The first hymn this Sunday will combine two old favorite traditions, the words of the 84th Psalm and the tune of the Christmas carol, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.” We will have read the Psalm responsively before we sing, addressing these words to God: “How lovely is your dwelling place…. A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” The church is called the house of God and the body of Christ, so on one level the Psalm is talking about how calming and comforting it can feel to be in our beautiful sanctuary. Jesus said that the realm of God is also within us, and Paul said that our bodies are temples, so on another level, the Psalm is talking about how lovely it is to sink into the presence of the Spirit within us and trust and rest in it because our true self is as beautiful and full of love and peace as any sanctuary.
We get into trouble with Jesus when we put on airs, when we puff ourselves up as if we were perfect or self-sufficient and independent of God. We will hear a parable telling us that it is far better simply to be our humble truth and admit our feebleness, flaws and faults and our need for mercy. (Luke 18:9-14). We will hear Paul talk about how the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit that we find in us may look like foolishness and weakness to the outside world, but it is wiser than human wisdom and stronger than human strength. (I Corinthians 1:17-31)
We have within us all we need for the transformation of our lives and our world. Humility is the key that unlocks that wisdom and power. We will explore the practical implications of that spiritual truth in several ways. John Atwood will give the children and interested adults a behind-the-scenes tour of the organ during the Time with the Children. We will meditate on Philippians 2:3-9. We will sing Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant (a YouTube version is below) and Just As I Am, Without One Plea. The choir and Diverse Musical Traditions team will sing as an Introit verses of “I Come to the Garden Alone (In the Garden)” and the choir will sing “Harvest Carol” by Ian Ray as the Anthem. John will play organ pieces by J. Stanley and both F. and L. Couperin. You can hear one of those pieces below.
Here is The Servant Song that we will sing as a hymn with slightly different words:
And here is a harpsichord version of a piece by Louis Couperin that John will play on the organ: