Saturday, January 17, 2015

Music for the OSHC Worship Service of January 18, 2014

From: Richard Thomas


The introit is “We Are Here, Lord” by Herb Frombach, arranged by Robert Lau. 


       also known as “Wir Sind Hier Herr”


Herb Frombach also wrote the words for the anthem “Be Still,” that we’ve practiced.

“How Great Thou Art,” No. 467, is the opening hymn.


        “How Great Thou Art,” a cappella, Reprise Quartet


The hymn is Swedish, “O Store Gud (O Mighty God),” and was authored by Carl Gustave Boberg (16 Aug 1859 – 07 Jan 1940).


Our English translation is not, however, a translation of the original hymn in Swedish.  It was instead translated from a Russian version that was itself based on a German translation of the Swedish hymn.  The English translation is by Stuart K. Hine in 1949.  Boberg was a carpenter’s son.  He was a member of the Swedish Parliament from 1912 to 1931.


The translator, Stuart K. Hine, was born in Great Britain in 1899.  He and his wife were missionaries in Western Ukraine, which was part of Russia at the time.  He died in 1989.


The tune, O STORE GUD, is a Swedish folk melody.


I think it gained its great popularity from the Billy Graham crusades.  George Beverly Shea would sing it at every service.


Here’s George Beverly Shea singing “How Great Thou Art.”


       “How Great Thou Art,” sung by George Beverly Shea, Billy Graham Crusade, New York, 1969.


He was still singing “How Great Thou Art” at age 103!

After the talk with the children, the choir will sing “When the Angels’ Son is Silent” by Mary Kay Beall.

Mary Kay Beall (b. 1943) was born and raised in Akron, Ohio.  She has a B.M. degree from Ohio Wesleyan and an M.A. from the Ohio State University.  They live in Columbus, Ohio.  She was ordained in the American Baptist Church.

The Old Testament lesson is Isaiah 49:1-7.  Verse 6 is the famous “Light to the Nations” passage, which Norman K. Gottwald used as the title for his “introduction to the Old Testament” text book.  It was, I think, my favorite introductory text.  Every student at the college I attended had to take a semester course on introduction to the Old Testament and a semester on Introduction to the New Testament.  Dr. David O. Moore taught Old Testament, and Gottwald’s “Light to the Nations” was one of the supplementary texts he recommended we use.

    Nine years after I had graduated, Dr. Moore almost lost his job because he wouldn’t profess belief in a personal devil.  (The college received significant financial support from the Southern Baptists of Missouri --- the Missouri Baptist Convention.)  Dr. Moore was too highly respected for the trustees to cave in, and he kept his job, but the relationship between the college and the Missouri Southern Baptists continued to worsen.

    After 150 years of support – which had reached $1 million by 2003,  the Missouri Baptist Convention and William Jewell College decided to go their separate ways.  The MBC couldn’t tolerate the college’s “tolerance of homosexuality.” It also didn’t like the drama department, which had staged a presentation of “The Vagina Monologues.”


The New Testament lesson is John 1:29-42.  It’s the testimony of John the Baptist, that Jesus is the Chosen One of God. (There is debate about whether the Greek read, “This is the Son of God,” or whether it said “This is the Chosen One of God,” which is the wording in a majority of ancient copies of the Gospel of John, as well as the wording in a majority of the Byzantine minuscules.

    As “You are” (or “This is”) “my beloved Son” appears in the other gospels, the scribes would have been inclined to harmonize John by changing “God’s chosen one” to “the Son of God,” but there would have been no inclination to change “the Son of God” to “God’s chosen one” so “God’s chosen one” is probably the correct earlier reading.

    The lesson ends with Andrew and his brother Simon following Jesus. 

    Jesus gives Simon the nickname “Stony” (Cephas, actually Qéphâ in Galilean Aramaic), which in Greek translation became the nickname “Rocky” (Peter).  Neither Qéphâ nor Petros is a usual proper name, they are instead nicknames.

     The verses that follow the lesson is about the calling of more disciples.

The second hymn is “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service” by Jane Parker Huber. 


It is NOT however Hymn No. 415, as appears in the bulletin.  It is instead Hymn No. 343.  (Unless we are intended to sing “Come, Labor On” which is No. 415.)


The tune for  “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service” is BEECHER (1870) by John Zundel.


Jane Parker Huber, although a prominent member of the committee that developed our blue hymnal, did not have a good ear for a pleasing line.  This hymn has the jarring phrase “reconciling folk on earth.”  Has anyone ever said such a phrase in real life? 


But I guess not many people go about “treading the verge” of rivers either, as we sing when we sing William William’s hymn, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.”


Jane Parker Huber has also composed a verse for this hymn that begins “Thus new patterns for Christ’s mission, in a small or global sense.”  I guess she wrote “in a small or global sense” because she needed a word to rhyme with “fence.”


Jane Parker Huber was the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries.  She was born in China on 24 October 1926.  The family returned to the United States in 1928, and in 1929 her father became president of Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.


She spent three years at Wellesley College, then returned to Indiana and graduated from Hanover College in 1948.


Jane Parker Huber was the vice-president of United Presbyterian Women from 1973 to 1976.  She began writing hymns in 1976 and wrote over 125.  She served on the Committee for a New Hymnal, and eleven of her hymns “made their way” into the 1990 hymnal.


She died on 17 November 2008 in Hanover, Indiana.


  Jane Parker Huber


There are many people who love Jane Parker Huber’s hymns. (In fact, one writer declares that  “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service” is her favorite hymn in the 1990 hymnal.)  It’s true that she always uses inclusive language and her hymns are about the social mission of the church, but they lack artistry and a fluency in diction.


Here’s what Brian Abel Ragen says about her hymns. 


He was looking at G. K. Chesterton’s hymn, “O God of Earth and Altar.”  The original words are:


From all the easy speeches

    That comfort cruel men,

From sale and profanation

     Of honour and the sword,

From sleep and from damnation,

    Deliver us, good Lord!


Tie in a living tether

    The prince and priest and thrall,

Bind all our lives together,

    Smite us and save us all;

In ire and exultation

    Aflame with faith, and free,

Lift us a living nation,

     A single sword to thee.


Jane Parker Huber rewrote these verses for the Presbyterian Hymnal, so they become


From all that terror teaches,

    From lies of pen and voice,

From all the easy speeches

    That make our hearts rejoice,

From sale and profanation

    Of honor and the sword,

From sleep and from damnation,

    Deliver us, good Lord!


Awaken us to action

    And forge us into one,

Defying sect and faction;

    O God, Your will be done!

Oppressive systems snare us;

     Our apathies increase.

Great God, in mercy spare us

    For justice and for peace!


Brian Abel Ragen writes:


                One need not point out that the perpetrator of this revision—Jane Parker Huber—does not have Chesterton’s way with words. But it is worth considering why her banalities would seem preferable to Chesterton’s vivid language, at least to the editors of this hymnal (one of whom, of course, was Ms. Huber herself).

                First, the new stanzas use inclusive—that is, genderless—language. . . . (Whether texts make sense is less important to some revisers than that they avoid sexist language:  we know just what “the easy speeches that comfort cruel men” are: we hear them regularly from politicians and sometimes may find them being uttered by our own lips. “The easy speeches that make our hearts rejoice” could be almost anything, good or bad—Ms. Huber’s bland verbiage itself might come under that rubric—but avoiding “men” matters more than conveying a clear meaning.)

                . . . In Huber’s revision of Chesterton, swords are allowed to remain only so long as they are negative symbols. “The swords of scorn” can still divide us, and the sword can still be sold and profaned, but we cannot think of a converted people as a single blade in the Lord’s hand—that might make it sound as if swords were good things. Of course, Jesus advised his disciples to get swords—he in fact said he came to bring, not peace, but a sword—and St. Paul was unafraid to invoke the image when he talked about the “sword of the spirit,” but our modern revisers are more enlightened than the Savior and his apostle were.

                While Chesterton asks that the prince and slave (thrall) be joined together, Huber prefers not to mention the unpleasant subject of human inequality at all.

                Sin is never personal in the new revisions, it is often corporate.  Sin is something we do in groups, not something we do individually.

                The revisions of traditional hymns in recent American hymnals reveal a troubling attitude toward the members of the congregation: they are evidently imagined to be not very bright, not able to deal with any sort of difficulty, and more interested in feeling good about themselves than in the doctrines of Christianity. They cannot deal with vivid imagery, with archaic words—even Thou. They cannot even sing settings as complex as those their parents and grandparents sang with joy.


Actually, I do very much prefer a hymn to use inclusive language.  (I’ve been a member NOW  --- it’s the National Organization for Women, not the National Organization of Women – since the late 1970s.)  But I also like for it to be done well.


Singing about “folk” just sounds weird.


We did use the word “folks” quite a bit in Missouri, as in “You folks come over and see us sometime,” but it sounds odd in a hymn.


In the Methodist hymnal, the Wesley brothers are the authors of the largest number of hymns.  In the 1933 green Presbyterian hymnal, Isaac Watts was the largest source of hymns.


In our blue 1990 Presbyterian hymnal, Jane Parker Huber is in the top ten individual writers of hymns, just slightly behind Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.


Not all of her hymns are bad.  I recall that there is one that we sometimes sing that doesn’t have any clinkers.  (We heated our old farmhouse in Missouri with coal stoves in each bedroom and one in the living room, so I know something about clinkers.)


The tune, BEECHER, is by John Zundel (b. 1815, near Stuttgart, Germany; d. 1882, Cannstadt, Germany).  Despite being born and dying in German, from 1847 to 1878 he was an organist in Brooklyn, NY.


Zundel was organist at Henry Ward Beecher’s church, the Plymouth Congregational Church of Brooklyn.  (Henry Ward Beecher’s sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.)   The tune is often used with “Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling.”

The sermon is “A Conversation Worth Having.”

“Today  We All Are Called to Be Disciples,” No. 434, is the closing hymn.  The hymn was written by H. Kenn Carmichael in 1985.  It is sung to the tune KINGSFOLD, an English country song harmonized by Ralph Vaughn Williams.


The tune is also used for “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” and “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.”  There is even one hymnal that has set “We Sing the Mighty Power of God” to the tune.


Although said to be an English country song, it is nearly identical to the Irish song, “Star of the County Down.”  (See:, .)


There is also an instrumental performance of this tune on mandolin and guitar,


The author of the hymn, Herbert Kenneth Carmichael (b. 1908, Martin’s Ferry, OH; d. 1996) received a B.A. from Muskingum College (1928, New Concord, OH), an M.A. in speech from the University of Wisconsin (1930), and a Ph.D. in theater from the University of Minnesota (1941).  He taught at City College, Los Angeles, from 1947-1954.  From 1972-1979 he served as pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.

Instrumental Music

Prelude on “Evan” by Gerald Peterson.  I didn’t find the prelude arrangement for organ, but here is the hymn tune EVAN (1846) is by William Henry Havergal.


The tune is used most with “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want.”  It is also used with “O for a Faith that Will Not Shrink,” “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” and this one:


        “Oh, that the Lord Would Guide My Ways,” hymn tune EVAN


William Havergal was born at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in 1793, and died 18 Apr 1870.

The offertory is a “Voluntary in A Minor,” “Largo”


There are quite a few voluntaries in A minor, but many don’t have a Largo movement.


Here is one that does:


       “Voluntary in A minor” by Maurice Greene


Here’s another:


       “Voluntary in A minor” by William Boyce


“Celebration” by Robert Lau is the postlude.



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