“How Firm a Foundation,
you Saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!”
From the hymn in Rippon’s “A selection of Hymns”
What is the first song at mass called?
Is it an entrance hymn? An opening hymn? A gathering song? A Processional?
What is its' function?
To signify the beginning of mass? To unite the people in sung
prayer? Traveling music for the priests and ministers?
While we're at it.....
What should one do in preparing for mass?
Now if I were writing to a group of church musicians I’d receive a deluge of comments and arguments for simply posing these questions. Perhaps you are formulating a few for yourself. One caveat before you read on; my purpose is neither to criticize complain nor tell you you how to spend your time in church before the mass begins.* I offer these thoughts simply for your consideration.
Today’s first hymn; “How Firm a Foundation” (#715) might point us in the right direction. Consider Peter trying to imitate Jesus by walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee. He steps out of the boat promptly sinks like a rock. Maybe that’s why Jesus called him “The rock on which I will build my church.” (Just a little scriptural humor.) Peter is saved when he takes the hands of Jesus; his firm foundation). Take a moment and think how today’s other hymns might connect to this scripture.
In addition to this our first hymn serves as the foundation of our participation at Sunday liturgy by helping us transition from :
daily stresses (i.e. the house chores, getting our kids and
ourselves up and ready for mass etc.) to worship.
private devotion (i.e. meditation, quiet prayer, the rosary etc.), to
Take a moment today to consider how participating in our gathering might gently lead us towards meeting Christ in Word, Sacrament and in the faithful gathered.
Blessed to be serving at St. Mary’s,
* I would, however, argue that it is hard to fully participate in
anything without adequate preparation.
(Oops, did I say that out loud? J)
Please welcome Tricia Blanchard, the director of music at Vincent United Methodist Church who will be playing the organ and piano on Saturday night.
This weekend’s music
Gathering How Firm a Foundation #715
Offertory Precious Lord, Take My Hand 685
Communion We Remember, We Believe (bulletin)
Recessional Stand By Me #631