This week both the Singers and the Choristers will help lead worship. The Choristers are singing a song by Mark Patterson called This Is the Day, based on Psalm 118. For the Offertory, the Singers will sing Now Join We to Praise the Creator by Michael Bedford. Both of these anthems explore the theme of thanksgiving, for God’s creation and for the blessings of the harvest while lamenting hunger and misuse of land. Roger Authers is our guest organist this Sunday. He is playing Prelude on ‘Down Ampney’ by British composer Henry Ley. Down Ampney is a hymn tune that you might know with the words Come Down, O Love Divine. Roger is also playing Alla Breve by French composer Nicholas Gigault.
This fall a dozen adults have made the effort to try something new. On Thursday mornings we have met together to sing, move and play instruments during Life-Long Song. We began meeting weekly on September 8 from 11:00 am-noon. We will conclude with our last meeting of the semester on November 10. The participants have enjoyed the singing, the fellowship, and the joy of making music. When the group reflected this morning on the benefits of this gathering they expressed how this is not an intimidating group, the fellowship and fun are primary, and that really, one does not need any particular skills to enjoy this time together. You are encouraged to consider joining us when we reconvene on Thursday, March 9 at 11:00 am in room 208.
In honor of All Saints’ day, that occurs every November 1st, the adult choir is singing a traditional song from South Africa, Ipharadisi. The translation of the text is: Paradise, where all the dead are living, may we one day join them all there. The choir will also sing the well-known African-American spiritual Every Time I Feel the Spirit, arranged by William Dawson. This anthem was chosen to culminate our stewardship season, with a celebration of the Spirit on our pledge dedication Sunday.
The organ music during communion this morning is a setting of “Nun rühen alle Wälder” by the Dutch organist Jacques van Oortmerssen. This chorale — “Now all the forests are quiet” — is an evening hymn by the 17th-century theologian Paul Gerhardt. The same melody was also used for the chorale “O Welt, ich muß dich lassen” (“O world, I now must leave thee”). Van Oortmerssen was organist at the Waalse Kerk in Amsterdam and professor of organ at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. He died unexpectedly last November. His chorale setting was a contribution to the Orgelbüchlein Project, an ongoing project to provide organ settings by contemporary composers of all of the chorales which Bach had planned to include in his Orgelbüchlein but never finished.
Every time that I sing Know That God Is Good with the children of our church I am reminded of the truth of that statement. They sing the verses in English and Swahili, and end with a joyful Hallelujah. If there is drumming involved they are even more enthusiastic. During the choristers rehearsal the children all get a chance to play the drum while we sing. As each child has the drum placed in front of them, they turn their attention to keeping a steady beat. This skill takes a lot of concentration to master, and they focus all of their energy to the task. My hope is that the skills that they learn through singing in choristers, Sunday school, and worship will ground them in their faith. The steady beat that resonates through the drum will guide them in their faith journey. The rainbow bulletin board that the children created in the choir room is a visual to remind us all of the goodness of God that can be found in all people. That is why our rainbow is made of many hand shapes. May you see the goodness of God in the people that you encounter this week. And if you are struggling to see the good, take a look at all the children and youth of our church and they sing, pray, praise, and play.