A Christmas Eve present. Today, the chimes sound like “Ode to joy.”
About the video
For their 130th anniversary, Spanish finance group BancSabadell commissioned a symphony orchestra flash mob at a city square in Sabadell, Spain. The Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the choirs of Lieder, Friends of l’Opera and the Choral Belles Arts performed beautifully in this month old video that already (July 1, 2012) has over 460,000 views
When you have about an hour and a half and feel somewhat in a meditative mood, check out this YouTube presentation from UCTV, University of California Television. Dr. Jeremy S. Begbie takes even a non-musician (like me) into the world of music and in his talk opens, in a new way, the “speech” of the Spirit as recorded in our Bible. I wanted to hear more.
May you find yet another way to hear what the Spirit is saying.
“In a fascinating multimedia presentation, Jeremy Begbie, Professor of Music, Cambridge University, expounds upon the relationship between music and theology. Series: “Let There Be Light” [10/2003] [Humanities] [Show ID: 7906]”
In the Sunday Forum (10/16/11) we talked about the glory of God in the face of God; glory beyond human capacity to assimilate. Mose could only see the backside of God and live (Exodus 33:20-23). David remembered a hymn in which we sing our prayer to God to see the face of Christ when looking upon us (see verse 2). Glory looking upon Glory. Isn’t that a prayer worth singing?
And now, O Father, mindful of the love
that bought us, once for all, on Calvary’s tree,
and having with us him that pleads above,
we here present, we here spread forth to thee,
that only offering perfect in thine eyes,
the one true, pure, immortal sacrifice.
Look Father, look on his anointed face,
and only look on us as found in him;
look not on our misusings of thy grace,
our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim:
for lo! between our sins and their reward,
we set the passion of thy Son our Lord.
And then for those, our dearest and our best,
by this prevailing presence we appeal;
O fold them closer to thy mercyís breast!
O do thine utmost for their soulís true weal!
From tainting mischief keep them pure and clear,
and crown thy gifts with strength to persevere.
And so we come; O draw us to thy feet,
most patient Savior, who canst love us still!
And by this food, so awesome and so sweet,
deliver us from every touch of ill:
in thine own service make us glad and free,
and grant us nevermore to part from thee.
Words: William Bright (1824–1901), alt.
Music: Unde et memores, William Henry Monk (1823–1889)
This is Hymn 337 in the Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church. Lately we have talked a lot about hymns and their role in shaping and defining and encouraging our faith; check these out:
Please continue the conversation begun on Sunday by leaving a comment to share. We welcome your responses.
Over the past several weeks we have talked about music in the Sunday Morning Forum. We have shared how words and music combined in hymns to thrill us, inform us, inspire us, encourage us, and so much more. In the Forum and in this blog I’ll continue to share your musical insights.
Richard wrote to me “It’s true there is a huge amount of power in music. I have several favorites. My first choice would have to be “How Great Thou Art”. When ever I hear it I feel completely at one with the Universe and it’s celebration which never ends.” How Great Thou Art is in our Episcopal hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing II (No. 60)
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Send him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God how great thou art.
Words: Stuart K. Hine (b. 1899)
Music: Swedish Folk Melod; arr. Stuart K. Hine
Keep sharing your favorites (add a little note about why) and we’ll keep this conversation going. The Spirit is singing now!
Paul exclaimed, “I want to know Christ…” (Philippians 3:10). On Sunday 10/2/2011 we explored this statement in our Sunday Morning Forum. “How do YOU know Christ? Where have YOU encountered Christ?” were among the questions we asked, sharing our answers around the table.
Once again, music was mentioned, specifically hymns used in worship, as a place of encounter and inspiration and knowledge. Bill shared one of his favorites, which happens to follow our readings from Philippians pretty closely: “Can we by searching find out God or formulate his ways?” which Hymn 476 in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal.
Here are the lyrics
Can we by searching find out God
or formulate his ways?
Can numbers measure what he is
or words contain his praise?
Although his being is too bright
for human eyes to scan,
his meaning lights our shadowed world
through Christ, the Son of Man.
Our boastfulness is turned to shame,
our profit counts as loss,
when earthly values stand beside
the manger and the cross.
There God breaks in upon our search,
makes birth and death his own;
he speaks to us in human terms
to make his glory known. 
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying. Share your favorite hymn of encounter, inspiration, encouragement, or knowledge by leaving a reply and continuing the Sunday conversation here.
 Words: Elizabeth Cosnett (b. 1936), alt.
Music: Epworth, melody att. Charles Wesley (1757–1834), alt.; harm. Martin Fallas Shaw (1875–1958), alt.
Continuing the conversation about music and faith, Barbara wrote (and permitted me to share) this:
My MOST favorite hymn is “Here I Am Lord”. I used that hymn as “my song” when I gave my talk on laity at a Cursillo some time ago. I still love it!
Here are the lyrics:
I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in deepest sin
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me,
I will hold your people in my heart.
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my peopleís pain.
I have wept for love of them,
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send? Refrain
I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send? Refrain
Hymn 812 in the Episcopal hymnal Wonder, Love, and Praise
Words: Daniel L. Schutte
Music: Daniel L. Schutte
This response is part of our conversation begun on Sunday morning, September 25th. Do you have a favorite hymn or 2? Share them with the group. Let us continue the conversation that Paul started long ago by quoting a hymn in his letter to the Philippians.
Sometimes the melody is all it takes to move my heart into the heart of God (or God’s heart into mine). Though I love to sing the words of this hymn and make them real by my actions, it is the melody which both embraces me and sends me heavenward.
Continuing the conversation begun on Sunday (9/25) “Be thou my vision” is the song I share today:
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
all else be nought to me, save that thou art;
thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father; thine own may I be;
thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.
High King of heaven, when victory is won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Hymn 488 in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982
Words: Irish, ca. 700; versified Mary Elizabeth Byrne (1880–1931); tr. Eleanor H. Hull (1860–1935), alt.
Music: Slane, Irish ballad melody; adapt. The Church Hymnary, 1927; harm. David Evans (1874–1948)