Hymn Meditation | Lent 2

March 2, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. O Jesus, I have promised | LLANFYLLIN

If this Welsh tune sounds very familiar to you, it’s because it has a sister tune that we often sing in Advent to the text “Rejoice! Rejoice, Believers”. Both the tune in this hymn and the Advent tune (LLANGLOFFAN) look very similar on the page and even sound similar. What makes these two tunes different, however, is that they are in different key signatures. The tune this week is in a major key while the Advent tune is in a minor key. This text is in our hymnal (#655​), but it is set to the early 20th century tune, NYACK. It not only works very well with the Gospel passage this week from Mark, but pairs well with the following Jesus theme from this past Sunday’s sermon. 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.

Visual Meditation | Second Sunday in Lent

February 28, 2021

This Contemplative Visual Meditation produced by Lisa Cerrina features images and music to accompany the Scripture readings for the Second Sunday in Lent (Feb. 28, 2021).

Hymn Meditation | Lent 1

February 23, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. The Glory of These Forty Days | ERHALT UNS, HERR

This hymn is thought to be authored by Pope Gregory the First, but there’s some scholarly debate on his authorship. For its origination in the 6th century, this text doesn’t focus on sin during Lent the way so many medieval texts do. Instead, it favors thanking God for this season of reflection, fasting and prayer – many of the things we focus on throughout Lent in the 21st century. The tune comes from “Geistliche Lieder, 1543” from which many of the German chorales we now sing originate. Bach uses this chorale tune in BWV 126 with the harmonization that is in our hymnal, but the text he uses is not the one we sing here. The first stanza of Bach’s “Erhalt uns, Herr” is anything but complimentary in a few ways, but the tune’s pairing with the text we sing makes logical sense. 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.

Visual Meditation | First Sunday in Lent

February 21, 2021

This Contemplative Visual Meditation produced by Lisa Cerrina features images and music to accompany the Scripture readings for the First Sunday in Lent (Feb. 21, 2021).

Choir | Like as the Hart

February 17, 2021

The St. James' Choir performs Herbert Howells' "Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks" for Ash Wednesday 2021.

Hymn Meditation | Epiphany 6

February 16, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: Christ Upon the Mountain Peak | MOWSELY

The text of this hymn has made it one of the quintessential hymns for the feast of the Transfiguration. Not only does it touch on all of the lessons for the day, but it speaks to the glory of Jesus as the Son of God as his true nature is revealed. The text was written by Brian Wren, one of the most important people in the revival of hymn writing in the 20th century. Wren is English by birth and was ordained in 1965 by what is now the United Reformed Church. He now resides in the United States where he’s active still as a hymn writer, author, lecturer and preacher. 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 | Epiphany 5

February 9, 2021

Organist Jason Klein-Mendoza offers a weekly hymn reflection on last Sunday’s sermon. Hymn: Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine | ASSURANCE

The hymn meditation for this week comes directly from the Rev. Gethin Wied’s sermon on Sunday. This hymn's refrain formed the basis for the Sermon, but the verses relate to the overall themes he preached on. Look back on YouTube for that Sermon and then relisten to this hymn. This hymn is perhaps the most well-known of all gospel hymns from the late 19th century. It’s a revival hymn by nature, but it reflects the truth of the Gospel that Jesus’ story is our story. Born out of his life and teaching, we find new life. With text by Fanny Crosby and tune by Phoebe Knapp, this hymn represents both a unique pairing of text and tune that are rarely if ever separated as well as enduring representation of women’s voices and the importance of female leadership in the Church. 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 | Epiphany 4

February 2, 2021

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

The text of this hymn was written in the 19th century by Horatius Bonar, a minister in the Church of Scotland (Reformed). Despite its relative age and the fact that it appears twice in our hymnal, its use is excluded from both of the modern English hymnals. Bonar explores the great depths of the love of God from strong and mighty to gentle in creation. The text speaks of God’s love in the midst of all of the darkness and temptation of the world. 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.