The choir is on summer vacation; there is no introit.
"This Is My Father's World," hymn no. 293, is the opening hymn.
The words are by Maltbie Davenport Babcock who was born at Syracuse, NY, on 03 Aug 1858. (His mother was Emily Maltbie, and Emily's mother was Nancy Davenport; hence her son's name.) He was a graduate of Syracuse University in 1879. He then studied theology at Auburn Theological Seminary, graduating in 1882. He first served a congregation at Lockport, NY. He was the pastor of Brown Memorial Church in Baltimore from 28 Sep 1887 until 17 Jan 1900, when he left to serve the prestigious Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. (He succeeded Dr. Henry Van Dyke, who had been the pastor there from 1883 to 1900. Henry Van Dyke is the author of the words of "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.")
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography says, "He was a clear thinker and a fluent speaker with a marvelous personal magnetism which appealed to all classes of people . . ."
He died at Naples, Italy, on 18 May 1901, at age 42.
None of the biographies revealed how he died, but I discovered it by looking up the newspapers of the day. It was a suicide. He developed "Mediterranean fever" while on a homeward voyage from Constantinople after visiting the Holy Land. On 08 May 1901, his group reached Naples, and he was taken to the International Hospital there, suffering from "neurasthenia and gastric fever." He became "much depressed in spirits" and was, at times, delirious. On 18 May 1901, he "was seized with an acute attack of mania. He locked his door" (he had a private room) and then committed suicide by swallowing corrosive sublimate (used to treat wounds before bandaging) and cutting an artery of his wrist with a knife.
Another paper said that "homesickness is blamed in part for the suicide," also saying that he was suffering from gastric fever and "extreme melancholia." Mrs. Babcock was called to the hospital,
"and on the awful news being broken to her was almost demented with grief. She threw herself on the body in a paroxysm of weeping, and it was only by the use of force that she was finally compelled to leave it."
"Dr. Babcock left no letter or any hint of any reason for the awful occurrence. The hospital authorities, however, have no doubt that the act was committed while the patient was temporarily demented as the result of the fever."
He was to be buried in the British cemetery at Naples, but ultimately his body was shipped back to America on May 30, 1901, and he was buried in Syracuse (Oakwood cemetery) on 13 Jun 1901. His will bequeathed his estate to his wife, Katherine, but it was found to have a value of only $1,000. The Brick Presbyterian Church was criticized for having failed to have provided their pastor with life insurance.
Rev. Maltbie Davenport Babcock
The tune, TERRA BEATA, is based on a traditional English melody. It is an arrangement by Franklin Sheppard.
In 1915, Franklin L. Sheppard (1852-1930) set the poem of his deceased close friend, Rev. Babcock, to this tune. At the time, Franklin Sheppard was the President of the Presbyterian Board of Publications and Sabbath-School Work. The poem had 16 verses, but only three were selected by Shepherd for the hymn, "This Is My Father's World."
Franklin L. Sheppard was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as valedictorian in 1872. He died in Philadelphia on 15 Feb 1930.
There are a number of good videos for this piece showing different ways of performing the piece.
http://youtu.be/4Fwfdij6HGo "This Is My Father's World" sung traditionally with only minor accompaniment, lyrics on screen
http://youtu.be/SsTjnc2LtMU "This Is My Father's World" on classical guitar
http://youtu.be/vAYTeRIkZ3s "This Is My Father's World" music video with the Prague Orchestra and Tenore (The Christian Tenors) with good accompanying video
The lessons are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.
The gospel lesson is two readings from the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23—a parable and its explanation; the Parable of the Soils (also called the Parable of the Sower). It's about how the fate of a seed depends on the quality of the soil upon which it falls. It may fall on the hardened ground of a road or path, or on rocky ground where there is little soil,, or among thorns (weeds) that choke out new growth—or the seed may fall on good soil.
This parable also appears in Mark (Mark 4:1-20) and Luke (Luke 8:1-15), and it appears in the Gospel of Thomas. However, in each of the synoptic gospels the parable (given to a large crowd) is followed by an explanation (given only to the disciples). In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus doesn't explain the parable to anyone.
The Sower by Albin Egger-Lienz, 1918
When I was on the farm, we no longer strolled through the fields with bags of grain tied round our waists, casting seeds upon the ground.
We had a McCormick Grain Drill that we pulled behind our tractor, just like this guy: https://youtu.be/AGUDGnOhSsA (We also had a Model M Farmall tractor like the guy in the video.) There were a lot of parts and wheels in the drill that had to be set and changed depending on the grain you were planting: wheat, oats, milo, timothy, barley, buckwheat, etc. If you didn't get them all set correctly and also make sure the teeth of the wheels were all properly engaged, you could end up with a very spotty field. We didn't use it for large grains (as that required a more extensive swapping of parts). We had a corn planter for that, which I think we also used for the soybeans.
One year my father planted some barley, harvested it, and took it to the Farmers Exchange to sell--only to discover that there was no market for barley, and the operators of the Farmers Exchange wouldn't buy it. They told him they didn't even have a grain elevator or granary for storing barley. My father should have made up a parable about that experience.
The epistle lesson is Romans 8:1-11. It is about the polarity between flesh and Spirit. "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." "For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace." It was passages such as these that led to Protestant Christianity's rejection of the body and its urges.
Galatians 5:17 has the same theme, "For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want."
The second hymn is no. 331, "Thanks to God Whose Word Was Written (or Spoken)." The words date from 1954 and were authored by Reginald Thomas Brooks.
The verses are shuffled in our hymnal and the first verse is missing, hence the unconventional name of the hymn—which usually appears as "Thanks to God Whose Word Was Spoken."
The author, the Rev. Reginald Thomas Brooks, also used the name "Peter Brooks." He was born in August 1918 in Harrow Weald, Middlesex, England, (or at Wandsworth, London, England—sources disagree). He attended first the London School of Economics then studied theology at Mansfield College, Oxford. He was a minister in the United Reformed Church. He also worked for the BBC in the religious broadcasting department.
R. T. Brooks
The Presbyterians did some editing of the original words for the blue 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal. They changed the ending line from "Praise him for his open word" to "Praise God for the living Word."
The first verse has been omitted. The third verse has become the first. The fourth verse has become the second. The fifth verse has become the fourth.
The second verse has become the third and has been rewritten.
2 Thanks to God whose Word Incarnate
glorified the flesh of man;
deeds and words and death and rising
tell the grace in heaven's plan.
God has spoken: praise him for his open word.
3 Thanks to God whose Word Incarnate
Heights and depths of life did share.
Deeds and words and death and rising
Grace in human form declare.
God has spoken: Praise God for his living Word.
which is a definite improvement.
A blogger, Catherine Rowett at http://cathythinks.blogspot.com , noted in 2006 that this hymn was massively rewritten before its appearance in the New English Hymnal, a hymnal for use by the Church of England. In that hymnal, the first line is "Praise to God whose word was spoken," and it is set to the tune ST. RAPHAEL.
She said in her blog that Rev. R. T. Brooks wrote the hymn for the 150th Anniversary of the Bible Society in 1954. Originally it was a teaching hymn. The text has five verses "tracing the idea of God's Word
as creative (verse 1),
Incarnate (verse 2),
delivered in scripture (verse 3),
delivered orally throughout the world (verse 4)
and continuing to speak to us today (verse 5).
Each verse finishes with "God has spoken, Praise God for his open word", except the last one which goes "God is speaking: praise God for his open word."
In the New English Hymnal some unknown reviser(s) changed "thanks" to "praise" in the first line of every verse and made numerous other changes.
They've changed "Praise God for his open word" to "Praise him for his saving word" in the last line of each verse, adding a capital letter on "Word" in the verse about the incarnate word.
They've cut out one verse (the one about the word spread orally throughout the world).
They've changed the order of the verses so that we get the one about the scriptures before the one about the incarnate Word. This is interesting theologically: I'll come back to it.
They've rewritten the fourth line of the Incarnation verse, stupidly, so it no longer spells out the significance of the incarnation, nor makes grammatical sense (though they only needed to retain the full stop that it had originally to remedy the latter fault). Now we are told "Deeds and words and death and rising Tell the grace in heaven's plan" whereas Brooks wrote "Deeds and words and death and rising, Grace in human form declare."
They've rewritten the last verse fairly heavily to make it talk about God speaking to us through his spirit, not our spirit within responding to God speaking to us directly. In the course of this they've added some gratuitous man-speak, and they've put in a silly bit about showing us the Father's plan. . . .
[I get the impression that Catherine Rowett wasn't pleased with how the hymn was rewritten.]
R. T. Brooks died in London in 1985, one year before the publication of the New English Hymnal.
The tune, WYLDE GREEN, is also relatively modern. It was composed by Peter Warwick Cutts in 1966.
(Actually, the date the tune was copyrighted, 1966, may be considerably later than the date of composition. One source says that, while Peter Cutts was an undergraduate at Clare College, he contributed WYLDE GREEN at the Hymn Society's annual conference in July 1960 at Westminster College, Cambridge, during a service prepared by Erik Routley where he served as organist.)
Peter Warwick Cutts was born in 1937 in Birmingham, England. He obtained a B.A. (1961) and M.A. (1965) from Clare College at Cambridge University. He also received a B.A. from Mansfield College, Oxford, where he studied theology. He then served as organist at a number of United Reform churches/
In 1989, he moved to Massachusetts where he served as Director of Music at a number of churches (including the First United Methodist Church of Watertown, Massachusetts) and also taught at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts.
Upon his retirement in 2005, he retired to the UK. He has composed over 130 hymn tunes, the best known of which is BRIDEGROOM.
The tune is named for Wylde Green, a residential area in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, England.
The only YouTube video I found for this hymn was a version with lots of drumming.
If you really want to hear the rock version of the tune, you can hear it here:
https://youtu.be/MZtOGPR_R-4 "Thanks to God Whose Word Was Spoken," rock version, with drums, electric guitar, bass, etc. (pretty awful, not recommended)
The hymn, set to this tune, also appears in The Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church and in A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools published in 1982 by Yale University.
The tune WYLDE GREEN is also used as a setting for "Oh Give Thanks, for God Is Gracious" which was authored by David Mowbray (b. 1938).
The title of the sermon is "Not All Seeds Will Sprout."
The closing hymn is no. 560, "We Plow the Fields and Scatter." We sang an arrangement of this hymn as a choir anthem for the Thanksgiving Service in 2012. Despite it being a hymn about planting, it is not a Spring hymn. The people in the hymn were planting wheat or rye or barley or oats in the autumn, as the next line is about the "snows of winter" (though I suspect the "snows of winter" is meant metaphorically here).
Winter wheat is a "winter cereal." It is one of the varieties of wheat that must be planted in the autumn. Winter cereals will not form heads of grain the following spring unless they have experienced a month or two of cold winter temperatures.
("Spring wheat" and other "spring" varieties of cereals can be planted in the Spring and will still form heads without having experienced cold weather.)
Winter cereals evolved to take advantage of the moisture of the melting snow in the Spring, but there's a limit to how harsh a winter the winter grains can withstand. Rye is hardier than wheat and can survive very harsh winters.
I already told you what happened to my father when he decided to make barley his winter crop.
The German author of the hymn "Wir pflügen und wir streuen" was Matthias Claudius, a Lutheran pastor. He was born in Holstein at Reinfeld (near Lübeck) on 15 Aug 1740. In 1759, he studied theology at the University of Jena, but didn't care for how the subject was being taught at the time and decided to study languages and the law instead.
He went to Denmark where he was employed as a private secretary of a count in Denmark. He then returned to Germany to become a member of the staff of a news agency in Hamburg.
None of the above would appear to have prepared him to write a poem about plowing and scattering, but then, in 1776, he was appointed a Commissioner of Agriculture and Manufactoring of Hesse-Darmstadt.
In 1777, during an illness, he had a spiritual re-awakening. He wrote "Wir pflügen und wir streuen" in 1783.
He died 21 Jan 1815.
Miss Jane Montgomery Campbell translated the hymn into English in 1861.
We've always sung this hymn to the tune WIR PFLÜGEN. In fact, as can be seen from the pie chart below, the tune WIR PFLÜGEN is, by far, the tune to which "We Plow the Fields, and Scatter" is most often set.
Unfortunately, the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal uses another tune, NYLAND, a Finnish folk melody.
The tune, WIR PFLÜGEN, is by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz. It was published anonymously in 1800. The stanzas are usually sung in unison and the refrain in harmony.
Johann A. P. Schulz was born in Luneburg, German, in 1747. His father hoped that he would become a pastor, but he was more interested in music. He left home at age 15 and went to Berlin to find a music teacher. He studied under Johann Kirnberger.
After his studies, he became the music teacher and accompanist for a princess of Poland, Princess Sophia Woiwodin in 1768 and traveled with here around Europe. His time with the princess greatly enhanced his job opportunities. He served as director of the Royal French Theater of Berlin from 1776-1780, then as director of music for the Prince of Prussia (1780-1787), and director of the Royal Danish Theater (1787-1795).
Johann Schulz died at Schwedt und der Oder, Germany, in 1800.
https://youtu.be/FNwDpHTNnEg "Wir pflügen und wir streuen"
https://youtu.be/IcLkGATkLM8 WIR PFLÜGEN played by the Philharmonic Wind Orchestra (instrumental)
https://youtu.be/ha628Pj_Rns "We Plow the Fields, and Scatter" (with lyrics)
The tune NYLAND, which the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal uses, is most frequently used with the hymn "In Heavenly Love Abiding." The tune is named for a province in Finland and comes from Kuortane, South Ostrobothnia, Finland. The tune also goes by the name KUORTANE.
You can hear the tune here:
https://youtu.be/GovCj8v8_vk Tune NYLAND (used here with "In Heavenly Love Abiding")
The instrumental music is from The Organist's Library, Vol. 49.
The prelude is "Contemplation on 'Wareham', " an arrangement by "Gerald Peterson."
"Gerald Peterson" is just a pseudonym. The composer is actually Lani Smith. Lani Smith had more than 4,000 of his compositions published. He used many pen names, including Gerald Peterson, Edward Broughton, David Paxton, Franklin Ritter, Tom Birchwood, and Christopher Gale.
Lani Smith (alias Gerald Peterson)
Lani Smith was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 09 Jun 1934. He died on 24 Jun 2015 in Tucson, Arizona, where he lived with his wife of thirty-five years. Even in semi-retirement, he wrote several arrangements for organ every week.
The tune WAREHAM (1738) was composed by William Knapp who was born in Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, in 1698. He died in Poole, Dorsetshire, England, on 26 Sep 1768. The Dorset Magazine—Dorset Life calls him, a "one-hit wonder." http://www.dorsetlife.co.uk/2013/02/the-one-hit-wonder-of-wareham-william-knapp/ The article says of William Knapp's WAREHAM: "A remarkable feature of the tune is that, except in one place, it proceeds 'by step' (that is, one note up or down), and it is this that makes it so singable."
William Knapp was a glover. He was parish clerk at St. James's Church, Poole, from 1729 until his death in 1768.
At Old South Haven, we often sing Fred Green's hymn "The Church of Christ in Every Age" to the tune WAREHAM on Reformation Sunday.
Other hymns sung to the tune include "O Love of God, How Strong and True," "Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts," "O Wondrous Sight (or Type)! O Vision Fair," "So Let our Lips and Lives Express, The Holy Gospel We Profess," "Oh, Thou Who Camest from Above," "Great God, We Sing That Mighty Hand By Which Supported Still We Stand" and "Thy Years, O God, Through Ages Last."
https://youtu.be/WaBHvBfm4a0 "O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair" (tune WAREHAM)
The offertory is "Prayer Response" by Mark Davis, a contemporary composer/arranger. "Mark Davis" may be a pseudonym. Other works by Mark Davis are "Bread of the World," "Bring Us Hope Tonight," "Communion Song," "Just One God," "This Tiny Hand," "Meditation on 'Tis So Sweet' (to Trust in Jesus)"—the well-known William Kirkpatrick hymn https://youtu.be/vS0ZRGO3Fhs , and "Resurrected Lord."
One source suggested that his actual name is Kōji Makaino who was born in Japan on 26 January 1948. That is likely to have been a misidentification. Kōji Makaino is a composer and arranger, and he does use the pseudonym "Mark Davis," but he is known for his pop music and music for anime soundtracks and commercials.
"Go Out with Praise" by Gilbert M. Martin is the postlude. Gilbert Martin was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, in 1941. He attended the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, graduating with a B. Mus.
Gilbert Martin composes works for piano, organ, and choral groups for both churches and schools.
He now lives near Dayton, Ohio.
I didn't find "Go Out with Praise," but I did find another composition by Gilbert M. Martin:
https://youtu.be/Pm_rV5mOTRw "Praise!" by Gilbert M. Martin, played by Marko Hakanpää at the Grönlund organ of St. Michael's Church in Turku, Finland