This Sunday we will be singing “America, the Beautiful” as we often do the week of the 4th of July. The original poem was written by Katherine Lee Bates, an English professor from Wellesley College, who took a train trip out to Colorado in the summer of 1893. Traveling across the Midwest, she was inspired by the “amber waves of grain,” and, of course, the purple mountains majesty of the Rockies. But the tune was composed years before, by Samuel Ward, the organist and choir director of Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ. He intended the tune to be used for an old English hymn; the first two lines go like this: “O Mother dear, Jerusalem, when shall I come to thee? When shall my sorrows have an end? Thy joys when shall I see?” Based on those first three words, Ward titled the tune “Materna.” The first known connection of the tune and the words was in a songbook published in 1910, seven years after Ward’s death. So he never knew how popular his composition would become. Bates was more fortunate, since the song’s national stature was well established by the time of her death in 1929.
The words to the song are actually a prayer and therefore very appropriate for worship… “God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law!”
When we hired Marilyn Mark as our new organist, she asked that she be allowed to honor previous commitments she had made through the rest of 2019. We appreciated her dedication, so of course we agreed. Our guest organist this Sunday will be Marcia Lofdahl. Sam Raiche is providing our special music. The text for my sermon is Luke 8:40-56, and the title is “Just Once…”
We are looking for liturgists to help out in worship on Sunday mornings. It is not at all difficult and can be very rewarding. I will be offering a short training following worship this Sunday with a few pointers and tips to help things go smoothly. If you are at all interested, please join us.
On a completely different topic, we have run out of wall space at our house, and with all the painting I intend to do in the near future, it is only going to get worse. So if you have ever wanted to own one of my watercolor paintings here is your chance. In my office I have a large collection of the work that I have done over the last 15 years. If you would like to buy one or more, a portion of the proceeds will go to reduce the church’s budget deficit. You can name your own price. No serious offer will be turned down. So stop by sometime and take a look. There are a wide variety of subjects, from landscapes to seascapes to Celtic crosses, and some bulletin cover art. Some are already framed and matted. Many are just the painting.
We are still looking for pictures of my ministry over the years. So if I officiated at a wedding in your family, or at a baptism, or you somehow got a great shot of me at some event, please scan them and send them to me, or bring a paper copy by the church office. We will do the scanning and get them back to you.
Finally, the July First Press is available. If you would like to download a copy click here. Paper copies will be available around the church building.
Stay in One Peace,