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Sermon Occupations For Organists

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I thought the injunction was "be still and know that I am God" - not jump about and make a noise.

 

For every "Be still" injunction in the bible I bet there's a "Make a joyful noise", "Shout unto the Lord", "Praise Him upon the clashing cymbals". And didn't that arch-conservative (with regard to music in worship) Ralph Vaughan-Williams set the text "O Clap Your Hands"?

 

The children where I play the organ and the piano sing both sorts of song.

 

And with regard to "choice" there wasn't much choice in 1662. If you didn't like the BCP then emigration or worship in secret were your only options.

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For every "Be still" injunction in the bible I bet there's a "Make a joyful noise", "Shout unto the Lord", "Praise Him upon the clashing cymbals". And didn't that arch-conservative (with regard to music in worship) Ralph Vaughan-Williams set the text "O Clap Your Hands"?

 

The children where I play the organ and the piano sing both sorts of song.

 

And with regard to "choice" there wasn't much choice in 1662. If you didn't like the BCP then emigration or worship in secret were your only options.

 

Indeed and the churches were full and the parson collected his tithes, there was no proper street lighting, no effective police force and no indoor plumbing and no oven ready meals. Obviously a different age when religion mattered. Less than 30 years later we threw out a King because he was Catholic. We know about the events of1688 - 1690 in Ulster ! Because I like the dignified language of a certain age does not mean I want to live in it and forgo the benfits of modern medical and dental science (if you can get an NHS dentist). I am all for choice and I am happy to allow everyone else to worship in a way that suits them: all I require of them is that they accord me the same freedom . I am glad the children where you play "sing both sorts of song" but there are plenty of places where only one sort of song is heard and it is not the kind that would have been heard in church when I first started attending.

 

In any event my understanding of the puritain tradition is not that it was libertarian. It simply wanted a different authoritarian model. The problem with RCs seems like a precursor of the present problem with respect to some Muslims, namely a tendency to put loyalty to the faith ahead of loyalty to the state. Unsurprisingly the state took the view they had got this the wrong way round, and executed a number for treason. Some of them were probably innocent, but so was Jean Charles de Menezes.

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.This evening one of my wife's violin pupils asked for help with a GCSE composition. She had a tune in her head, but no clue about how to convert it into musical notation, because they don't teach rudiments at school any more. It's not the teachers' fault. The syllabus has to cater for all abilities so is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Anything cerebral doesn't get a look in.

 

 

Some of us do! I will also correct grammar in music essays and self-appraisals.

 

However, I do agree that there is a current (and alarming) trend to dumb-down many areas of our society - not just the GCSE music syllabus.

 

Brian - many wise words. Thank you for your post regarding vernacular language, etc. I have long held similar views. Ironically, the so-called 'Worship Committee' which organise special services in our church produce vernacular language services that are often inscrutable - either that, or they insult anyone of a reasonable intelligence by proceeding to 'explain' (usually quite badly) everything to the last degree. They once attempted to 'explain' the Trinity using three flannellette bed-sheets of varying pastel hues, which had been roped together. They might have been better using a shamrock ("The Trinity is like a shamrock - small, green and split three ways!" [Eric Idle: Nuns on the Run].)

 

They have prepared a service for Mothering Sunday - personally, having seen the script, I am not exactly looking forward to it. They have also been allowed to choose the hymns. This is a bad idea, since they have done what they always do - they have chosen songs which a small percentage know and like and no-one else has ever heard. Even 'un-churched' visitors have been known to complain about this, since some remember hymns which they sang as children and do not know such trite ditties as Our God is a great big God. (Before Rev. Newnham writes a reply: this may be suitable if you are seven and you know it, but I will not be persuaded that it is appropriate for a big service in which there will be many visitors - most of whom may well exhibit a variety of ecclesiastical leanings.)

 

Ah well - it is only one service, I suppose!

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This is not a sermon story, but we did have another of those embarrassing instances, last Sunday.

 

Matins was 'taken' by a retired Lay Reader, who is not particularly au fait with what happens - despite being told clearly every time he takes a service.

 

He stood up (at the time the Second Lesson should have been read) and announced "I believe in God..." then noticed the frantic head-shaking and whispering from the choir-stalls and said (somewhat sheepishly) "Ah - not yet I don't...."

 

It seemed to be a day for things to go awry for, despite being assured by myself that there would be readers who had already been asked to read the lessons, no-one stood up at the appropriate moment. After more frantic whispering, my boss tood up and strode to the lectern. He picked up a Bible - only to discover that it was a New Testament - said something under his breath and reached over for the enormous old Bible which sits behind the Gentlemen's stalls. He then opened it at a suitably random place and proceeded to read the first passage on which his eyes alighted. This worked well and we were all duly impressed with his sang froid. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be quite so effective for the New Testament reading and he got a fairly odd passage in which Paul (I think) was being his usual mysogenisitc self. Still, it could have been worse - all that 'evil concupiscence', or whatever it is.

 

Never a dull moment....

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trite ditties as Our God is a great big God. (Before Rev. Newnham writes a reply:

 

Gosh, don't know that one. I have heard "We've got a great big wonderful God".

 

Do you know Wenn das rote Meer grüne Welle hat..?

(When the red sea's on green wave....... meaning what traffic lights are when they're synchronised)

 

Can it get worse?

 

B

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Do you know Wenn das rote Meer grüne Welle hat..?

(When the red sea's on green wave....... meaning what traffic lights are when they're synchronised)

Can it get worse?

 

I did not know it, and have just looked up the »lyrics« on the web. De mortuis nihil nisi bene, so I won't tell off the poet.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Willms (Oops.)

 

Organ-related content, I admit, amounts to about the same as the Christian one.

 

This is a rough translation:

 

"When the red sea is on green wave, we freely leave (freely leave, freely leave ...) the country of slavery.

When our tears flow backwards, then we stay here, because the country has changed.

When the barbed wire grows red roses, then we stay ...

When our dreams bear fruit, then we stay ...

When the power lets down its arms in front of any child, then we stay ...

When the clock sounds thirteen and time itself breaks, then we stay ...

When the country gives us shelter, then we stay ..."

 

Sorry, now I have to go to the bathroom (for the sake of my keyboard).

 

Best,

Friedrich

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"Fact" or article of faith?

Well now, I think I should refer you to Tony. However Handel in Messiah wrote I know that my redeemer liveth: NOT I believe/think that my redeemer liveth so some have clearly treated it as a fact.

 

Hi

 

Definitely fact - can you really believe that intelligent men and women would be prepared to be martyred for a myth? Is it really believable that an experienced Roamn execution squad would make such a basic mistake? Even just reading the New Testament carefully indicates the truth of the resurrection - Jospehus (Jewish historian) mentions it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
He stood up (at the time the Second Lesson should have been read) and announced "I believe in God..." then noticed the frantic head-shaking and whispering from the choir-stalls and said (somewhat sheepishly) "Ah - not yet I don't...."

 

 

When I was at St Martin-in-the-Fields as a Choirmaster in the last century, the Evening Service sometimes was given a more informal approach by one of the clergy. A faithful yet rather deaf lady sat at the front for every service. Sometimes at this service the Creed would be abolished by this particular priest in favour of the hymn 'Firmly I believe and truly'. After the Second Lesson, Ivy would always jump in with the first line of The Creed before anyone could do anything else. One particular Sunday the dialogue went thus:

"Here endeth the 2nd Lesson"

"I Believe in God"

"No we don't. Hymn 168"

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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This is not a sermon story, but we did have another of those embarrassing instances, last Sunday.

 

Matins was 'taken' by a retired Lay Reader, who is not particularly au fait with what happens - despite being told clearly every time he takes a service.

 

He stood up (at the time the Second Lesson should have been read) and announced "I believe in God..." then noticed the frantic head-shaking and whispering from the choir-stalls and said (somewhat sheepishly) "Ah - not yet I don't...."

 

 

 

A bit like the Sidney Campbell story: Aged, somnambulant Canon immediately after the Mag.. "I believe in God..":

Retort from the loft.. "So do I, but we'll have the Nunc Dimittis first shall we?"!

 

David Wyld

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There is another, slightly longer story, which is purported to have taken place in Ely Cathedral, as far as I know....

 

Evensong was being taken by a much-loved retired Bishop, who was praying.... and was still praying when it came time to say the Creed. After a short silence, one of the Gentlemen of the Choir leaned forwards and tapped him on the shoulder, saying "My lord". No response.

 

A few seconds later, he tried again: "My lord - the Creed".

 

Still silence.

 

People were now getting restless, so, screwing up his courage, he tapped the Bishop formly on the shoulder and said in his best stage-whisper; "My lord - I believe in God!".

 

"Bless you, my son - so do I", came the response.

 

The Bishop then resumed his silent prayers....

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Matins was 'taken' by a retired Lay Reader, who is not particularly au fait with what happens - despite being told clearly every time he takes a service.
Which, since the format is so similar, suggests that he's also not particularly au fait with what happens at Evensong either. A growing problem, it seems, and a sad sign of the times.

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A bit like the Sidney Campbell story:  Aged, somnambulant Canon immediately after the Mag.. "I believe in God..":

Retort from the loft.. "So do I, but we'll have the Nunc Dimittis first shall we?"!

Lovely! I hadn't heard that one, but it sounds characteristic.

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Hi

 

Definitely fact - can you really believe that intelligent men and women would be prepared to be martyred for a myth?  Is it really believable that an experienced Roamn execution squad would make such a basic mistake?  Even just reading the New Testament carefully indicates the truth of the resurrection - Jospehus (Jewish historian) mentions it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

=====================

 

People martyr themselves on a daily basis in the middle-east, and for all sorts of reasons.

 

"Roman execution squads" did not make mistakes. Like all military personnel, they would follow orders and not ask questions.

 

However, in defending "truth," why is it that the first and last resort is always to quote the "evidence" contained in historical documents, which the early Christians never saw and did not need?

 

If religion is a court of law, the jury is currently out, deeply divided and struggling to elect a foreman.

 

If religion is about the prosecution of "faith" rather than the scrutiny of historical evidence, it probably has more chance of surviving the attentions of contemporary "Scribes and Pharisees."

 

As for THE resurrection, I wasn't there and cannot comment, but for those entombed in the prison of their own minds, "belief" can be a wonderful liberartor.

 

Personally, I've never uttered (or muttered) the words of the creed since the age of 11, and "I believe" there not to be the slightest reason why I should ever feel compelled to do so. (The moral of this, is never to buy a choirboy a copy of Boenhoffer).

 

I have no faith in bad history or pseudo-science.

 

MM

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I did not know it, and have just looked up the »lyrics« on the web. De mortuis nihil nisi bene, so I won't tell off the poet.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Willms (Oops.)

 

Organ-related content, I admit, amounts to about the same as the Christian one.

 

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Here's the organ content - I know this thing because it forms A PART OF THE "LITURGY" OF THE EASTER VIGIL HERE - other people sing "the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea".........

 

Now this is before the Resurrection Gospel, and since we are liturgically correct here, the organ sounds for the first time AFTER the gospel. So what to do?

 

I get to accompany it on a clapped-out electric piano, that's what. So much for the liturgy of a great cathedral. But as my boss put it, "I would like you to take notice of it, not comment on it."

 

Cheers

Barry

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Presumably this will be different next year - when the new organ has been installed?

 

Personally, I try to comment on the Gospel every time - unless it just does not lend itself easily to word-painting. In the latter case, I try to echo the mood of the service - I am a little surprised at the comment of your boss, unless, of course, he just does not think that it is worth doing anything very exciting on a half-dead electric piano.

 

You could, of course, give everyone a surprise (I was going to type 'treat') abd use the 'Fender Rhodes' mode - if it has one....

 

Good old Tubular Bells.

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Hi

 

Definitely fact - can you really believe that intelligent men and women would be prepared to be martyred for a myth?  Is it really believable that an experienced Roamn execution squad would make such a basic mistake?  Even just reading the New Testament carefully indicates the truth of the resurrection - Jospehus (Jewish historian) mentions it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Tony - very interesting area this. Two observations: Josephus may not be as reliable as we like to think; and not one single historical document outside the Bible records the 'historical fact' of a literal bodily resurrection. It can hardly have been an everyday event after all - but no source mentions it, even by implication. As for the New Testament - Mark, the oldest gospel , doesn't record the resurrection at all... In saying all this I don't intend to question anyone's faith or belief, let me be clear on that - they are just questions!

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Tony - very interesting area this. Two observations: Josephus may not be as reliable as we like to think; and not one single historical document outside the Bible records the 'historical fact' of a literal bodily resurrection. It can hardly have been an everyday event after all - but no source mentions it, even by implication. As for the New Testament - Mark, the oldest gospel , doesn't record the resurrection at all... In saying all this I don't intend to question anyone's faith or belief, let me be clear on that - they are just questions!

You should do a degree in theology - and I mean that in the most positive light.

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Gosh, don't know that one. I have heard "We've got a great big wonderful God".

 

Do you know Wenn das rote Meer grüne Welle hat..?

(When the red sea's on green wave....... meaning what traffic lights are when they're synchronised)

 

Can it get worse?

 

B

 

I have not heard the one you mention, Barry.

 

However, I suspect that it can get sillier - if not actually worse.

 

I have seen, in a 'songbook':

 

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

 

Words © 1987."

 

(Or some similar date.)

 

:wacko:

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I have seen, in a 'songbook':

 

    "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

 

    Words © 1987." 

 

(Or some similar date.)

 

:blink:

 

=====================

 

Wonderful stuff!

 

Don't forget the ones that go, variously:-

 

Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya

 

and of course

 

Praise, Praise, Praise

 

as well as

 

Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord.

 

I'd thought of being ambitious, by combining them into a new, condensed praise song called:-

 

Alleluya! Praise the Lord!

 

Will I become a poet?

 

B)

 

MM

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I have not heard the one you mention, Barry.

 

However, I suspect that it can get sillier - if not actually worse.

 

I have seen, in a 'songbook':

 

    "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

 

    Words © 1987." 

 

(Or some similar date.)

 

:blink:

'Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life' is my favourite. It's a real one...

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Oh my God....

 

That is truly dreadful. Whoever wrote that should be ashamed of themselves....

 

 

 

.... or burned at the stake.

 

:blink:

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

I have seen, in a 'songbook':

 

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

 

Words © 1987."

 

 

Sorry, this irresistibly reminds me:

 

In Mission Praise (original edition no.165) you will find the chorus

"O come let us adore Him."

 

This entirely consists (I kid you not) of the rather well-known chorus from "O come all ye faithful" albeit with three harmonies very, very slightly tweaked. It is proudly labelled

 

Copyright 1983 Roland Fudge.

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=====================

 

Wonderful stuff!

 

Don't forget the ones that go, variously:-

 

Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya

 

and of course

 

Praise, Praise, Praise

 

as well as

 

Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord.

 

I'd thought of being ambitious, by combining them into a new, condensed praise song called:-

 

Alleluya! Praise the Lord!

 

Will I become a poet?

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

Hi

 

I doubt it - and it's already been done (IIRC as a chorus to a song) - many years ago.

 

But be careful about complaints of repition - in a few weeks time many churches will use the hymn "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" - just count how many times that text uses the word "Hallelujah"! (and rightly so).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

P.S. I'm not getting into discussions about the truth of the resurrection on this list - I just pray that God will reveal Himself to those who doubt.

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