Easter Hymn – have a look

Me at the console of St. James Dundas

Last year,  I wrote this hymn for the Easter Vigil of St. James Anglican Church in Dundas.  It was also sung the next morning for the Resurrection Eucharist. 

The images from the Great Vigil of Easter, as many of you will know, involve water, darkness and light, to put it simply.  Baptisms have often been held at the Vigil, and the great reading of the Exodus of Moses is read.  For many years running, I read the story, and it was difficult not to slide into John Cleese-esque “Pharoh, and his chariots, and his chariot drivers.” You can imagine the sound.  Not giggling was a requirement, and it was hard. 

Anyway, on to the hymn.  If you’re interested in using it, please be in touch with me for permission at loonsong@cogeco.ca   Thank you so much for reading this hymn. 

      

commissioned by Eric Osborne and St. James’ Anglican Church, Dundas, 

the Venerable Jim Sandilands and the Reverend Bill Mous 

for the Great Vigil of Easter, 2009 

  

Great Cascading Alleluias     

                                                      878787 suggested tune: Westminster Abbey 

Great cascading Alleluias 

Fill our spirits, warm our hearts. 

Jesus Christ is living, Risen, 

With the joy new life imparts. 

In response we raise our voices 

Shouting, “Now our living starts!” 

  

Life, renewed, will change our beings 

If we’re open to the call. 

Hearts of stone will soften, working, 

Pumping love and life for all. 

Spirits, too, can be restored when 

Love pours like a waterfall. 

  

Resurrection flows like water 

River splashing, sweet and pure. 

We are sprinkled with the blessing 

Living water can assure, 

And refresh the trees and grasses 

Fruits that feed and leaves that cure. 

  

When we gather ‘round the table 

Celebrating love that’s shared 

There is Resurrection in the 

Words and prayers with care prepared. 

Knowing Jesus’ sacrifice, the 

Gift that cannot be compared. 

  

Trumpets, voices, organs singing, 

Lifting Alleluias high. 

First the crowds had palms to wave, and 

Then they shouted, “Crucify!” 

Now the world has changed forever, 

 “Christ is Risen” fills the sky!      

Organ console reflections

   

How some hymns are written

Orgelbuchlein concert I
Orgelbuchlein concert II

Now, I take my handy-dandy Moleskine journal with me on my journeys, but in days gone by I often had to write on whatever came to hand.

 
I was at a recital of Bach’s entire Little Organ Book, put on by the local centre of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the idea for a new hymn celebrating organs and their use in worship came to mind.  I thought I’d only sketch out the ideas in rough, but the poetry came quite easily that afternoon in Port Nelson United Church, Burlington, where a good friend, Rev. Michael Brooks, is now the senior minister.
 
This hymn has been used at many organ dedications and celebrations, but to me it always brings to mind this purple concert programme and that afternoon when I just kept writing.  If you look closely on the scans, you might even decipher the words:
 
 

Organ Pipes Sing Holy Praises

1. Organ pipes sing holy praises;

Wood and metal songs abound.

Skills of players, tuners, builders

Join to make the joyful sound.

Flutes and strings and booming trumpets

Lift us up to holy ground.

2. Singing blessed by prayerful organ

Brings the soul a new reward;

Lifting people’s worship gently

To a place where God’s adored:

Beautiful emotions raising

Now with every flowing chord.

3. Gifted writers of the music

That makes worship rise and sing

Have throughout the ages brought their

New creations echoing,

Giving sound to Alleluia

With a new, inspired ring.

4. People’s senses are embraced by

Every organ’s mighty roar.

People of all ages join the

Organ praising evermore.

Voices mingled with the organ

Laud and worship, sing, adore.

5.God inspires the organ’s singing:

Praise to the Creator’s might!

Jesus gives our souls redeeming:

Praise the saving, holy light!

God the Spirit fills our breath and

Gives our praising voices flight!

878787 – could use Westminster Abbey, or Neander

written Sunday, 16 November 2003

Pipe Organ Thoughts

Easter Organ Pipes
I have, in many ways, dedicated my life to the organ. As a small child I pointed towards the organist at our church and said, “I want to do that.”  Although there have been some bumps in the roads, I have done just that.
I’m playing a little these days, but basically I’m retired from active playing due to physical problems, but my attention to the pipe organ hasn’t diminished.  Having a small studio of students, I can watch their progess with great care. Some of my former students are doing great things in the organ world, even as their training stage continues.
As you read this blog, I will refer to the organ often, no doubt.  I have published compositions (and several as yet unpublished) for the organ, and I continue to write about the organ.  Indeed, if it weren’t for the organ, I’d not have met my wife Sara.
For a few years, I served as Archivist and Historian to the Royal Canadian College of Organists.  During that time, Sara was hired as a summer intern for the College’s office in Toronto. We got to know each other as friends, and in due course of time, were married. (This was the Reader’s Digest version of the story)
Our wedding was described by Muriel Gidley Stafford, the Grand Dame of the College  as an RCCO royal wedding. So many friends and colleagues came to sing loudly and wish us well.  My best friend Paul Grimwood played for us and conducted the choir.
In 2005, the College (RCCO) granted me one of its highest honors – the Honorary Life Membership, of which I’m rather proud. Also, as I was under 40 when I got it, I intend to have free membership for many years to come!
RCCO Crest

Hymn for Elmvale Presbyterian Church

The Decades of our Mission 

 1. We hear our praises echo with love felt round the Earth,

We are renewed, forgiven – God validates our worth!

We’re changed because we’ve been here, profoundly made anew!

We see the world with vision that God’s love filters through.

2. The decades of our mission fulfilling God’s command,

Have changed our singing spirits just as our Maker planned.

The faithful generations have taught in this great land:

“Seek first God’s holy wisdom (kingdom) and righteous, healing hand.”

3. We’ve learned of one who helped on the road to Jericho,

‘Samaritan’ – a watchword for how we love and grow.

We seek to help a stranger, and walk the narrow way –

This place has shown God’s love that we live through ev’ry day!

 4. Our babies are baptised here, the young , they hear the call,

And many blesséd unions shine God’s great love for all.

As we remember loved ones whose final prayers were here,

We know that countless people found God’s compassion near.

5. God’s love is still creating, around us every day,

And Jesus calls us closer in words we sing and pray,

We feel the Spirit moving, our hearts and souls ablaze,

Where all our Alleluias sing universal praise!

 for the tune Aurelia 7676D

Elmvale Presbyterian Church

This hymn was commissioned by Anne Stuttaford (my wife Sara’s Granny, whom I love very much) to honour her friend Ellen MacLean, and Elmvale Presbyterian Church’s Sesquicentennial.

Elmvale is a beautiful little town and the Presbyterian church is a wonderful red-brick structure.  Ellen has been a great friend to Granny – always so kind and she often goes over and above the call of duty.

Granny stayed with Ellen for a while in early 2009 and I talked to Granny about being commissioned to write another hymn, and she thought of this as a thank-you gift for her chum.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and, using the well-known tune Aurelia, I think most congregations could sing it easily.

If you wish to use this hymn, please seek permission from me at loonsong@cogeco.ca.  Everyone one in a while on this blog I’ll offer free hymns for churches to use.  Please do let me know, though, so I can keep track of their use.  If you want to see more of my hymns, check the Hope Publishing web site for their online hymnody section.