Friday, June 30, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Sunday, July 2                   10:00am                     Morning Worship/Holy Communion
                                                                             Sermon:    "A Christian Nation!...?"
                                                                             Lessons:  Psalm 33   I Peter 2: 9-11
                                                                            Choir Anthem:     :God Bless America" 
Tuesday                                                                         INDEPENDENCE  DAY
Saturday, July 8            5:00-7:30pm                  South Country Educational Foundation Fundraiser
                                                                                     home of Chantal and Richard Berman
                                                                                                  Ticket: $85.
Sunday, July 9                   10:00am                   Morning Worship
                                                                            Sermon:    "From Fear to Aw"
                                                                            Lessons: Deuteronomy 31: 7-8  Luke 8: 26-39
                                                                            Peacemaking Essay Award Presentation to
                                                                                          Liesel Steinhauer
Tuesday, July 11                 8:30am                    Mid Suffolk Presbyterian Clergy
                                                                                Holbrook Diner
Saturday, July 15                9:30am                    Property and Finance Committee
Sunday, July 16                 10:00am                   Morning Worship
                                                                            Sermon: "Not All Seeds Will Sprout"
                                                                            Lessons:   Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23  Romans 8: 1-11
Monday, July 17                 7:00pm                     Session meeting at Linda Majowka's

Saturday, June 24, 2017

FW: Music for the OSHC Service of June 25, 2017, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Richard Thomas

                                The introit this week is “Come, Dearest Lord, Descend and Dwell.”  (It is the introit on the sheet with two other responses on it, “Father, Fill Us with Thy Love” and “Father of Mercies.”) The words are by Isaac Watts.  The tune is FEDERAL STREET by Henry Kemble Oliver (b. Beverly, Massachusetts, 1800; d. Salem, Massachusetts, 1885).

       “Come, Dearest Lord,” set to FEDERAL STREET by Henry K. Oliver.

Henry K. Oliver is buried in the Broad Street Cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts, and his grave has an unusual stone.  I think the carving at the top is meant to depict organ pipes, but it’s hard to tell.

                The opening hymn of praise is no. 229, “From All That Dwell Below the Skies” with words by Isaac Watts (1719).  We don’t sing it very often, but we do frequently sing “All Creatures of Our God and King,” which is sung to the same tune, LASST UNS ERFREUEN, a tune that was first used with an Easter hymn of that name, that begins, “Lasst uns erfreuen herzlick sehr” (1623, Cologne).  The tune is also used with “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones.”

                Isaac Watts was a precocious child.  He began to learn Latin at age 4 and was “writing respectable verses at the age of seven.”  He was not a member of the Church of England, but instead went to London (the academy at Stoke Newington, a district in the London Borough of Hackney) to study under an Independent minister at age 16. (His father, a school teacher, was a Nonconformist.) 

                    Isaac Watts

b. 17 Jul 1674, Southampton; d. 25 Nov 1748, London

                After graduating at age 20, he went home to Southampton for two years.  Most of his hymns were written during that period.  This was followed with a period of six years as the tutor of the son of Sir John Hartopp, “an eminent Puritan.”

                He then served as a minister at the Independent Church in Mark Lane, London, for ten years.  (Oliver Cromwell’s granddaughter, Mrs. Bendish, was a member there.)

                Then Sir Thomas Abney invited Isaac Watts to come live in his residence (Abney Park), and he not only accepted the invitation, he lived there for the rest of his life.  There he engaged in literary pursuits and also continued to preach from time to time.  He was said to have had “delicate health.”

                Sir Thomas Abney was the Lord Mayor of London.  (Before becoming Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Abney had been one of the original directors of the Bank of England, and he had also been elected Sheriff of London.)

                Sir Thomas Abney had more than one residence, and Isaac Watts first “resided principally at the beautiful country seat of Theobalds, Herfordshire” for thirty-six years, then lived in London (Stoke Newington) for the final thirteen years of his life.

  Abney House, Stoke Newington, London, demolished in 1845

                Watts produced a great number of theological works, and many felt “his views on the Trinity were highly suspect.”  Some thought he might even be a Unitarian! 

                Despite his “delicate health,” he lived to the age of 74, dying on 25 Nov 1748.  He was buried at Bunhill Fields, a Puritan burying ground.  “From All that Dwell Below the Skies,” LASST UNS ERFREUEN, a cappella

Here are some tiny people in a cold cathedral singing the words that originally went with the tune: uns erfreuen herzlich sehr, Halleluja,”  Cathedral of St. Maria and St. Stephen, Speyer

                The Old Testament reading is Ezra 4:1-16. Ezra 4 may be rather difficult to read aloud.  Ezra 4:7 has “. . . during the reign of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their colleagues wrote to King Artaxerxes of Persia.”  (The selection ends with the writing of the letter and does not include the King’s response.)  Those names, plus Rehum, Shimshai, Jeshua, Ashurbanipal, Xerxes, Zerubbabel, Uruk, Susa, and the Elamites may not trip lightly off the tongue.

                When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building the Temple of Yahweh, God of Israel,  they came to Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the heads of families and said, 'Let us help you build, for we resort to your God as you do and we have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.' 

                Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other heads of Israelite families replied, 'It is out of the question that you should join us in building a Temple for our God. We shall build for Yahweh, God of Israel, on our own, as King Cyrus king of Persia has commanded us.' 

                The people of the country then set about demoralizing the people of Judah and deterring them from building;  they also bribed counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose throughout the lifetime of Cyrus king of Persia right on into the reign of Darius king of Persia. 

                In the reign of Xerxes, at the beginning of his reign, they drew up an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.  In the days of Artaxerxes, Mithredath, Tabeel and their other associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia against Jerusalem; the text of the letter was written in Aramaic writing and dialect. 

                Then Rehum the governor and Shimshai the secretary wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes, denouncing Jerusalem as follows: 

'From Rehum the governor and Shimshai the secretary and their other associates, the judges, the legates, the Persian officials, the people of Uruk, Babylon and Susa -- that is, the Elamites-  and the other peoples whom the great and illustrious Ashurbanipal deported and settled in the towns of Samaria and in the rest of Transeuphrates.'

This is the text of the letter which they sent him:

'To King Artaxerxes, from your servants the people of Transeuphrates:  'May the king now please be informed that the Jews, who have come up from you to us, have arrived in Jerusalem and are rebuilding the rebellious and evil city; they have begun rebuilding the walls and are laying the foundations;  and now the king should be informed that once this city is rebuilt and the walls are restored, they will refuse to pay tribute, tax or toll, thus the king will incur a loss;  and now, because we eat the palace salt, it is not proper for us to see this affront offered to the king; we therefore send this information to the king  so that a search may be made in the archives of your ancestors: in which archives you will find and learn that this city is a rebellious city, the bane of kings and provinces, and that sedition has been stirred up there from ancient times; that is why this city was destroyed.  We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are restored, you will soon have no territories left in Transeuphrates.'

                The epistle reading is 2 Corinthians 7:2-16.  Paul, who is in Macedonia, has written a severe letter to the Corinthians which makes them sad.  Paul tells them it is the kind of sadness that God intends, a sadness that brings repentance, and repentance leads to salvation.

                “Loving Spirit,” hymn no. 323, is the second hymn.  The text of the hymn is  relatively new, but not the tune.  The tune is OMNI DIE and was composed in 1631 by David Gregor Corner (also known as Gregor I. Cornerus).  He was a Benedictine abbot.   He studied theology at Wroclaw , Prague, Graz, and Vienna. He was appointed Rector of the University of Vienna in 1638.  He died at Göttweig on 09 Jan 1648.  The tune is sometimes used as a setting for “For the Bread which You Have Broken,” but not in the blue Presbyterian Hymnal.  I found a video of “Jesus Calls Us; O’er the Tumult” set to the tune, though that hymn is most often set to GALILEE. OMNI DIE from "Omni die dic Mariae (Daily, Daily, Sing to Mary)" by David Gregor Corner

The words are by Shirley Erena Murray who was born in 1931 in Ivercargill, New Zealand.  She was made a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music in 2006.  [I didn’t even know there was a Royal School of Church Music.  The RSCM was founded in 1927, and it isn’t actually a “school.”]  Shirley Murray is married to a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand and has spent “most her life” as a Presbyterian.

             Shirley Erena Murray

The sermon title is “Loving Spirit.”

               The closing hymn is no. 539, “Savior, Again, to Thy Dear Name, We Raise with One Accord Our Parting Hymn of Praise.” 

                Here it is sung, beginning with choir a cappella, then female soloist with organ, women with organ, men with organ, etc.:

                       “Savior, Again, to Thy Dear Name”

                The words are by John Ellerton (b. 16 Dec 1826, London; d. 15 Jun 1893) who was also an author. 

      Rev. John Ellerton

                He wrote The Holiest Manhood and its Lessons for Busy Lives  in 1882 (“thirteen ten-minute sermons or sermonettes of excellent quality”) and Our Infirmities: Six Short Instructions in 1883.  (You can read the latter here: )

                Ellerton was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge.  In addition to the hymn we will be singing on Sunday, Ellerton wrote hymns for every season of the church calendar, including “King Messiah, Long Expected,” a hymn for The Circumcision of Christ (1 January).  He also wrote the more popular hymn “Welcome, Happy Morning! Age to Age Shall Say.”

                In 1860, John Ellerton became the chaplain for Lord Crewe and vicar of Crewe Green. Here is where Lord Crewe lived, Crewe Hall:

                  Crewe Hall, Cheshire

                And here is the church he had built in 1857-1858:

                Hungerford Crewe, the 3rd Baron Crewe, was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford.  He inherited 10,148 acres in Cheshire. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1840.  He never married.  He died of influenza at Crewe Hall in 1894, and the barony became extinct upon his death.  His estates were inherited by the son of his sister, who later was made Earl and Marquess of Crewe.

  Dr. Edward John Hopkins

                The tune, ELLERS, was composed by Edward John Hopkins (b. Westminster, 30 Jun 1818; d. London, 04 Feb 1901).  As a boy, he was a chorister at the Chapel Royal and sang at the coronation of King William IV in 1830.  He was a founder of the College of Organists.  The Archbishop of Canterbury presented him with an honorary Doctorate of Music in 1882.

                He wrote thirty hymn tunes.  Here is ELLERS played by the Woodfalls Band as they warm up for the 2014 West of England Regional Championships.

                       ELLERS played by the Woodfalls Band, a brass band

Instrumental Music

                The prelude is “Andante” by Handel.  There are many Handel “andante” pieces and movements.  It might be “Andante in E flat” from Sonata No. 6. G. F. Handel’s “Andante in E flat” from Sonata No. 6 played by Wayne Burcham-Gulotta, Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey

That piece has some twiddly bits.

                It might also be Handel’s “Organ Concerto in G minor, Op. 4, No. 1,” part IV. Andante.  “Organ Concerto in G minor, Op. 4, No. 1,” (HWV 289), part IV. Andante, by Handel, played by Ottavio Dantone

                The music for the offertory is called “Offertory,” appropriately enough.  It is by Robert Schumann.  It might be the “Offertorium” from Robert Schumann’s “Missa Sacra (Mass),” Op. 147.

       “Offertorium” from Schumann’s “Mass in C Minor,” Op. 147.

                Schumann did more than one “Mass,” so it could the “Offertorium” of another one.

                Robert Schumann (1810-1856) intended to be a concert pianist, but he injured his hand, and turned to composing instead.  He attempted suicide in 1854 and, at his own request, “was confined to a mental institution,” where he spent the last two years of his life.

 Robert Alexander Schumann

                The postlude is “Moderato” by Charles-François Gounod.

                Part V, “Les Troyennes” of Gounod’s Faust is marked “Moderato con moto.”  Part IV,Variations of Cleopatra, is marked “Moderato maestoso,” and his Ave Maria is “Moderato.” “Les Troyennes” (Faust, Part V), Academy of St.Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner, conductor  “Ave Maria” by Charles-François Gounod, played by Axel-Johannes Korb, Parish Church of St. Cecilia in Heusenstamm

There is also the theme to “Alfred Hitchcock,” “Funeral March of a Marionette”: “Funeral March of a Marionette” played on a virtual organ (a virtual version of the sound of the pipe organ at the Palace of Arts in Budapest) “Marcia funebre per una marionette” on mandolins, Ticino, Switzerland, Mauro Pacchin, conductor

                      Charles Gounod

                The best known works of Charles Gounod are Ave Maria and his opera Faust

                Gounod also wrote Marche Pontifcale, the official anthem of the Pope, the Holy see and the Vatican City State.

                        Marche Pontificale by Charles Gounod, the National Anthem of Vatican City

                       Marche Pontificale, sung, a cappella

                Gounod was born in Paris on 17 Jun 1818.  His mother was a pianist and his father, an artist.  He died 18 Oct 1893 in Saint-Cloud (a commune in the western suburbs of Paris).


Friday, June 23, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Note: The winner of this year's Peacemaking Essay Contest is unable to be with us this Sunday so we will try to reschedule this.
 The sermon I was preparing "Fear vs. Awe" related to that essay so will stay in the "hopper".
                                                                                                         Pastor Tom
Sunday, June 25                       10:00am                    Morning Worship
                                                                                    Sermon:  "Letters
                                                                                    Lessons:  Ezra 4: 1-16   II Corinthians 7: 2-16
Tuesday, June 27                  11:30am-4:30pm          Presbytery Meeting
                                                                                    Old First Presbyterian Church
Sunday, July 2                         10:00am                     Morning Worship/Holy Communion
                                                                                    Sermon: "A Christian Nation!...?"
                                                                                    Lessons: Psalm 33  I Peter 2: 9-11
Tuesday, July 4                                                                 INDEPENDENCE  DAY

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Saturday, June 17               9:30am       Property/Finance Committee
                                                               The Gallery
                                         10-12 am       Pancake Breakfast
                                                               Encampment Fund  Raiser
Sunday, June 18               10:00am        Morning Worship  Father's Day
                                                                Sermon: 'Fatherly"
                                                                Lessons; Proverbs 4:1-13  Ephesians 6: 1-4
Monday, June 19                7:00pm        Session Meeting
Thursday, June 22             6:00pm         Bellport High School Graduation
Saturday, June 24            6-11pm          Beach Ball 2017
                                                               Fund Raiser for Boys and Girls Club on Bellport
Sunday, June 25              10;00am        Morning Worship
                                                               Sermon "Fear vs. Awe"
                                                               2017 Peacemaking Essay Awards Winner
Tuesday, June 25                                  Presbytery Meeting
                                                               Old First Church, Huntington
Sunday, July 2                 10:00am        Morning Worship/Holy Communion
                                                               Independence Day Observance        
                                                               Sermon; "A Christian Nation !...?"
                                                               Lesson; Psalm 33  I Peter 2: 9-11

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Trinity - Music for the OSHC Service of June 11, 2017, Trinity Sunday

From: Richard Thomas []
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2017 1:44 AM


                This Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost.  It’s also the last day of Sunday School until Fall and the day of the church picnic.



                For the western liturgical denominations (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian), this Sunday is also Trinity Sunday.

                Trinitarianism took centuries to develop and disputes over the concept reached a peak early in the fourth century.  Even though the word “Trinity” never appears in the Bible, and the number always associated with God in the Bible is the number “one,” (not “three”), the followers of Jesus needed some way of expressing his uniquely divine nature and the relationship between Christ and God.

                Arius and his followers (the Arians) argued that Jesus was a created being, the son of God, and was thus subordinate to the Father. Athanasius and his party said that the Son was also fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

                About this time Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity and made it the Roman Empire’s official religion.  He didn’t like the idea of there being no agreement on such an important matter and called for a general council which met at Nicaea in 325 A.D.  The Emperor himself attended and even sometimes presided.  Athanasius won the day, and thus we have the Nicene Creed.  Arius and those bishops who had sided with him were excommunicated.

                That still left the Holy Spirit.  In the preceding century, most Christians held that the Holy Spirit was a divine power, but as time passed, more came to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit was a divine person.  Another council had to be held, this time at Constantinople in 381 A.D.  It was decided that the Holy Spirit was indeed a divine person, distinct from the person of the Father and the person of the Son.

                Then they thought they had perhaps gone too far is stressing the wholly divine nature of Jesus, and held another council at Ephesus in 431 A.D, to declare that Jesus, though being divine, was also human.  Also, in addition to reaffirming the humanness of Jesus, they noted that Mary was not just the mother of a special human baby, the baby Jesus, she was the Theotokos, the Mother of God.  There was then a Second Council of Ephesus in 449 A.D. which returned to the idea of Christ having a single nature, that of a ”divine human.”

                That reversal was so upsetting to some, that they then had to have a council at Chalcedon the very next year, in 450 A.D. The council was called by Emperor Marcian, though the Pope, Pope Leo the Great, was cool to the idea of having yet another meeting, and especially one so soon after the catastrophe of the last one.  The Chalcedonian council reaffirmed that Christ has two natures in one person. Christ isn’t a divine human, Christ has a full human nature and a full divine nature.  They also concluded that these two natures existed “with neither division nor confusion” in one person.

                This proclamation led to a major split in the church, with those in the single-nature camp (“divine person”) making up the Oriental Orthodoxy, which includes Ethiopian, Armenian, Eritrean, and Coptic (Egyptian) churches.

                The error of these church leaders was their assumption that somehow the various writings they had assembled and elevated to the status of being canonical would naturally be self-consistent, and that they would thus be able to fashion a unified picture of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

                The Reformers were equally mistaken and busily set about erecting a Systemic Theology, carefully buttressing every pillar of their edifice with references to canonical scriptures and always bending and shaping each addition to the structure to insure its consistency with the whole.  The ungainly structure that resulted, however, though impressive in its breadth and bulk, (and permeated throughout with a dark and gloomy inevitability), was never very satisfying spiritually.


                Christians claim to be both monotheists and trinitarians. So there has to be quite a bit of mental gymnastics and special pleading to make the concepts of trinitarianism, monotheism, and the worship of two divine beings (God and Jesus) appear to be consistent.

                I expect a neutral observer of social institutions and religious practices who examined the behaviors of the practitioners of a faith would come to one set of conclusions regarding the beliefs of those practitioners (based on their actions) and another set of conclusions from the study of the creeds promulgated by their denominations.

                The idea of the Trinity first appears in Christian writings about 110 A.D. (or C. E.) [Ignatius of Antioch]. 

                Humans have always had a strong fascination with the number three and whenever a number of categories are thought to be useful in explaining a thing or phenomenon, they will frequently decide, rather arbitrarily, that the number of categories should be three, rather than two or four or some other number.  Thus Freud divided the human psyche into id, ego, and superego.  In philosophy we have: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. There are three Furies and Three Little Pigs.  Martin Luther King wrote a speech entitled: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.”  There is a web page that describes what you can do when faced with an “active shooter emergency”: run, hide, fight.  We congratulate or express our appreciation for people with “three cheers.”  In school, we learned the “three R’s” (which was really a stretch, as only one of the words actually starts with an “r”).  The circus has three rings.  If you really need something, you will have to “beg, borrow, or steal,” etc., etc., etc. (Notice the three et ceteras.)

                I am always skeptical when there are three categories for anything, as I find that the number of categories into which a thing can be divided is rarely inherent in the thing itself.  There is no logical reason why a thing should have three and only three aspects.  In the social sciences, papers so frequently appeared that divided some human experience, behavior, or social interaction into exactly three stages, that those researchers that persisted into dividing up some continuous process into three parts where called “stage-ists” and their papers derided.

                In Christianity, Valentinus (~100 A.D. - ~160 A.D.) also had this natural human addiction of seeing everything as having three parts or natures, so he disseminated a work called On the Three Natures in which he claimed that the Divinity was, in some manner, threefold.  His writings were later declared to be heretical.

                The word “Trinity” first appears in the late second century in the writings of Theophilus of Antioch.

                There was soon much controversy over what the Apostles believed.  They certainly believed in a Heavenly Father, in Jesus as a savior, and in a Spirit.  But in affirming that Jesus was God’s chosen one,  were they saying that Jesus was a god? And not only a god, but the same God to whom Jesus prayed?  In Mark 10:18, Jesus says “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except God alone.”  And in John 14:28, he says, “The Father is greater than I.”  In most passages of the gospels, Jesus is clearly an entity distinct and separate from God.

                Yet his followers did believe Jesus was surely “divine,” and as a “divine being,” he was worthy of worship, but there is only one God. What to do?

                Sabellius said that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit were all one and the same.  The use of the different words merely emphasized different aspects of a single being.  This idea was rejected by Rome in 220 A.D.

                The distinctiveness of Jesus as a human led Paul of Samosata to say that Jesus  was a human who became the Son of God when he was baptized by John.  He wasn’t an aspect of a single divine being, but was instead a human who had been adopted by God.  The Synods of Antioch rejected that idea in 269.

                Finally, we get the Nicene Creed that says Jesus is “God of God, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the father” --- whatever that might mean.

                There was then a disagreement over whether there was “one being with three essences.” 

                That wouldn’t do either.  The bishops decided “essence” was not the correct word, there was instead “three persons, one being.”  There is only one essence, not three.

   The Trinity – Celtic Knot              The Other 3-in-1

                (As Wittgenstein showed, there is also an arbitrariness in the words we use to describe our reality and experience, which is itself a form of “categorization” but on a grander scale.  The meanings of words are themselves socially negotiated.)

                The “God in three persons” solution is so unsatisfying that it is not surprising that, with the Reformation, Unitarianism developed in Poland and Transylvania in 1556.  By 1774 It has spread to London.

                By 1786, it had reached Boston, and congregations had begun to adopt a Unitarian faith.  This was a Christian theological Unitarianism and not the Unitarianism of many who make up U-U congregations today.

                Religions, unlike philosophies generally, have an advantage when faced with a clash of concepts (such as monotheism and the Trinity) that are difficult to reconcile.  One can just paper over the flaws by saying “It’s a mystery.”

                Unless you are a rigid Calvinist, it hardly matters that a faith is not consistent or rational.  Our most important experiences in life are not, after all, rational ones.

                The nontrinitarian denominations today include The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (“Mormons”), Unitarian Universalists Christian Fellowship, The Church of God International, The Way International, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, Friends General Conference (“Quakers”), Oneness Pentecostals, and the United Church of God.


                Now that Pentecost is over, we enter Ordinary Time, which is a very long time.  The season after Pentecost lasts from the day after Pentecost until the day before the first Sunday of Advent.  (There is another period of Ordinary Time in the church year, but we’ve already gotten through that—it was the period after Baptism of the Lord Sunday in January and lasting until Ash Wednesday.)

                The introit is “Jesus, Name Above All Names.” Naida Hearn thought of the hymn and tune while she was standing at the sink doing the family laundry in Palmerston North, New Zealand, on a warm summer December day in 1974.  She played piano in a Pentecostal church.   “Jesus, Name Above All Names,” choir anthem arrangement, sung by the Seventh Day Adventists City Choir, Adelaide

                Here’s the disco version:

                        “Jesus, Name Above All Names,” dance version by Hypersonic

                Naida Hearn thinks everyone sings her hymn incorrectly. When she wrote it, she didn’t have “Lord” in “Glorious Lord” sung on three notes, going down in steps.  She wishes people would sing it the way she wrote it, with “Lord” sung on one note.  But that’s never going to happen.

                The opening hymn is no. 138, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!”—a hymn title with two exclamation points.  The words are by Reginald Heber.  The tune is NICAEA by John Bacchus Dykes. “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” sung by the Altar of Praise Men’s Chorale, a cappella “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” sung by the group Acappella

                The tune, NICAEA, takes its name from the Council of Nicaea (see discussion of the Trinity, above).  Dykes wrote the music specifically for the words by Heber.  Both author and composer died rather young, Heber in his forty-third year and Dykes at 52.

            Reginald Heber

                The author of the hymn, Reginald Heber, was born 21 April 1783 in England.  He died before his 43rd birthday.

            Reginald Heber was a child prodigy and was translating a Latin classic into English at the age of seven.  He won two awards for poetry while at Oxford.  His family was wealthy and his parents well-educated.  After graduating from Oxford, he became rector of his father’s church in Hodnet, near Shrewsbury in west England. 

            In 1823, he was appointed Bishop of Calcutta.  He did not adapt well to the hot and humid weather of Calcutta in May and June, when the temperatures often exceeds 104 °F.  As Bishop of the See of Calcutta, he was required to travel long distances, going to Bengal, Bombay, Ceylon, Delhi, and Lucknow.  After working in India for three years, he died of a stroke on 03 April 1826.

            He wrote all of his 57 hymns before going to India.  He is the author of eight hymns in our old green Presbyterian Hymnal (1933), including “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”  “Bread of the World, In Mercy Broken,” “The Son of God Goes Forth to War,” “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains.” He also wrote “O God, My Sins Are Manifold,” and “The Feeble Pulse, the Gasping Breath,” a burial hymn.

John Bacchus Dykes

                John Dykes was born on 10 Mar 1823 in Hull, England.  His father was a shipbuilder and banker.  His mother was the daughter of a surgeon and the granddaughter of Rev. William Huntington, Vicar of Kirk Ella.

                Dykes became the assistant organist at St. John’s Church in Myton, Hull, at age 10, where his paternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Dikes, was vicar and his uncle (Thomas) was organist.

                He attended college at Cambridge, where he joined the madrigal society and the Peterhouse Musical Society, for which he served as president.

                After graduating, he became curate of Malton, North Yorkshire, in 1847.  In January 1848 at York Minster, Dykes was ordained Deacon.  In 1849, he became canon of Durham Cathedral.  In 1862, he was granted the benefice of St. Oswald’s, Durham.  (That is, he was to serve as vicar of the parish, and in return he was given legal possession during his lifetime of the parish’s properties and possessions, from which he was to obtain his income.)

                Dykes, unlike his father and grandfather, supported the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England, and supported ritualistic practices shunned by the English Reformation.  He became a member of the Society of the Holy Cross and supported the use of wafers for bread and facing east when celebrating communion.

                Dykes’ bishop, Bishop Charles Baring, was of the reformist wing and refused to give Rev. Dykes a curate for his parish.  Dykes retained the services of the Attorney General, Dr. A. J. Stephens, QC, and took his bishop to the Court of Queen’s Bench, but lost.

                Those who were in Dykes’ camp claim that the loss of the case and the resulting overwork led to his diminished health, both physically and mentally.  The medical evidence suggests instead that Dykes’ loss of physical and mental health was due to tertiary syphilis. [The Life, Works and Enduring Significance of the Rev. John Bacchus Dykes, Doctoral thesis, 2016, by Graham M. Cory, Durham University, pp. 144-146.]

                In March 1875, Dykes left St. Oswald’s and went to Switzerland.  He then returned to the south coast of England and died in an asylum at Ticehurst on 22 Jan 1876, aged 52.

                The gospel lesson is from the last five verses of the last chapter of Matthew, Matthew 28:16-20, the Great Commission.

                So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted.

                Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

                And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

                The epistle reading is from the last three verses of the last chapter of 2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13.

                Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

                Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

                The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

                The second hymn is No. 132, “Come, Great God of All the Ages.” The words were written by Mary Jackson Cathey in 1987.

                The tune is ABBOT’S LEIGH, 1941, by Cyril Vincent Taylor.  The hymn we most frequently sing to this tune is Fred Pratt Green’s hymn “God Is Here,” No. 461.  ABBOT’S LEIGH is used for many hymns, the most familiar probably being “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” and “Lord, You Give the Great Commission.”
                There are only a few recordings of Mary Cathey’s hymn on YouTube, and they were all made in Presbyterian Churches.

                You can hear the tune here:  “Come, Great God of All the Ages” (Tune: ABBOT’S LEIGH”), First Presbyterian Church, Natchez, MS

                Cyril Vincent Taylor was born in Wigan, Lancaster, England, on 11 Dec 1907 and died 20 Jun 1991 at Petersfield, Hampshire, England.  He was the son of an Anglican priest and attended Christ Church College, Oxford.  He became the precentor of Bristol Cathedral.

                During World War II, Taylor was the producer of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC, and he was stationed in Abbot’s Leigh; hence the name of the tune.  In 1951, he helped produce and edit the BBC Hymn Book, which was to be used with the Daily Service broadcast by the BBC.

                He was cremated at Chichester and interred at Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, where his final resting place is marked by the plaque shown below, which includes the beginning notes of his famous tune:

                The author, Mary Jackson Cathey (b. 1926, Florence, SC) was an elder at National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.  She obtained a master’s degree in 1953 from the other Union Seminary: Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, from which a former elder of Old South Haven also graduated.

Mary Jackson Cathey

                Before going to National Presbyterian, she had been Director of Religious Education at Bethesda Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, Maryland, and before that, she held a similar position at the First Presbyterian Church of Anderson, SC.  She married Dr. Henry Marc Cathey of Bethesda in 1958.

                Dr. Marc Cathey, a noted horticulturist, received master’s and PhD degrees from Cornell University and worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before becoming director of the National Arboretum (1981-1993).  He is the author of the A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and many other works.  After he retired in 2005, he and his wife, Mary Jackson Cathey, moved back to his home town, Davidson, NC.  He died 08 Oct 2008.

                The title of the sermon is “God’s Loving Face.”

                The closing hymn is “Breathe on Me, Breath of God,” no. 316.  ,” with words by Edwin Hatch, 1886. The words first appear in his self-published little book Beyond Doubt and Prayer, 17 pages.

                Edwin Hatch was born at Derby on 04 Sep 1835.

        Rev. Edwin Hatch, D.D.

                Hatch was a graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford, and, at age 25, won the Ellerton Theological Essay Prize (1858).  (The prize was awarded for the best English essay on “some doctrine or duty of the Christian religion, or on some of the points on which we differ from the Romish Church, or on any other subject of theology which shall be deemed meet and useful.”) He was a winner of the Stanhope Historical Essay Prize for the best essay on a subject of Modern History in 1865 (where “modern history” was defined as history of the period between 1300 A.D. and 1815 A.D.).

                He served as Vice Principal of St. Mary Hall, Oxford (1867) and as Rector of Purleigh (1883).  He died on 10 Nov 1889.

                The tune, TRENTHAM, was not written for this hymn, but was instead composed by Robert Jackson for they hymn “O Perfect Life of Love” by Henry W. Baker.

                Robert Jackson was born in May, 1842, at Royton (near Oldham), Lancashire, England.  He named the tune for a village close to the town in which he was born.  Jackson was trained at the Royal Academy of Music, then was the organist at St. Mark’s Church, Grosvenor Square, London, but only for a short time. 

                Most of his life he was the organist at St. Peter’s Church, Oldham (1868-1914).  His father preceded him there as organist, a position that his father had held for forty-eight years. Robert Jackson held the same post as his father for forty-six years.  So, together, they were the organists at St. Peter’s, Oldham, for nearly a century.  Jackson died 12 Jul 1914 at Oldham.

                The Psalter Hymnal Handbook says that this “serviceable tune” is “barely adequate for the fervor” of  the text of “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.”

      “Breathe on Me, Breath of God,” the Mountain Anthems, a cappella

Instrumental Music

                The prelude is a melody from Christoph Gluck’s ballet Alessandro (Les amours d’Alexandre et de Roxane) which premiered in Vienna on 04 Oct 1764.  Gluck composed the music for eight ballets and 49 operas (35 are full-length operas).

                You can hear Alessandro (The Loves of Alexander and Roxane) here: The music of Christoph Gluck’s Alessandro

                Christoph Willibald Gluck was born 02 Jul 1714 in a region of Germany then called the Upper Palatinate (near Neumarkt in Bavaria).  He grew up in Bohemia, then, according to some, went to Prague, where he studied logic and mathematics in 1731. In 1737, Gluck went to Milan where G. B. Sammartini was his teacher.  He composed his first opera there in 1741.

                In 1745, he went to London where the composed two operas and became acquainted with the music of Handel.  Handel himself was somewhat critical of Gluck’s music.  Handel said his cook knew more about counterpoint than did Gluck.  However, Handel’s cook was Gustavus Waltz who sang in some of Handel’s productions and was an excellent contrapuntist. 

                After London, Gluck traveled to Dresden, Vienna, Copenhagen, Prague, and Naples, finally settling in Vienna in 1754. In Vienna, Gluck mentored Antonio Salieri.

                Gluck brought a new style of opera to the Hapsburg court there, which, for the period (the 1760s), was called “radical.” 

                In Paris, his patron was Marie Antoinette, one of his former students who, in 1770, had married the future king of France (King Louis XVI).  While in Paris, he merged the styles of French and Italian opera.  His greatest success was the opera Iphigénie en Tauride.

                In 1779, Gluck suffered a stroke and returned to Vienna.  He recovered and continued to produce new works, though none were major.  On 15 Nov 1787, he had another stroke and died, age 73.

                The music for the offertory is “Ave Verum” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

                This music will be familiar to the choir because we’ve sung it (or, at least, practiced it).

                In the Middle Ages, “Ave verum Corpus” was sung at the elevation of the host during consecration—a practice strongly denounced by the English reformers in 1549.  (Martin Luther retained the elevation of host, but in England, it was forbidden.)

                Queen Mary I, (known as bloody Mary for the many Protestant leaders she had burned at the stake), reinstituted the Catholic mass.

                Her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I, brought back Protestantism and again banned the elevation of the host.

                [Queen Elizabeth I also held to another policy of the Reformers, the prohibition of the use of candles when none were needed.  At the opening of Parliament, when Elizabeth was met by monks with candles she unceremoniously dismissed them, “Away with those torches; we can see well enough!”]

            In the English Reformation, the Puritans in particular believed that the church had been corrupted by the adoption of superstitious practices meant to dazzle the worshippers rather than lead them to a true understanding of how to lead a Christian life.  They totally rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation.  It is from them that we get the word “hocus pocus.”

            According to the Oxford English Dictionary

"hocus pocus", the traditional magician's incantation derives from a distortion of hoc est enim corpus meum - "this is my body" - the Latin words of consecration accompanying the elevation of the host at Eucharist, the point, at which according to traditional Catholic practice, transubstantiation takes place, which was mocked by Puritans and others as a form of "magic words."


                You can hear this piece sung here by the boys’ choir, King’s College.

                       King’s College Choir sings “Ave Verum Corpus (Hail, true Body)” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

or you can listen to The Concordia Choir sing it here:

                       “Ave Verum Corpus” sung by The Concordia Choir of Moorhead, Minnesota

                The postlude is “March in C” by Carl Maria von Weber.

       “March in C” by Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria von Weber, 1820, six years before his death

                Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was born 18 Nov 1786 in Eutin, Bishopric of Lübeck, Germany.  His mother was a singer.  His father was a violinist.

                Carl’s father, Franz, inserted “von” in his name to make it sound more aristocratic.

                Carl Weber had a musical education.  At age 12, in 1798, he studied with the younger brother of Joseph Haydn, Michael, in Salzburg.  That same year, he also studied with the singer Walllishauser in Munich, and with the organist Johann Kalcher.  He published his first works that year, six fughettas for piano.  He soon composed his first opera, a mass, and Variations for the Pianoforte.

                At age 14, he wrote another opera, The Silent Forest Maiden, which was performed in the Freiberg theater. (It wasn’t a success.)

                At age 17, he wrote the opera Peter Schmoll and his Neighbors which was produced in Augsburg and was more favorably received.

                When he was 18, he became Director of the Breslau Opera.  He tried to pension off the older singers and have the company perform more challenging works, but this proved unpopular—both with the musicians and with the public.

                From age 21 to 24, he was the private secretary of Duke Ludwig, the brother of the king of Württemberg, King Frederick I.

                Things did not go well with Carl von Weber during this period.  His father embezzled a great deal of the Duke’s money, and Carl had an affair with an opera singer, Margarethe Lang, that ended badly.  Carl and his father were banished from the kingdom.

                After that, he was Director of the Opera in Prague (1813-1816) and Director of the Opera in Dresden (after 1817), while continuing to compose music himself.

                He married the singer Caroline Brandt on 04 Nov 1817.

                In 1824, he was invited to compose and produce a work for the Royal Opera, London, which he did, conducting the premiere on 12 Apr 1826.  He had contracted tuberculosis before arriving in London, but continued to conduct twelve more performances, all of which were sold out.  He died in London on 05 Jun 1826 at the home of Sir George Smart, where he had been staying.  He was 39 years old.