Sermon

A Theory of Everything

Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021

 

 

 

Sunday, February 28, 2021
Second Sunday in Lent
Rev. Douglas duCharme
Eleanor Daley, Director of Music
Baritone – Giles Tomkins
Piano – Kate Tremills
Thank You Series
Amanda Hancox, Chair of Explore Spirituality

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture: Mark 8:27-38
Reader: Kathleen Maglary

 

Prelude Lift Every Voice and Sing           James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954)

 

 

Opening Hymn Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish – but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.
(Walter Chalmers Smith, 1824-1908)

 

Solo Teach Me Thy Song, O Lord           Craig Courtney (b. 1948)
Baritone – Giles Tomkins
Piano – Kate Tremills

Teach me Thy song, O Lord,
that song which graced creation’s dawn,
and bid the firmament unfurl;
that bathed the newborn world in uncreated light –
that song so bright.
Teach me Thy song, O Lord.

Teach me Thy song, O Lord,
that song which burst Thy Servant’s heart
to beat of blows upon the cross;
his pain and bitterest loss and death that should be mine –
his song was Thine.
Teach me Thy song, O Lord.

Teach me Thy song, O Lord,
that song which swirls to wreathe Thy throne,
and bears the prayers of all Thine own;
to Thee, and Thee alone by saints and angels raised,
Thy name to praise.
Teach me Thy Song, O Lord.
(Joel Nagy) 

 

Hymn In the Cross of Christ I Glory

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time:
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me;
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more lustre to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time:
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
(John Bowring, 1792-1872)

 

Anthem Peace Like a River           arr. Joel Raney (b. 1956)

I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.

I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.

I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.

I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.
(Peace Like a River – words: African-American spiritual;
Amazing Grace – words by John Newton 1779, and anon. 1790)

 

Closing Hymn Amazing Grace           arr. John Rutter (b. 1945) 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
(John Newton, 1725-1807)

 

Choral Commissioning O Lord, Throughout This Time of Lent           E. Daley (2019)
Fairlawn Avenue Senior Choir and congregation

 

 

Postlude I Can Tell the World           arr. Moses Hogan (1957-2003)
Nathaniel Dett Chorale
Conductor – Brainerd Blyden-Taylor

 

 

This morning’s solo text is reprinted under onelicense.net #A-717945. Teach Me Thy Song, O Lord – words by Joel Nagy, © 1991 Beckenhorst Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

♪ Music notes ♪

Lift Every Voice and Sing is a poem originally written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) in 1900. It was later set to music by his brother J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), for the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1905. The song is often referred to as “the Black national anthem” in the United States, for its power in voicing a cry for the liberation and affirmation of African-American people.

Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908) was a Scottish minister, hymnist, author and poet. Born in Aberdeen, he was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and furthered his studies at the University of Aberdeen and New College, Edinburgh. Chiefly remembered for his hymn Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise, he also served as the Moderator of the General Assembly for the Free Church of Scotland in 1893/1894.

Craig Courtney (b. 1948) is an internationally-renowned choral composer, arranger, pianist, accompanist, clinician, and choir director. A native of Indiana, he began playing the piano at the age of three and the cello at the age of eleven, and received a Bachelors and a Masters degree in piano performance at the University of Cincinnati. Following a three-year stay in Milan, Italy, where he studied the piano and worked extensively as a vocal coach, he was invited to join the music faculty of the famed Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. It was during this period, while serving in the music ministry of the Salzburg International Baptist Church, that Courtney began directing a church choir and composing sacred choral music, due to the unavailability of English language music.

John Bowring (1792-1872) was a British polymath, linguist, political economist, reformer, hymnist, writer and editor, Member of Parliament, and controversial Governor of Hong Kong. Among the most famous Unitarians of his time, he was also at the head of the world’s linguists, with a speaking knowledge of eight languages, reading and writing of seven, and working understanding of a further twenty-five dialects. From the 1820s onwards Bowring wrote hymns in large numbers, many of which were published. His most well known hymn, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” is in many Christian hymnbooks in the English-speaking world.

Joel Raney (b. 1956) grew up in a rural Baptist church in Alabama, where his love for the old hymns and the gospel style was fostered. From early “playing by ear” explorations to earning a Masters in Piano Performance from Juilliard, Joel’s keyboard training continued through work as an accompanist, in the theatre, as a pianist on TV commercials, and as a church organist. As a composer and producer of commercial music, he has written soundtracks for more than 2,000 television and radio commercials, plus numerous scores for short films. Today, Joel applies this lifetime of musical experience to the creation of sacred music. His hundreds of titles in print cover choral anthems for every church occasion, solo piano books, organ and piano duets, music for handbells, instrumental pieces and many other works. Since 2011, he has been Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church of Oak Park, Illinois.

John Newton (1725-1807) was an Anglican clergyman and abolitionist. He started his career at sea at a young age, and worked on slave ships in the slave trade for several years, but after experiencing a Christian conversion, Newton eventually renounced his trade and became ordained as an evangelical Anglican cleric. He became a prominent supporter of abolition and lived to see the UK’s abolition of the African slave trade in 1807, just before his death. Amazing Grace is his most well known hymn.

John Rutter (b. 1945) is an English composer, conductor, editor, arranger, and record producer, mainly of choral music. He studied music at Clare College, England, and later became the College’s first full-time Director of Music in 1975, leading the Choir to international prominence. In 1981 he founded his own professional choir, the Cambridge Singers, with which he has made many recordings of the sacred choral repertoire. Rutter’s music is very well known and much beloved in choral circles, and is performed worldwide. His larger-scale works – particularly his Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), and Magnificat (1990) are also well established in the choral repertoire, and the late Sir David Willcocks considered him to be the most gifted composer of his generation.

Moses Hogan (1957-2003) was an American pianist, conductor, composer and arranger of choral music, best known for his setting of spirituals. His works are celebrated and performed by high school, college, church, community and professional choirs across the globe. Hogan received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and also studied at the Julliard School of Music, and later, in Vienna. In 1997, he founded the “Moses Hogan Singers”; their first album was released in 2002. A year later, he tragically died of a brain tumour at the age of 45.

Music Sources:

Lift Every Voice and Sing James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson https://youtu.be/PHn2SSzZszU
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise https://youtu.be/ayWAv9vQGnc
Teach Me Thy Song, O Lord Craig Courtney https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRa2B7nw7og
In the Cross of Christ I Glory https://youtu.be/hx3FN7Cg8rk
Peace Like a River Joel Raney https://soundcloud.com/hope-publishing/14-peace-like-a-river-vocal-demo
Amazing Grace arr. John Rutter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nPKxxqXJvQ
I Can Tell the World arr. Moses Hogan https://youtu.be/IBwOAwsw_JQ