The gift of sight bestowed upon us by the Risen Christ – lighting the Way.
The lovely "Meditation from 'Thais'" by Jules Massenet warmly greets morning worshipers at the 9:00 service with violinist Harmony Tucker joining. Songs from the Celtic and Iona traditions lead to John Lennon's classic tune of unity and new vision in "Imagine."
The 11:00 service begins with the ringing of bells in the classic hymn of praise and light "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" arranged by Hal Hopson. The Chancel Choir sings Will Todd's "Lighting the Way," a musical theater-inspired work subtitled by the composer as a "A Song for Pilgrims." At service's end, the great Lutheran hymn of praise "Lobe den Herren" (the tune paired with the text "Sing Praise to God, Who Has Shaped" in The New Century Hymnal) is offered in a glorious chorale prelude setting by Baroque composer Johann Gottfried Walther.
Now the green blade rises from the buried grain.
Wheat that in dark earth for many days has lain.
Love lives again, that with the dead has been.
Love is come again like wheat that rises green.
-John Crum, alt.
The resurrection imagery of new life emerging from the earth in the Easter hymn "Now the Green Blade Rises" applies beautifully to this Sunday's Earth Day celebration. Songs of nature and beauty also remind us that we also are the soil of God nurturing seeds to become better stewards of God's creation and its people.
A light-hearted kid-friendly Easter 2 service at 9:00 a.m. begins with a message of environmental stewardship in "Colors of the Wind" from Disney's Pocohontas. An eclectic mix of folk, jazz, and even a spot from the organ in a quirky Emma Lou Diemer setting of the hymn "All Things Bright and Beautiful" takes us to the Sending Song "A Place in the Choir" by Bill Staines. You'll be invited to join us on the refrain of this ode to "all God's critters"! Bassist Peter Strening and vocalist/banjoist Lucas Jackson join us.
At 11:00 a.m., two selections from Flor Peeters' nature-inspired Lied (German for "song") Symphony for Organ will be offered. "Lied to the Flowers" is a variation on an original theme presented in a cascade of timbres from the organ much like the beautiful variances of flowers in nature. "Lied to the Mountains" is a stately majestic work of nobility and strength with a hint of mysteriousness in the unsettled middle section.
The Chancel Choir sings the praises of rebirth on a fresh new day in Mark Hayes' anthem "In the Morning, Joy."
Music of Passiontide and the Paschal season as we journey through the Triduum and, at long last, arrive at Easter Sunday.
The Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service begins with a mystical ode to the mysteries of the Eucharist in Olivier Messaien's "Le Banquet Céleste" (the celestial banquet). The Chancel Choir offers "What Wondrous Love Is This" in a contemplative setting by Peter Stearns. Lenten chants from the Taizé tradition will be beautifully embellished with vocal and instrumental descants by members of the Chancel Choir and violinist Harmony Tucker and cellist Aaron Dunigan-Atlee.
On Good Friday, we reflect on the ministry of Jesus and the crucifixion in a time of readings, scripture, prayer, and music of Passiontide from the organ. Works by Jehan Alain, J.S. Bach, Johannes Brahms, Pamela Decker, Jeanne Demessieux, and Ludwig Lenel will be prayerfully offered.
On Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection with a joyful musical potpourri featuring the Plymouth Brass, Plymouth Ringers, Chancel Choir, and the roar of the organ! Easter carols will be aplenty including two settings of the Palestrina tune "Victory" (most associated with the text "The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done") for brass quintet and organ and my own arrangement for handbells at communion — a gentle fanfare expressing Easter's accompanying quiet joy and assurance. The Chancel Choir offers the simple message of "Christ Jesus Is Arisen" in a Renaissance-inspired arrangement by Michael Burkhardt. Finally, the Easter celebration closes with the ecstatic expression of exhilarating joy in Jean Langlais' "Acclamations," the final movement of his "Suite Médiévale" based on the two-note motif of the Gregorian Chant "Christus Vincit" (Christ victorious.)
Ride on, ride on, God's love demands. Justice and peace lie in your hands.
Evil and angel voices rhyme: you are the man and this the time.
On this Palm Sunday morning, the time is right for God's plan of salvation to take hold in our lives as it was in the events that unfolded several millennia ago. Join us this Sunday as we begin our own entrance into the solemn and introspective time of Holy Week.
At the 9:00 service, the inspired texts and music of John Bell and the Iona Community are shared with cellist and cantor Lucas Jackson, guitarist Alan Skowron, and bassist Peter Strening. Our Lenten pilgrimage theme song "Full to the Brim" by Paul Demer is also offered at service's end.
At the 11:00 service, the stately splendor of entrance and exit (even if only in the perception of bystanders...) is explored in two pieces at the Prelude and Postlude: "Processional in D" by David Johnson and "Recessional" by Robert Hughes. The Chancel Choir offers exclamations of "Hosanna" in a setting by Alfred Fedak—and you are invited to join in!