Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 2, 2018
Song of Solomon 2:8-13,4:1-5; Mark 7:1-8
VU 409 – Morning Has Broken (1931)
Born into a literary family in England in 1881, author Eleanor Farjeon earned her living as a poet, journalist and broadcaster. She was asked to create words for this tune by Percy Dearmer, editor of Songs of Praise, Enlarged Edition (London, 1931). It was originally entitled “Thanks for a Day”, indicating Farjeon’s awareness of the potential of each new day to recall the wonder of “the first morning” at Creation. A careful reading of the text indicates the author’s intention to evoke the Genesis creation story with several allusions. When the poem was published in The Children’s Bells (London, 1953), it was entitled “A Morning Song (For the First day of Spring)”, with the two references to God removed. This beautiful text became a pop hit in the 1970’s when recorded by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam).
The 19th century Gaelic melody, BUNESSAN, was reportedly collected by Alexander Fraser from the singing of a wandering Scottish highlander. It was first published in The Songs and Hymns of the Scottish Highlands (Edinburgh, 1888), adapted for use with Mary MacDougall MacDonald’s Gaelic text “Leanabh an Aigh! Leanabh bh’aig Mairi” translated as “Child in the Manger, Infant of Mary.”
MV 89 – Love Is the Touch (1998)
Our offertory is this lovely text by Scottish hymn poet Alison M. Robertson, set to AMOR DEI by John Bell. It comes to us from the Iona Community.
MV 102 – Jesus, Your Spirit in Us (2005)
Our prayer response comes to us from the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community in Taizé, France, which welcomes thousands of pilgrims each year from around the world to times of retreat and worship. The Taizé Community was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger, and brings together a hundred brothers from around the world who have chosen to live together a life of prayer and celibacy in simplicity. The unity of Christian denominations and care for young adults are among the commitments of the Community since its inception. The Taizé Community was founded in Taizé in 1940 by Brother Roger Schutz, with the goal of “building a life together in which the gospel of reconciliation would be a concretely lived reality.” During the war he helped people in difficulty and hosted German refugees. In 1942, the Gestapo threatened to arrest brother Roger, who fled to Switzerland until the end of the war. The Taizé Community began experimenting in the late 1950s and early 1960s with new musical forms for worship, simple songs intended as vehicles for prayer, written primarily in Latin at first and increasingly in the languages of the many pilgrims who attend each year. Songs from Taizé are now widely sung in churches throughout the world.
MV 30 – It’s a Song of Praise to the Maker (1992)
Our closing hymn is by Ruth Duck, a United Church of Christ (USA) minister, who is professor emerita of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, and a widely-published author of hymn texts, including 10 in Voices United and 10 in More Voices. This text invites us to hear the sounds of God’s creation as a hymn of praise.
The music is by Ron Klusmeier, prolific Canadian composer of hymn tunes and prominent United Church music leader.