Religion, Science and the Pandemic II: Who Sinned?

Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ambury Stuart


Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Rev. Dr. Ambury Stuart
Eleanor Daley, Director of Music
Soprano – Amy Dodington



Scripture : Luke 10:25-37 and John 9:1-41
Read by: Vicki Stuart


Prelude Arioso from Cantata BWV 156          J. S. Bach (1685-1750)


Opening Hymn Thou Whose Almighty Word

Thou whose almighty word
Chaos and darkness heard,
And took their flight,
Hear us, we humbly pray;
And where the gospel day
Sheds not its glorious ray,
Let there be light.

Thou who didst come to bring,
On thy redeeming wing,
Healing and sight,
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind.
O now to humankind
Let there be light.

Spirit of truth and love,
Life-giving, holy dove,
Speed forth thy flight;
Move on the water’s face,
Bearing the lamp of grace,
And in earth’s darkest place
Let there be light.

Blessèd and holy three,
Glorious trinity,
Wisdom, love, might,
Boundless as ocean’s tide
Rolling in fullest pride,
Through the earth far and wide
Let there be light.
(James Marriott, 1780-1825)


Anthem Open Thou Mine Eyes           E. Daley (2006)

The Choir of St. Barnabas Church A.&M., Ottawa, Ontario
Conductor – Wesley Warren

Open thou mine eyes and I shall see:
Incline my heart and I shall desire:
Order my steps and I shall walk
In the ways of thy commandments.
O Lord God, be thou to me a God
And beside thee let there be none else,
No other, naught else with thee.
Vouchsafe to me to worship thee and serve thee
According to thy commandments,
In truth of spirit, in reverence of body,
In blessing of lips, in private and in public.
(Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626)


Hymn Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Praise the one who breaks the darkness
With a liberating light.
Praise the one who frees the prisoners,
Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel,
Healing every dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands
With the very bread of peace.

Praise the one who blessed the children
With a strong yet gentle word.
Praise the one who drove out demons
With a piercing two-edged sword.
Praise the one who brings cool water
To the desert’s burning sand.
From this well comes living water,
Quenching thirst in every land.

Let us praise the Word incarnate;
Christ who suffered in our place.
Jesus died and rose victorious
That we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness,
Seeing what our God has done.
Let us praise the true Redeemer,
Praise the One who makes us one.
(Rusty Edwards, b. 1955)


Soprano – Amy Dodington – Come Unto Him (from Messiah)           G. F. Handel (1685-1759)


Come unto Him all ye that labour,
come unto Him that are heavy laden,
and He will give you rest.
Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him,
for He is meek and lowly of heart,
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(Matthew 11:28-29)


Anthem Steadfast          Craig Courtney (b. 1948)

Lord, through all the generations
You have been our dwelling place.
Ever true and ever faithful,
Showing mercy, love and grace.

You are steadfast, You are steadfast, Lord.
You are steadfast. Steadfast is Your love, O Lord.

Water from the rock You offer,
Bread of Heaven from above.
Strength each day, new every morning,
Hope in Your redeeming love.

You are steadfast, You are steadfast, Lord.
You are steadfast. Steadfast is Your love, O Lord.

When my soul by doubt is darkened,
In the valley of despair,
Walking in the vale of shadows,
I can feel Your presence there.
Your compassion never failing,
Steadfast is Your love, O Lord.
You alone deserve our praises,
You are worshipped and adored.

You are steadfast, You are steadfast, Lord,
You are steadfast. Steadfast is Your love, O Lord.
(Susan Bentall Boersma)


Closing Hymn Ye Servants of God

Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,
And publish abroad His wonderful Name;
The name all-victorious of Jesus extol;
His Kingdom is glorious, and rules over all.

God ruleth on high, almighty to save;
And still He is nigh, His presence we have;
The great congregation His triumph shall sing,
Ascribing salvation to Jesus our King.

Salvation to God, who sits on the throne!
Let all cry aloud and honour the Son:
The praises of Jesus the angels proclaim,
Fall down on their faces, and worship the Lamb.

Then let us adore, and give Him His right,
All glory and power, all wisdom and might,
All honour and blessing with angels above,
And thanks never ceasing, and infinite love. Amen.
(Charles Wesley, 1707-1788)


Postlude The Blessing (Canada)


This morning’s hymn and anthem texts are reprinted under #A-717945. Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness – words by Rusty Edwards, © 1987 Hope Publishing Co. Steadfast – words by Susan Bentall Boersma, © 2019 Beckenhorst Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

♪ Music notes ♪

J. S. Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer of the Baroque period (ca. 1600-1750). He lived in Protestant north Germany in the days when music there made up an important part of the splendour of courts, of religious observance, and the daily happiness of the people. Over the course of his life, he held numerous posts: choir-boy, violinist in the orchestra of a prince, organist of town churchs, and chief court musician. His last position was as music director at the St. Thomas Church and School in Leipzig, of which city his name is chiefly connected, since he remained there for almost the last thirty years of his life. He played many instruments, and as a clavichordist, harpsichordist, and organist, was supreme in his day. He was an extremely prolific composer and produced monumental instrumental compositions as the Art of the Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations, as well as cantatas, motets, sacred songs and arias, sonatas, concertos, suites, and an enormous amount of organ and other keyboard music. Two of Bach’s best known large choral works are the St. Matthew Passion and the Mass in B Minor, and since the 19th-century Bach revival, in no small part, thanks to Felix Mendelssohn, he is now regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. Bach was twice married, and the parent of twenty (!) children, several of whom were also musicians.

James Marriott (1780-1825) was an English Anglican clergyman and poet. Although he wrote several hymns, the only one that survives is Thou Whose Almighty Word. It is thought to have been written in 1813 and was published posthumously in The Friendly Visitor in 1825 with the title Missionary Hymn.

Open Thou Mine Eyes was commissioned in 2006 by Norma Mellon (1947-2018) for the Choir of the Church of St. Barnabas A.&M., Ottawa, Ontario, Wesley Warren, Organist and Choirmaster, and was premiered on the Feast of St. Barnabas, Sunday, June 11, 2006. This morning’s anthem features the choir’s recording from the 2010 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs, in which they won first prize in the liturgical choir category.

Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) was an English bishop and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. During the latter’s reign, Andrewes was the top translator and overseer of the King James Version of the Bible. He was considered to be one of the most learned churchman of his day, and enjoyed a great reputation as an eloquent and impassioned preacher, but the stiffness and artificiality of his style render his sermons unsuited to modern taste. Nevertheless, there are passages of extraordinary beauty and profundity. Andrewes’ writings continue to influence religious thinkers to the present day, and modern writers as diverse as T. S. Eliot and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. have called him one of the great literary English writers.

Rusty Edwards (b. 1955) is a hymn writer who was born in Dixon, Illinois. He has been an ordained minister for over 27 years, and is currently the Senior Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Marietta, Georgia. Over two dozen of his hymns have been published in 70 books used by 36 denominations in Australia, Canada, China, England, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, and the USA.

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759) was born in Halle, Germany. One of the most prolific, successful and revered composers and musicians of the Baroque period, he is to this day considered to be one of the greatest composers of that era, enjoying both public favour and royal patronage during his lifetime. Despite his eagerness to become a musician, he was disallowed by his father, and so had to conduct his musical training in secret. After spending a brief spell in Italy studying law to appease his father, but at the same time expanding his musical pursuits while out of his father’s control and knowledge, Händel was appointed as Kapellmeister for Prince George of the German Hanoverian family in 1710. He moved with Prince George to London, England, where the prince was crowned King George I of Great Britain and Ireland. At this point Händel became George Frederic Handel, and in 1712 he decided to settle in England permanently, receiving an annual income of £200 from the royal family. His compositional output was immense: 42 operas, 29 oratorios (including Messiah, which has taken its rightful place as one of the most frequently performed and most beloved choral works of all time), more than 120 cantatas, duets, trios, arias, anthems, chamber music, organ works, sonatas and concertos. Three days before his death in 1759 Handel signed a codicil to his will saying he hoped he might be buried in Westminster Abbey, and desired that his executor erect a monument for him. The funeral was attended by about 3,000 people and the choirs of Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Chapel Royal sang the service. His black marble gravestone in the south transept reads: GEORGE FREDERIC HANDEL BORN YE 23 FEBRUARY 1685 DIED YE 14 OF APRIL 1759.

Craig Courtney 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.

Susan Bentall Boersma was born and educated in Michigan and began her study of music with her parents, both of whom were performing artists. Her piano/organ/voice studies continued while attending Hope College. She has served as accompanist for college choirs and touring groups as well as for various solo artists and community choirs; has led workshops on music and worship, and has held positions as pianist, choral director and director of music ministries at churches in Michigan, Wisconsin, Vermont and Ohio. Susan often collaborates as a lyricist with composers Craig Courtney, Lloyd Larson and Mark Hayes, to name a few – on both sacred and school repertoire.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was an English leader of the Methodist movement, most widely known for writing about 6,500 hymn texts. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, and after graduating with a master’s degree in classical languages and literature, Charles followed his father and brother into Anglican orders in 1735. He was a younger brother of Methodist founder John Wesley, and Anglican cleric Samuel Wesley the Younger, the father of musician Samuel Wesley, and the grandfather of musician Samuel Sebastian Wesley.


Music Sources:

Arioso from Cantata BWV 156 J. S. Bach
Thou Whose Almighty Word
Open Thou Mine Eyes E. Daley
Steadfast Craig Courtney
Ye Servants of God

Image Sources:

Sunrise photograph by A. Stuart
Sunrise video by A. Stuart