Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Did you get your $1 cup of Dunkin on Monday?

Did you get your $1 Coffee last Monday?

Those of you that “Run on Dunkin” will understand this week’s headline.  It refers to a promotion offering a $1 cup of coffee on the day following a New York football team win. 

Those of you who are fans of the NY football teams might be lamenting the abysmal start of the Jets and Giants (1-5).

So let’s focus on some teams with winning records and how you can get a FREE CUP OF COFFEE.  Did anyone's curiosity just perk up?

The Children's Choir is 1-0
About a dozen singers; grades 3-8 sang beautifully at the 10:30 liturgy on September 17.  Heads snapped around upon hearing the sound of this (relatively) small but mighty group. 

The Adult Choir is 1-0. 
About 15 members sang at the 12 noon last week.  A rousing 4-part acapella version of the South African “Halleluya, We Sing Your Praises” was a highlight.

Our Guitar Group is undefeated.
It's impossible to determine how many wins our guitar group has this season because these guys faithfully serve St Mary’s EVERY WEEK and have been doing so for years.  They add a unique flavor, style and instrumentation to expand our parish repertoire.

This weekend the guys will be winning both ends of a double-header (sorry for the sudden shift to the baseball metaphor) as they are covering the 9 and 10:30 liturgy.  I'd like to thank them both personally and publicly for their faithful service and for making it possible for me to attend a family outing this weekend.

Here are some things each of these three groups has in common

1.   All rehearse immediately before mass.
2.   All are come when you can
3.   All deserve your appreciation

Here are three things you might want to do the next time you see a member of one of these groups:

1.   Offer a kind word
2.   Make plans to visit a future rehearsal to check out the group
3.   Bring something that you baked to the rehearsal

Just kidding on #3 but either way, we’ll have a cup of coffee for you when you come.

Blessed to lead the Music Ministry at St. Mary’s,

Bruce

PS & BTW
Our cantors; Apryl, Gabrianna, Aaron, David and John are the best!

PPS
Thank you to Tricia Blanchard for filling in as well.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

25th Sunday in OT - TED TALK - Social Concerns

        The Lord is Near To All Who Call On Him

                                                        Psalm 145:18(a)

For the second week in a row we hear a gospel story which, among other things, describes the economy of the kingdom of God.  In “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant”a steward whose debt is forgiven refuses to do the same for someone who owes him a lesser amount.  In “The Workers of the Vineyard” those who are last to arrive receive equal pay as the other workers.  It is clear from these parables that kingdom's economy is not based on the cost of money or gross hourly wage but rather on God's "radical generosity." 

As I considered what to write in todays liturgical notes I:

 1.  imagined 2 scenarios similar to the one in today’s gospel 
 2.  listened to a TED talk 
 3.  prayed

Here is the first scenario.  A person runs from their parked car to the train platform.  They need to make this train to be on time for a do or die job interview.  They make it up the stairs and rush to the boarding train.  People are standing outside its' open doors.  The train is jammed full.  What if you or I were that person?  What if you or I were the person squeezed between a crowd of people and a train door about to close?  

The second scenario is quite similar to the first except the person is no longer trying to get on a crowded train.  They are struggling to gain access to a lifeboat.  What would you or I do now?

David Miliband is the President of the International Rescue Committee.  In his TED talk he tells this story about his grandmother and her aunt.  They were the only two people in the family to resist the order of the Nazi authorities to report to the Brussels train station.  Her fleeing to a nearby village and a French farmer who ultimately hid 12 Jewish refugees saved her life and made David's possible.

Finally, I took out the Rosary that I had recently received as a gift from a friend who recently returned from Rome.  Monday is the day were the Joyful mysteries are prayed.  The Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth,  The Nativity... I reflected on the irony of thinking about the thousands of children in refugee camps through the lens of the joy of the coming of the Christ-child.

Perhaps today's gospel will help us to see, think and act just a little differently.  Please visit our Social Concerns homepage at www.stmarysnutley.org to find a link to David Miliband's TED talk and to learn how you can get involved.

Peace,

Bruce




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Lord is Near to All Who Call on Him

        The Lord is Near To All Who Call On Him

                                                        Psalm 145:18(a)

For the second week in a row we hear a gospel story which, among other things, describes the economy of the kingdom of God.  In “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant”a steward whose debt is forgiven refuses to do the same for someone who owes him a lesser amount.  In “The Workers of the Vineyard” those who are last to arrive receive equal pay as the other workers.  It is clear from these parables that kingdom's economy is not based on the cost of money or gross hourly wage but rather on God's "radical generosity." 

As I considered what to write in todays liturgical notes I:

 1.  imagined 2 scenarios similar to the one in today’s gospel 
 2.  listened to a TED talk 
 3.  prayed

Here is the first scenario.  A person runs from their parked car to the train platform.  They need to make this train to be on time for a do or die job interview.  They make it up the stairs and rush to the boarding train.  People are standing outside its' open doors.  The train is jammed full.  What if you or I were that person?  What if you or I were the person squeezed between a crowd of people and a train door about to close?  

The second scenario is quite similar to the first except the person is no longer trying to get on a crowded train.  They are struggling to gain access to a lifeboat.  What would you or I do now?

David Miliband is the President of the International Rescue Committee.  In his TED talk he tells this story about his grandmother and her aunt.  They were the only two people in the family to resist the order of the Nazi authorities to report to the Brussels train station.  Her fleeing to a nearby village and a French farmer who ultimately hid 12 Jewish refugees saved her life and made David's possible.

Finally, I took out the Rosary that I had recently received as a gift from a friend who recently returned from Rome.  Monday is the day were the Joyful mysteries are prayed.  The Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth,  The Nativity... I reflected on the irony of thinking about the thousands of children in refugee camps through the lens of the joy of the coming of the Christ-child.

Perhaps today's gospel will help us to see, think and act just a little differently.  

You don't have to be a member of St. Mary's to get involved with our social concerns effort.  Take a look at our web-page by clicking the following link:



or 

Click here for a link to David Miliband's TED talk
Peace,

Bruce




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Role of the ? Part II

“What do you call the person who sings at the microphone in the front of the church?”


Note:  For the past several weeks I’ve moved away from speaking about a particular days’ liturgy (i.e. The 24th Sunday of ordinary time) to speaking about liturgy in general. 

In an article titled: “Two Recent Experiences Away From My Home Church”; I compared visits to two churches from the perspective of congregational singing.  One church simply listened to the organist/pianist who was also the singer.  The other sang extremely well with nothing more than someone playing the organ.  These stories led me to my main purpose: affirming how far we have come as a church in finding our voice.  *

Several weeks prior I asked “What do we call the first song at liturgy?”  If you are a teacher (or a concrete thinker) you may have noticed that I never answered the question.  My real intention was to speak about varying purposes of the first hymn such as:

·         Personal Centering
·         Gateway to the days’ scripture
·         Gathering of the assembly in prayer
·         Procession of the priest and ministers **

So, what do we call the person who sings at the microphone in the front of the church?  

I call them Apryl, Gabrianna, Aaron, David and John although that’s not what this article is about.  Neither is it a bunch of liturgical norms (rules) nor a term paper written for some college course.    (That would bore you and I already have my degree.)

Today’s article is about the different roles of the singer and how each of these roles are  relate to developing our church’s voice.  I will explain using two of the pieces of music we will sing this weekend.

1.      Let All Creation (The first song found only in the bulletin)

This song is written in a call and response fashion.  I will sing first and the singer will serve as “leader of song" by singing the response with you.

2.  The Lord Is Kind and Merciful (Today’s psalm)

We have used this psalm quite a few times as it arises in the lectionary several times throughout the year.  In this case Aaron and Apryl will serve as the “psalmist.”  It is their job to “proclaim” the words of the psalm as it is part of the scripture of the day.  They also serve as the leader of song when singing the response with you.

In each of these songs the singer also serves as “animator.”  In other words; they raise their hands signaling it’s your time to join in.  

(Note:  This does not preclude you from joining in at other times.)

So, what about that congregation that sang really well with just the organ?  

I believe there are songs and parts of liturgy that do not require a leader of song.  Can you think of any?  Let me explain by giving an example.

The lights go out.  The cake comes in and one voice begins “Haaaaaappy birthday……”  by the time the “to you” comes everyone is singing together.   No leader.  No microphone; just a group of people singing.

We are going to do this with one sung prayer this week:  The Lamb of God.  The piano will begin, the animator will raise his or her hands and we will all sing together.  No leader.  No microphone; just a group of people singing.  Don’t worry: you’ve got this!

Bruce




The GOoD Shepherd

The idea of Jesus being our Advocate with the Father from last week’s second reading continues to spark my reflection. I...