Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“Do unto others…..”

Today is the sixth of seven Sundays of ordinary time between the seasons of Christmas and Lent.  (Lent begins on March 6th). 

Our gospel is the second part of the “Sermon on the Plain” from the sixth chapter of Luke’s gospel. 

Do you remember the “blessed ares” and “woe to’s” from last week?  Today we will hear more familiar quotes from Jesus’ preaching such as:  “Love your enemies” and “Do unto others.”

For the second week we will sing Matt Maher’s “Unwavering” at offertory. The verses paraphrase the gospel while the refrain speaks of God’s unwavering love manifest in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Note: Unwavering is not found in the hymnal.  It is printed in today’s bulletin.)

We will also be repeating Ben Walther’s A Place at Your Table. The refrain of this song speaks to an element of Luke’s gospel known as the “Lucan reversal.”  This has to do with the shift of circumstances between life on earth and life in God’s Salvation.  An example of this reversal of fortunes can be found in “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  (Luke 16:19-31)

Consider the words of the refrain to Unwavering:

Here in your presence the greatest are least,
The burdened find rest and the hungry can feast.
By love we’re invited, here mercy prevails,
God, in your goodness, we share a place at your table.

From     A Place at your Table Ben Walther

In honor of the good priests and musicians who been the foundation of my ministry,

Bruce

PS
Click on this link to see a great quote from the cover of this week's bulletin.  

PSS
Have you seen the new parish website?  It is excellent and is always changing.  Go to www.stmarysnutley.org  to find slideshows of pictures.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Blessed are the poor; the kingdom is theirs,
alive in the promise to be dead to the world.

Blessed are the meek, in awe of you, Father;
the Word at your right hand, the Spirit of truth.

From “Unwavering” words and music by Matt Maher

Today we hear the beginning of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain” These words, known as the beatitudes will be familiar to many. We will hear more portions of this passage for the next two weeks.

The words to the second half of the reading may be less familiar.  They are the other side of the coin.  “Woe to the rich….the full…….”  

The U.S. Bishop’s website comments:  {these woes} “threaten God’s profound displeasure on those so blinded by their present fortunate situation that they do not recognize and appreciate the real values of God’s kingdom. In all the blessings and woes, the present condition of the persons addressed will be reversed in the future.” 

Today’s offertory song “Unwavering” by Matt Maher highlights today’s gospel. Do not neglect the missional imperative of the bridge, which repeats 4 times for emphasis:

Send us out to be your hands and feet

*****

We will also be introducing the third of three new songs; Ben Walther’s “A Place AT Your Table.” (#350)

The song was inspired by a mission trip to Ghana. Notice how the refrain speaks of the reversal of fortunes noted in the quote from the U.S. Council of Bishops.

“Here in your presence the greatest are least, 
the burdened find rest and the hungry can feast.”

Blessed to be in ministry with you at St. Mary’s.

Bruce

Monday, February 4, 2019

Hallelujah Is Our Song


This weekend we will be singing “Hallelujah Is Our Song” (#171).  It is the second of three songs that I wish to introduce during the ordinary time between Christmas and Lent.  

I believe you’ll find the story of how it was written interesting. Sarah Hart invited three other writers (Sarah Kroger, Josh Blakesley and Trey Heffinger) to come together to share ideas and do some writing.  

In the course of catching up Sarah Kroger shared that she had been going through some difficult times but found comfort in the words of Saint John Paul II: 


“Do not abandon yourself to despair. 
We are an Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.” 

The words of the composers are equally compelling and appropriate for so many of us, particularly at this time of year: 


What hope we have, 
even in the longest night, 
for the light will overcome.

We will not fear 
for we know the sun will rise.
Halleluiah is our song. 

Whether you are in the midst of profound joy, sadness or somewhere in between I pray that this song helps you recognize the care of God described in today’s scripture readings. 

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s, 

Bruce

P.S.    
These weeks are a great time to join our music ministry.  Why not give it a 2 month tryout?  See me or one of our cantors today.

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