Hymn Meditation | Feast of St. James

September 14, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: Lord, Who Shall Sit Beside Thee | CHRISTUS DER IST MEIN LEBEN

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we were not able to gather together to celebrate our Patronal feast in July. This Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of Saint James the Apostle – Follower of Jesus, witness to the Ascension and early Martyr. William Romanis, an Anglican Priest, wrote the text for this hymn in direct reflection on the Gospel for this Sunday and the importance of Saint James in the communion of saints. The prolific German composer Melchior Vulpius wrote many hymn tunes and was Cantor and teacher in Weimar until his death in 1615. This tune, which translates as “For Me to Live is Jesus,” is one of over 400 hymn tunes Vulpius wrote and pairs perfectly with Romanis’ text. As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 15

September 7, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: Thine Arm, O Lord | ST. MATTHEW

If you’ve been a regular follower of these hymn meditations, you may notice that this hymn feels fresh in your memory. Indeed, it formed the hymn meditation a few months ago (the video and audio content for this week is brand new). The poetry of hymns, however, has an ability to reflect fresh on the words that surround it. This is the case for the Rev. Deacon Julie Beals’ sermon on Sunday which invited us to love, care for and protect all of God’s children. The author of this text, Edward H. Plumptre, was an Oxford educated priest and biblical scholar. The second verse refers to a town that we don’t often talk about in hymnody. Gennesaret was a town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 14

August 31, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: O Thou Who Camest From Above | HEREFORD

As did the sermon from Sunday, the text of this hymn by Charles Wesley invites us to share in the love of God as God has perfected and shared his love with us. Wesley is well known as the father of Methodism. Like Luther before him, his original intent wasn’t to form a new denomination, but to reform and revive the Church of England. His writings and teachings ultimately led to the formation of the Methodist Church. The tune, HEREFORD, was written by Wesley’s grandson - Samuel Sebastian Wesley. The younger Wesley was an English composer in the early 19th Century and primarily wrote music for the organ and use in church services. As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 13

August 24, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: Shepherd of Souls, Refresh and Bless | ST. AGNES

These words of Jesus, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (John 6:56) formed the central tenants of Sunday’s sermon. It is through Jesus’ body and blood that he remains with the disciples and continues to abide with us today. The appointed Psalm for the day (84) adds to this as the psalmist extols how excellent it is to be in God’s presence - his dwelling place. The text of this hymn by James Montgomery perfectly fits those ideas. The third verse is particularly appropriate: “Be known to us in breaking bread, and do not then depart; Saviour, abide with us, and spread thy table in our heart.” As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 12

August 17, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: Now, My Tongue, the Mystery Telling | GRAFTON

We continued this week in the lectionary hearing Jesus speak more in metaphor about being the bread of life. This week, however, is a little more complicated to hear. Thomas Aquinas, father, teach and doctor of the church, sums up the Gospel for this week well with this text which he authored. Rather than being about simply food and drink to eat, we are invited to sing out about the bread of life as we eat and drink. In these words, we proclaim that “faith alone the true heart waketh to behold the mystery” of Word made Flesh for the sake of the world. This text is more commonly sung to the plainsong tune, PANGE LINGUA. It’s inclusion in the 1925 Songs of Praise hymnal shows that it once had at least a scant popularity. The Songs of Praise hymnal was put together along broad lines because there were many that associated the relatively new The New English Hymnal with being too high church. Whether broad or high, this tune, once grasped, helps breathe life into Aquinas’ words. As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 11

August 10, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: O Living Bread from Heaven | AURELIA

We continued this week in the lectionary hearing Jesus speak more in metaphor about being the bread of life. As is often in his parables, these stories have multiple meanings beyond just what they appear. As Rev. Anne said in her sermon on Sunday, this week was about “provision for the future with grace upon grace upon grace.” It is this kind of grace that this hymn text is directly about. The tune we sing here, Aurelia, is familiar to us. It is that tune that we most often sing to the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation.” As is so often the case with these different text and tune pairings, familiar music allows us to sing new text with clarity and vision to the message of the text. Hopefully this week’s pairing allows you to pray deeper about Jesus as the bread of life. As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 10

August 3, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: My God, Thy Table Now is Spread | ROCKINGHAM

Written by Philip Doddridge and Isaac Watts, this text encompasses much from both the lessons and the Sermon this past Sunday. In the Gospel from last week, we heard the “I am the bread of life” parable. With Christ as the bread of life, we are drawn to the table to fed in love and send forth to share the bread of love with the world. The tune, ROCKINGHAM is a well-loved hymn tune. In addition to this text, we often sing this tune to another Isaac Watts tune: “When I survey the Wondrous Cross.” As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.

Hymn Meditation | Pentecost 9

July 27, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: O Love of God, How Strong and True | DE TAR

Written by Horatius Bonar, the text of this hymn beautifully encapsulates much of the lessons from Sunday as well as Rev. Anne’s sermon. The text explores the mysteries of God that are beyond our understanding such that we are only left with faith as we see these mysteries play out in our lives. We sang a different tune to this text on Sunday. De Tar, written by Calvin Hampton, represents a uniquely American contribution to hymnody. Yes, he was an Episcopalian, but this tune has transcended our denomination and this tune has wide support from across the broader church. Hampton was a leading musician in New York city throughout his life. From 1963-1983, he was Organist and Choirmaster at Calvary Episcopal Church in Gramercy Park, NYC. His untimely death in 1984 at the age of 45, due to complications of AIDS, brought awareness of the disease in much of the Episcopal Church. Hampton’s life may have been short, but we continue to be recipients of much of his musical output as the church continues to sing his music. As always, we invite you to either sing along at home or just follow along with the text and music as you continue your week in prayer.