text is that one comes to church to worship, and what that worship involves is repentance, finding a new life in the mercies of God. My colleague Walter Sundberg wrote a book on this called Worship is Repentance. (https://www.amazon.com/Worship-Repentance-Liturgical-Traditions-Consensus/dp/B00EQBX12I/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Walter+Sundberg&qid=1631981696&sr=8-1) The book, published by Eerdmans, looks at the way the Christian church has planned its worship services and the place of confession and absolution in those services. He ends with a reflection on how that major thread in the life of Christian worship has been overtaken by another movement that is not as focused on repentance as it is on celebration. This is an old argument which he traces carefully and with his typical depth and economy. The worship service described in this hymn, while clearly not descriptive of a typical Lutheran service today, does describe the struggles we as Christians must have with our sins. It is a struggle, a battle with the forces of the devil. Sometimes it feels like Christians have sued for peace with the devil over the past generation, missing. how the devil in sheep’s clothing deludes us into not seeing him, and making us call evil good and good evil. This battle is ongoing, daily and never ending until the final day. Thus we call for Jesus to be with us at all times. And what he brings is joy. Repentance brings us the joy of salvation. When we pray and struggle with sin together, God showers us with holy manna. That is what Christians do for each other, in holy conversations one on one, or in small groups, or in the worship service. We learn to name the evil one and rout him with the little word Luther speaks of in his great hymn A Mighty Fortress. These struggles are necessary, they make life vivid and rich because in these struggles Christ will always be present as we call upon him and name him. And in those struggles he gives us forgiveness and joy. Joy that springs from the deepest wells of salvation. It is what the religious leaders of the day hated about him. Jesus was joyful. He enjoyed dinners with all kinds. While John the Baptist’s disciples went into the wilderness and denied themselves, Jesus went to weddings and feasts with joy. There he would find sinners whom he could turn around toward his joy. He showed us the love that endures, that makes all things new and that finally will bring us to the paradise he has planned for us, a foretaste of which he gives us now whenever we hear and share his word. “Christ will gird Himself, and serve us/With sweet manna all around.” Amen! HYMN INFO
The author, George Askins, was born in Ireland, but emigrated to the United States early in his life. He was a Methodist and became an itinerant preacher where he wrote several hymn texts. We know little more about him. The tune Holy Manna is one of the more popular of the Sacred Harp tradition songs and was used in the LBW, for example, but with another text, God who Stretched the Spangled Heavens. The music committee of the LBW eschewed the music of Lowell Mason, the American composer who had fought the Sacred Harp tradition as being barbarous and preferred the folk nature of the Sacred Harp tradition. (What is considered good taste in one generation changes very quickly in the next.) Fascinating. William B Moore is thought to have been born in Tennessee. A composer he wrote tunes that appear in” Wyeth’s Repository” (1810). His tunes were collected in Columbian Harmony (1825). Some were also in William Walker’s Southern Harmony (1835). LINKS
Great American Gospel
https://youtu.be/21tEZzVK0Vo Clark Art Institute
https://youtu.be/rdiATBLqFDs The Marksmen Quartet https://youtu.be/EFwB487tOOA

HYMN FOR PENTECOST 16/You have come down to the Lakeshore

Mark 8: 27-38 Text and Tune: Cesáreo Gabaráin (1936-1991) (Text cannot be copied for reasons of copyright. See links below) REFLECTIONS The text for today is from Mark 8:27-38, the great encounter, known as the confession of Peter, in which Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is. When Peter announces that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus commends him for his confession. Jesus then tells the disciples that he will have to suffer and die on the cross. It horrifies Peter who rebukes the Lord. The Messiah should not suffer so. Jesus has a rebuke that echoes down history into our day. In fact, he even calls Peter Satan. Get thee behind me! he commands. Until I worked on this passage a bit more, I didn’t quite get what Jesus was saying when he said that, other than wanting Peter out of his sight. But that is not quite what scholars say he is doing. He is telling Peter—even Satan—to get behind him in order to follow him. Jesus is the leader. Any attempt on the part of Peter or others to get Jesus to deny his calling on earth needs to be called out. Jesus does so memorably in this passage. We cannot be saved if we do not follow him. Any thought we can save ourselves or especially the Messiah is straight from the devil whose only powers are to sow disorder and chaos in our midst. "Jesus then called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, 'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?'” Mark 8: 34-36 Here we have the truth for all time, both on earth and in heaven. There is only life in following behind our Lord, in his pathway, and in his company, at all times honoring him as Lord of our life. I have kept thinking of it during the pandemic when it seems we are trying to save our lives and thus losing them. Jesus calls us to throw ourselves into our daily lives here and live for others confident that he is in charge of our life and death. In fact, knowing that he has conquered death should give us confidence to live with vim and vigor. Life is on the other side as well as it is here. If we really believed that, how different our behavior might have been over the past year and a half! C. S. Lewis on facing nuclear annihilation advised us to live life to the fullest even in the face of unimaginable horrors because we know who holds the future. Let evil find us growing stronger in our faith, in our deeds of courage, rejoicing that he has come to us, as our hymn sung at the requiem mass for the 9/11 victims, says, down by the lakeshore, asking us to follow behind him, to leave our small boat and go out into the wild fresh seas of life glad because he has promised us life, now and forever. Of whom then shall we be afraid! HYMN INFO This hymn was sung at the requiem masss for the victims of 9/11 in St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York. When it began, the commentator who was speaking sotto voce behind the service explaining what was going on, drew a blank. He had never heard it before and needed more information. But already at that time, it had become a favorite of Catholics around the world. Pope John Paul II loved it and had it sung at many of the World youth services he led during his papacy. However, since then, it has been revealed that the author and composer was guilty of serious charges of pedophilia and he has since suffered disgrace. A Spanish priest active in the liturgical revival, he wrote both text and tune. That raises the question can a terrible sinner write a hymn that is faithful? All who write hymns are terrible sinners. This may spoil the hymn for you, and I in no way excuse any of his reported abuse. The hymn, with its lilting tune and text, however, does teach us who Jesus is and his calling for us to follow him, even if the writer did not glorify his Lord by his deeds, in fact, denied him. What to do? I don’t know, but I do know God can use sinners for his own dread purposes, however twisted they are. LINKS Hearts for God https://youtu.be/Kdsab4mm4nI First Plymouth First Congregation Church Lincoln, NE https://youtu.be/uLxgyWHTPBo University of Notre Dame Folk Choir https://youtu.be/mdXrgsqIZ8k Eilene Fiore https://youtu.be/srkJoKefYlw