Category : Liturgy, Music, Worship

For his Feast Day–Charles Wesley’s And Can it be

Listen to it all.

Lyrics:

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Refrain:
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

For Their Feast Day–(CH) John and Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley are among the most notable evangelists who ever lived. As young men, they formed a party which came to be derisively called Methodists, because they methodically set about fulfilling the commands of scripture. In due course they learned that works cannot save, and discovered salvation by faith in Christ. Afterward, they carried that message to all England in sermon and in song. John Wesley is credited with staving off a bloody revolution in England such as occurred in France.

Although the brothers did not set out to establish a church, the Wesleyans and the Methodists are their offspring.

Both preached, both wrote hymns. But John is more noted for his sermons and Charles for his hymns. Here we present two hymns by Charles and a sermon by John.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology

(CT) Ukrainian American Churches Deploy Praise as a Weapon

In the East Village, some of those refugees attend Cornerstone First Ukrainian Assembly of God, where elderly women in traditional headscarves worship alongside young people in sweatshirts. The Pentecostal congregation now includes Russians, Nigerians, and Belarusians, with services in a mix of Ukrainian, Russian, and English.

Many at Cornerstone have family in Ukraine and fear their fate as the war continues day by day. On Sunday, one woman with white hair wept softly through the whole service.

“What can we do but stay in prayer and cry to God?” said elder Peter Pristash, who lived much of his life in Ukraine and is now a US citizen.

As the nuclear threat escalated tensions, people in the service were in disbelief about how quickly the situation had spiraled.

“Our minds fail to understand: How is this possible in this day and age?” said Pristash before the congregation. “God allowed this to happen, and we do not know why. But we know God is sovereign, and he is on his throne. There are people who think if they kill someone it will accomplish a goal.”

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Ukraine

(Yorkshire Post) New generation of worshippers finds faith through surge in online church services

Research by the Church of England has revealed that more than 9,000 churches – equating to 78 per cent of places of worship – offered Church at Home online, via email, post and telephone during the first lockdown between March and July 2020.

More than 8,000 churches offered livestreamed or pre-recorded services, while more than 5,000 places of worship provided services downloadable from a website or via email.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, claimed last year that the advent of online worship had led to a “digital coming of age”.

The Church of England’s head of digital, Amaris Cole, said: “Online services and worship have provided people with the chance to gather together, regardless of where they are in the country – or in the world – to experience the consoling message of the Christian faith at what has been a difficult and painful time for many.

Read it all.<

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(MIT News) Singing in the brain

For the first time, MIT neuroscientists have identified a population of neurons in the human brain that lights up when we hear singing, but not other types of music.

These neurons, found in the auditory cortex, appear to respond to the specific combination of voice and music, but not to either regular speech or instrumental music. Exactly what they are doing is unknown and will require more work to uncover, the researchers say.

“The work provides evidence for relatively fine-grained segregation of function within the auditory cortex, in a way that aligns with an intuitive distinction within music,” says Sam Norman-Haignere, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Read it all

Posted in Anthropology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Psychology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Fanny Crosby

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in thee: We give thanks for thy servant Fanny Crosby, and pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing ever of thy love, praising our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

(RNS) Streaming online has been a boon for churches, a godsend for isolated

For a small church, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, has a surprising reach.

Most church members live in and around Downingtown, a small town about an hour west of Philadelphia. Some live as far away as Bermuda.

“But that’s one of the beauties that has come out of the pandemic,” Downingtown pastor Ivy Berry said. “We can meet in the sanctuary, but still maintain a worship presence via Zoom and on Facebook Live, so members who may not be able to travel to the sanctuary can still receive the same worship service.”

A report on churches and technology during the pandemic found that by offering online services, churches were able to expand their reach, often connecting with people outside their community or reconnecting with former members who had moved away. Even small congregations that had once struggled to reach outside the walls of the church were able to expand their reach, according to “When Pastors Put on the ‘Tech Hat,” a report from the Tech in Churches research project, led by Heidi Campbell, professor of communication at Texas A&M University.

“With the shift online, churches were shocked to discover the ways that an online service can become a wide-reaching net to whoever is interested in tuning in or watching,” according to researchers. “One pastor described this widening reach and shift as ‘shut-ins being no longer shut out.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Parish Evensong congregation grows from just one to more than 70 – with the help of church choir and a home cooked meal

St Paul’s Without the Walls has seen its evening service of choral music and traditional liturgy grow in popularity after introducing a home cooked meal.

The idea came to parishioner Michael Keeler-Walker following suggestions the service would be stopped.

He said: “We had Choral Evensong once a month, but often it was irregular and sometimes just dropped.

“Despite a choir of 18, often the only congregant would be the person doing the reading.
“So, we decided to go back to basics. It became regular, each month, focussing on good food, good fellowship, good preaching, and good music.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

More Music for Epiphany–Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning [Thrupp]

Words: Bishop Reginald Heber
Tune: ‘Epiphany’ – Joseph Thrupp

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Epiphany–The Three Kings – Peter Cornelius

Listen to it all.

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(C of E) New ‘cathedral’ of digital worshippers emerges from online broadcasts

Members of a new “cathedral” of online worshippers formed since the first lockdown are to play a key role in the Church of England’s 100th national online service to be broadcast this weekend.

Prayers will be read by people who joined a regular digital worshipping community that grew through YouTube and Facebook broadcasts of national online services.

The first national online service was broadcast from the crypt chapel at Lambeth Palace on Mothering Sunday 2020 as the nation went into lockdown. Since then a service has been broadcast every Sunday – with additional services broadcast over Easter, Advent and Christmas.

The broadcast on Sunday, marking the milestone of the 100th service, will led by the Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields Dr Sam Wells, with a sermon from Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, who oversees the Church of England’s national online services.

Dr Hamley, who took part in the first online service broadcast in March 2020 from the Crypt chapel of Lambeth Palace, will pay tribute to the work of both the national and local churches in providing online services during the pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Music for Epiphany–Jacob Handl (1550–1591): Omnes de Saba venient

Lyrics:

All they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense;
and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. Alleluia.
The Kings of Tharsis and of the isles shall give Him presents;
the Kings of Arabia and Sheba shall bring gifts. Alleluia.

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–Cantanta No. 4 From Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Listen to it all.

The text begins this way:

Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben
Fall with thanks, fall with praise
Vor des Höchsten Gnadenthron!
Before the throne of mercy of the Highest!
Gottes Sohn
The son of God
Will der Erden
Is willing to become
Heiland und Erlöser werden,
The saviour and redeemer of the world,
Gottes Sohn
The son of God
Dämpft der Feinde Wut und Toben.
Subdues as the rage and fury of the enemy.

You can find the rest there.

Posted in Christmas, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Hark the Herald Angels Sing–the Original Lyrics from Charles Wesley

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Christ, by highest heav’n ador’d,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.

Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate deity!
Pleas’d as man with men t’ appear
Jesus, our Immanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

Mild He lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner Man:
O! to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.

Posted in Christmas, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

A Charles Wesley Hymn for New Years Day

Found there:

1. All praise to the Lord, Whose trumpet we hear,
Which speaks in his word, The festival year:
The loud proclamation Of freedom from thrall,
And gospel-salvation is publish’d to all.

2. The year of release Even now is begun,
And pardon, and peace, With Jesus sent down;
Eternal redemption Thro’ him we obtain,
And present exemption, From passion and pain.

3 Ye spirits enslav’d Your liberty claim,
Believe, and be sav’d, Thro’ Jesus’s Name;
That infinite Lover Of sinners embrace,
And gladly recover His forfeited grace.

4. With joyfullest news Your prisons resound,
Your fetters are loose, Your souls are unbound:
Resume the possession For which ye were born,
From Satan’s oppression To heaven return.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–Det är en ros utsprungen- Jan Sandström

Michael Praetorius arr. Jan Sandström sung by Siglo de Oro

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night. [based on Isaiah 11:1]

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–Handel: Messiah, For unto us a child is born

Enjoy it all from the London Symphony Orchestra.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The Coventry Carol for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

Lyrics:

Lullay, thou little tiny child
Sleep well, lully, lullay
And smile in dreaming, little one
Sleep well, lully, lullay
Oh sisters two, what may we do
To preserve on this day
This poor youngling for whom we sing
Sleep well, lully, lullay
Farewell, lully, lullay
Herod the king in his raging
Set forth upon this day
By his decree, no life spare thee
All children young to slay
All children young to slay
Then woe is me, poor child, for thee
And ever mourn and say
For thy parting, neither say nor sing
Farewell, lully, lullay
Farewell, lully, lullay
And when the stars fill darkened skies
In their far venture, stay
And smile as dreaming, little one
Farewell, lully, lullay
Dream now, lully, lullay

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–The Gloucester Cathedral Choir sings In the Bleak Midwinter

Listen to it all.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–O Magnum Mysterium – Morten Lauridsen

Lyrics:

O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio! Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum. Alleluia
O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger! Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord. Alleluia!

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

Ever since I first heard it, my favorite Christmas song–KSH.

Lyrics–The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit, and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be
of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

Posted in Christmas, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Eleanor Parker) ‘Farewell, Advent, Christmas is come!’

15. This time of Christ’s feast natal,
We will be merry, great and small,
And thou shalt go out of this hall;
Farewell from us both all and some!

16. Advent is gone, Christmas is come;
Be we merry now, all and some!
He is not wise that will be dumb
In ortu Regis omnium. [At the coming of the King of all things]

Read it all.

Posted in Advent, Christmas, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Christmas 2021–Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss – The Wexford Carol

Lyrics:

Good people all, this Christmas time
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn
There was a blessed Messiah born
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
‘Prepare and go, ‘ the angels said
‘To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus born
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went, this babe to find
And as God’s angel had foretold
They did our saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side the virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of life
Who came on earth to end all strife
Good people all, this Christmas time
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas day
In Bethlehem upon that morn
There was a blessed Messiah born

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(CT) We’ve No Less Days to Sing God’s Praise, But New Worship Songs Only Last a Few Years

Worship songs don’t last as long as they used to. The average lifespan of a widely sung worship song is about a third of what it was 30 years ago, according to a study that will be published in the magazineWorship Leader in January.

For the study, Mike Tapper, a religion professor at Southern Wesleyan University, brought together two data analysts and two worship ministers to look at decades of records from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). The licensing organization provides copyright coverage for about 160,000 churches in North America and receives rotating reports on the worship music that is sung in those churches, tracking about 10,000 congregations at a time.

Looking at the top songs at those churches from 1988 to 2020, the researchers were able to identify a common life cycle for popular worship music, Tapper told CT. A song typically appears on the charts, rises, peaks, and then fades away as worship teams drop it from their Sunday morning set lists.

But the average arc of a worship song’s popularity has dramatically shortened, from 10 to 12 years to a mere 3 or 4. The researchers don’t know why.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Isaac Watts

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

William Temple on Worship for His Feast Day

Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of the mind with His truth; the purifying of the imagination of His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to his purpose and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes, worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin.

–William Temple Readings in St. John’s Gospel (Wilton, Connecticut: Morehouse Barlow, 1985 reprint of the 1939 and 1940 original), p.67

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

(C of E) Church sees congregation grow with outdoor prayer meetings

St Mary the Virgin, Fawley, launched the Friday prayer group in the first week of lockdown in March 2020.

Led by a local congregant, Julia Ogilvy, the group has seen around 50 people regularly attend in the churchyard with more than 100 people joining at Christmas.

Julia explained: “The usual congregation for our fortnightly Sunday service is around eight people whereas we have at least 50 regulars who like to attend Friday prayers whenever they can.”

The informal nature of the outdoor setting also helped congregants feel safer during the pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(CT) Are Empty Pews an American Public Health Crisis?

Glass’s case might be a dramatic one, but it illustrates a documented pattern in our society: People find their social and personal lives improved—sometimes their lives are even physically saved—when they go to church often.

In 2019, Gallup reported that only 36 percent of Americans view organized religion with “a great deal of confidence,” down from 68 percent in 1975. The study’s authors speculate that this trend has been driven in part by the highly publicized moral failures and crimes of religious institutions and leaders.

The decline in confidence in churches has been accompanied by steep recent declines in both church membership and attendance. Barna Group found that 10 years ago, in 2011, 43 percent of Americans said they went to church every week. By February of 2020, that had dropped 14 percentage points to 29 percent.

But when Americans describe the reasons they seldom or never attend church, scandals don’t get top billing. Instead, people who think of themselves as Christians are more likely to say that they practice their faith in other ways (44 percent) or that there’s something they don’t like about the service (38 percent).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Songs of Praise: Queen congratulates BBC show on 60th anniversary

The Queen has congratulated “all those involved” in BBC One’s Songs of Praise as the show celebrates 60 years on air.

Nearly 3,000 episodes of the world’s longest-running religious TV programme have aired since its first transmission, from Cardiff, in 1961.

In a message to be broadcast on Sunday’s show in Westminster Abbey, the Queen applauded the series for showing Christianity as “a living faith”.

Hosted by Aled Jones, the show will feature ex-presenters and star guests.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Politics in General, Religion & Culture