Musical Notes ♫♬ (Archive)
Our music this week has been chosen with extra care to reflect our grateful response to the saints in our lives. The prelude is an arrangement of the favorite hymn TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA (Children of the Heavenly Father) in honor of the Swedish ancestors who founded GA back in 1865. It's a real testimony to the power of faith, prayer, hard work and a good idea. With God anything is possible.
For my money THE hymn that summarizes this special Sunday is "For All The Saints". The tune that we sing and know was composed by well known English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams which he called Sine Nomine (without name) in reference to its use in the Lutheran Church for All Saints Sunday. I love this idea of "Sine Nomine" because it implies that all of us are saints of God and not just the lovely folks who have been canonized. This also means that any act, no matter how small, could be considered the work of a saint. Think about that the next time you offer someone a kind word or a cup of coffee. A bit of trivia for you music enthusiasts-this hymn originally had 11 verses (!!). The ELW only contains 7 (which we are splitting up for the opening and closing hymn).
Vaughn Williams intended verses 1,2,3,7 to be sung in unison with organ accompaniment with verses 4,5, and 6 set to be sung in harmony. The new printing of the pew edition of the ELW does not reflect this but if you listen closely you'll hear a subtle change in the harmonization in the organ accompaniment.
Our hymn of the day is "Blest Are They" by David Haas. Many of you have expressed that this is one of your favorite hymns. The text is taken from the beatitudes, the teachings of Jesus that appear in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The word 'beatitude' comes from the Latin adjective beatus meaning happy, fortunate or blissful. Both David Haas and Marty Haugen (another GA top 10 composer) are two of the most prolific and well known composers of contemporary Christian church music today. Some critics finds their music too 'folky' in sound. While that may be, I would argue that their use of text and tune is relevant to the times and the tunes are easy to sing. Plus, I find myself humming their beautiful music during the week which means that something in their compositional technique sticks with you and that isn't a bad thing!
Finally, the GA Choir and the GA Sunday School will be singing our offertory anthem this week. It is an arrangement of "I Sing A Song Of The Saints of God" by Lesbia Scott. Scott was a prolific writer of hymns for children and would sing them to her own children as a young mother in her 20's. Her collection was published in 1929 under the title "Everyday Hymns for Little Children", which she also illustrated. The hymn is popular in the states in the Episcopal Church, which has been in their hymnal since the 1940's. I first learned of this sweet song while serving as an the Organ Scholar/Intern at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Missoula, Montana. It was a perennial favorite and I'm sure you'll enjoy hearing our littlest saints singing along.
Peace, Gretchen Mundinger