Our theme of ‘Love’ continues today and for the next few weeks. Hopefully you will hear the meaning of God’s Love for us in our Anthem later on in the service. John 3:16 tells us of the love God has for us and the extent of that love—so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf.
I was inspired to a ‘Love’ theme when I selected the choir Anthem ‘Love Divine’ by Howard Goodall, which the choir will sing in a few weeks’ time. It was from here that I had the idea to find some other music on that same theme that myself and the choir could use
Music as you gather
In CH4 there is a section for ‘Love of God’. Two hymns on that theme are found at numbers 519 and 474. Unsurprisingly no.519 is ‘Love Divine’ but a lesser known hymn is found at no.474, ‘Hail to the Lord’s anointed’. It is the set tunes to these hymns that form the first section of Organ Music.
These hymns remind us of God’s Love for us – John 3:16 tells us ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ Please read over the words to these two hymns as we prepare for worship.
Hyfrydol – a melody by RH Pritchard, arranged by R Vaughn Williams and taken from his set of three hymn preludes. Hyfrydol means ‘Cheerful’ and what better way to describe God’s Love for us. It has an almost stately feel to it, which is directed by the composer himself – Moderato Maestoso. It is played using the principal foundation stops of the organ.
Es ist ein ros – a 16th Century German Melody, arranged for organ by John M Rasley. The tune name translates to ‘Lo, how a rose e’er blooming’, and was first published with that text in the Cologne Gesangbuch of 1599. Es ist ein ros is a rounded bar form tune (AABA). The tune has characteristics of a Renaissance madrigal. This arrangement has Solo flutes on the great organ accompanied by softer stops on the swell.
I love you Lord, and I lift my voice – reminds us that our love for God is an integral part of our worship, that we do rejoice in that love and that it is indeed a sweet, sweet thing indeed. The song is by Laurie Klein and was written in 1978. Today we pick up the tempo a little and we sing it unaccompanied. You will hear the close harmonies from the choir intertwined with the words.
Could Psalm 18:1 ‘I love you, Lord, my strength.’ have given the songwriter inspiration? The word love is used, but it’s not the usual Hebrew word for love. However, it does emphasize intimacy, expressing David’s personal devotion. You can look it up at hymn 770, please follow the words and use it as your own personal Call to Worship.
We all know the hymn ‘How deep the Father’s love’ we sing it often from CH4. The choral arrangement is by Larry Shackley who is a full-time composer and music editor from Columbia, SC. Larry’s published music includes over 200 choral pieces, seven cantatas, and 400 keyboard arrangements, as well as vocal and instrumental collections and numerous orchestrations. This arrangement naturally has an American feel to it, and it suits the words, music and rhythm perfectly. It is accompanied on the piano, so it has a lighter feel to it.
I want to use a meditation I found on-line to start our thinking on some of the words of the song, and that you indeed know the deep, deep love of God.
‘How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He would give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure’
‘Inconceivable! Who swaps the perfect for the imperfect? Who chooses me—woeful, sinful me—over perfect love and fellowship with Jesus . . . even for a moment? God the Father! It goes beyond all my reason and imagination that God chooses to treasure his fallen, ragged, filthy creation, but he does. It’s a love I can’t fathom. It’s a love to wallow in.’
A bible passage to think on is Mark 15:22 – 24. It reminds us of the sacrifice and the love.
How deep the Father’s love for us – is a beautifully crafted modern worship song by the renowned Christian song writer Stuart Townend. He penned the lyrics and wrote the melody. The arrangement at the offering is the one that he would be used at live events and recordings.
Felix Mendelssohn’s Allegro from his Organ Sonata No. 2 is a favourite recessional at weddings – so the love theme continues! It is marked ‘Allegro maestoso e vivace’ which translates from music speak to normal speak as ‘A direction to play lively and fast’ whilst being ‘Majestic and Stately’. It begins with a happy dotted rhythmic section with a rising scale like phrase and octave leaps in the pedals (fig 1). It uses almost full organ and listen out for the running notes in the pedal section! (fig 2)
You could describe the movement as being built on a broad, dignified, symmetrical basis, the spirit resembling somewhat that of a stately march. Its form is simple and has but one theme.
Use the times of music to listen, relax, and meditate; let the music, with its melodies and harmonies, transport you to a place of calm and gentleness whilst we remember that we are in God’s House. Enjoy this week’s music.
Organist & Director of Music