Archive for the ‘Music Ministry at Trinity’ Category

This was sung by our choir last night at an evensong.  I was struck by the intense desire to “depart and be with Christ” (Phil 1.23) and found myself wondering what Bach was going through to give him such deep insight into the emptiness of worldly pleasure contrasted with the exceeding majesty of Christ.  Read the whole thing as a devotional excercise.  Perhaps if the recording equipment worked out well then I will post our choir singing it.  As for now, you’ll just have to read it.  It is deeply moving. 


Come, sweet hour of death,

when my spirit

feeds on honey

from the lion’s mouth;

make my departure sweet,

do not delay,

last night

so that I may kiss my savior


World, your pleasure is a burden

I hate your sweetness as if it were a poison,

your joyful light

is my star of ill omen

and where your roses are gathered

there are thorns beyond counting

to cause my soul anguish

Pale death is for me the glow of dawn

with which arises for me the sun

of glory and heavenly delight.

Therefore I truly sigh from the bottom of my heart

only for the final hour of death. 

I desire to pasture soon with Christ,

I desire to depart from this world


My longing

is to embrace the saviour

and soon to be with Christ.

although as mortal ashes and earth

I may be crushed by death,

the pure light of my soul will

Then be resplendent like the angels.


The decisions already made,

World, goodnight!

and if I can only gain consolation

by dying soon in Jesus’ arms,

He is my sweet sleep.

The cool tomb will cover me with roses

until Jesus awakens me,

until he leads his sheep

to the sweet pastures of life

so death does not separate me from him!

Therefore dawn, sweet day of death,

therefore sound, stroke of the last hour!


If it is the will of my God

I wish that the burden of my body

may this day fill the earth

and that my spirit, the body’s guest,

may be clothed in immortality

in the sweet joy of heaven.

Jesus, come take me from here!

May this be my last word.


The body indeed in the earth

will be eaten by worms,

but it will be awakened,

transfigured in beauty through Christ

it will shine like the sun

and live without anguish

in the joy and delight of heaven.

What harm then can death do to me?

February 1, 2009
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
A Light to Enlighten the Nations
Eucharistic prayers from different provinces of the Anglican Communion on each Sunday of the Epiphany season as a reminder that God reveals himself to the whole world in his Son, Jesus Christ.  This week: Prayers from the Church in India
This Week’s Lessons
Beginning with the leading of a star to the manger in Bethlehem and the voice of God announcing the Beloved Son on the banks of the Jordan River, Epiphany is a season of revelation.  As Jesus begins his ministry, his words and actions continue to “peel back the layers” of who he is and what God is up to. 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111 (Anglican Chant: H. Walford Davies)
He makes his marvelous works to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. (v. 4)
Luke 4:31-37
This Week’s Hymns
436 Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates (Truro)
The use of this hymn today is suggested by Luke 4:32, “They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority.”  As Jesus teaches, heals, and casts out demons, the people begin to wonder about who he is—though it should be noted that the demons know immediately—and this hymn answers the question.  The original German text, “Macht hoch die Tur,” was written by the Lutheran pastor Georg Weissel (1590-1635).  The familiar and elegant English version is reminiscent of the stirring final verses of Psalm 24: “Lift up your heads, O gates; lift them high, O everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.”  The translator is the indefatigable Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), by whose efforts so many 17th century German texts made their way into 19th century English hymnals. 
The regal tune ‘Truro’ is named for the ancient cathedral city in Cornwall, the county on the peninsula that forms the southwest tip of Great Britain.  Its composer is unknown, and it was first published in London in 1789 with the words “Now to the Lord a noble song,” a hymn by Isaac Watts that has since fallen into disuse. 
567 Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old (St. Matthew)
We could easily sing this hymn every week through the whole season because it is pretty much a full summary of chapters 4-8 in Luke put into rhyme and set to music.  Particularly germane to this week’s lessons is the opening line, “Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old was strong to heal and save” as well as the reference in stanza 2 to the frenzied spirits calmed.  And it isn’t any wonder that the text of the hymn so closely follows the text of the Bible when one considers the credentials of its author, Edward Hayes Plumptre.  Educated at University College, Oxford in the 1840’s, he became quite a scholar and held teaching appointments and both Oxford and Cambridge but he continued to be active in pariah ministry until the end of his life. (more…)

Resonet in Laudibus
A weekly newsletter for the Music Ministry of
Trinity Episcopal Church

…to inspire all people through the power of the Gospel
to become living members of the Body of Christ

November 23, 2008
Christ the King
This Week’s Lessons
Ezekiel 34:11-17
Psalm 95:1-7 (Anglican Chant: Hurd)
Luke 23:32-43
Most of the feast days on our calendar commutate some event: Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany, the Transfiguration, and so forth.  A few feasts, like The Holy Trinity or All Saints, remind us of some doctrine or teaching of the church.  Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church year, is unique among all of these observances in that it commemorates something that has not yet happened; that is, Christ’s coming in final victory to gather his people unto himself and to reign over them as King.  The context for this celebration is that the passion and death of Christ on the cross seals this victory for him and for us, and that we have a King who reigns from the Cross. (more…)

In February I was faced with the predicament of hiring a Choir Master and organist, something I admittedly knew NOTHING about.  Thanks to God’s grace and a committed and talented search committee, we found Mark and hired him over the summer.  As you can see below, “traditional” worship is far more than pretty music to Mark, but something of rich theological depth and sophistication that he has quite intentionally applied in the selections for this Sunday.  I will be including his e-newsletter on the blog from now on under the special heading “Music Ministry at Trinity”.  Make sure you get to his description of hymn 608 towards the bottom.  Excellent.

Resonet in Laudibus
A weekly newsletter for the Music Ministry of
Trinity Episcopal Church

…to inspire all people through the power of the Gospel
to become living members of the Body of Christ

November 2, 2008
Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity
This Week’s Lessons
Acts 27:1, 13-20, 33-38
After a lengthy cruise that can only be described as something between the USS Caine and the Titanic, Paul reassures his companions and convinces them to eat. In breaking bread and sharing fellowship, the entire company receives encouragement; the entire episode is strongly reminiscent of Jesus’s appearance to his disciples on the beach after his resurrection in John 21. Almost all of the hymns and anthems today tie into this bread theme: both metaphorically as God’s sustaining nourishment to his people, and literally as the bread of Christ’s body in the Eucharist.