Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What are we celebrating?






"Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me 
receives the one who sent me.


                                     Matthew 10:40

I’ve always struggled when planning music for weekends such as this.  My training tells me that we celebrate the 13th Sunday of ordinary time.  My heart tells me that patriotism is an important part of our cultural identity.  In the past I have found songs of patriotism and challenge.  Our hymnal provides several appropriate options.  As I first thought of this weekend’s music a different tack began to emerge. 


Today’s readings speak of welcoming the stranger.  The second Book of Kings tells a story of a woman and husband who are rewarded for welcoming the prophet Elisha.   In today’s gospel Jesus is clear about being welcoming and hospitable to those who come our way.


Let me share a little about the composer of two songs I have chosen for this weekend.  Isadore Israel Baline came to America when his family fled Russia to escape persecution in the late 19th century.  While you may not recognize his given name, you will most certainly know many of his compositions which include White Christmas and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.


Today we will be singing what is arguably Irving Berlin’s most famous songs; God Bless America.  I’ve chosen it because it is easy to sing, inspiring and unabashedly patriotic.  I’ve also chosen one of his other songs as a prelude.  The words were inspired by the very same persecution that brought Irving Berlin’s family to America.  You may be familiar with the ending as it is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.


"The New Colossus"

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



Emma Lazarus, 1883

This week's music:

Gathering:   Lift High The Cross 713
Offertory:   Many and One 415
Communion:   Like the Bread
Recessional: God Bless America
 


Here is a link to a wonderful article about our new Cardinal  

Wishing you a wonderful and safe holiday,



Bruce

 

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