Sermon: Unity through the Self-Giving God

Text: Philippians 2:1-18
Epistle Lesson for Series A, Proper 21

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

INTRODUCTION

Dear saints, have you ever been to a play, ballet or stage performance of any kind? Each performer does their bit, and plays their part. Back in St. Catharines, a few years ago they opened up a new performing arts centre. Laurin and I love choirs and classical

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music, so we have had the chance to see the Niagara Chorus and the Niagara Symphony singing and playing Bach, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Egmont Overature, and Brahms German Requiem. It is definitely something else to hear a choir perform live, instead of just in a recording. In any kind of live stage performance, all the individual performers work together in unity and the result is efficiency and beauty.

So that unity is important for a good production. All the performers know right where to be and what to do so that each move, each line, each note sung with precision. It is like watching a new or classic car engine with all its gears and pistons working together in perfect harmony. But, what if one performer is out of step or out of tune? What if one actor suddenly decides his minor character deserves a bigger role? What if the entire Bass or Soprano section decides to start singing a different tune? The beauty of the performance is ruined and chaos ensues. The beauty of the performance can only be seen when everyone involved was working together towards the same object, when they have the same focus.

Continue reading “Sermon: Unity through the Self-Giving God”

Singing Chorales with Bach: 11th Sunday After Trinity

Eleventh Sunday After Trinity

Here are the English versions of the chorales used by Bach for his cantatas for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity.

Readings:

Old Test: Gen. 4:1-15
Epistle: 1 Cor. 15:1-10
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
BWV 113
Chorale: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou highest good!
Barholomäus Ringwaldt, 1588
Tr. Rev. G. W. Torrance, 1835-1907
The Lutheran Hymnary, #98
Tune: HAMBURG
BWV 179
Chorale:  A wretched man and wretched debtor
C Tietze, ca. 1664;
Tr, M. Carver, 2012.
Walther’s Hymnal, #218
Tune: Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten.
BWV 199

Chorale: Oh, whither shall I flee
Johann Heermann, 1630
Tr. Mor. H.-B., 1845, alt., but sts. 6, 8, 12, M. Carver, 2012.
Walther’s Hymnal, #230
Tune: Auf meinen lieben Gott

Singing Chorales with Bach: 10th Sunday After Trinity

Tenth Sunday After Trinity

Here are the English versions of the chorales used by Bach for his cantatas for the tenth Sunday after Trinity.

Readings:
Old Test: Jer. 8:4-12
Epistle: 1 Cor. 12:1-11
Gospel: Luke 19:41-48

 

BWV 46

Chorale: Great God of mighty pow’r

B. Schnurr, sts 1-8; J. M. Meyfart, st.9, 1678
Tr. M. Carver, 2017
HYMNOGLYPT
Tune: O grosser Gott von Macht

 

BWV 101

Chorale: Remove from us, O faithful God
Martin Moller, 1584, after Aufer immensam
Tr. J. C. Jacobi, 1750, alt.
Walther’s Hymnal, #225
Tune: Vater unser im Himmelreich.

BWV 102

Chorale: Yea, as I live, thy Maker saith
J. Heermann, 1630
Tr, J. C. Jacobi, 1732, alt.
Walther’s Hymnal, #229
Tune: Vater unser im Himmelreich.

 

Singing Chorales with Bach: 9th Sunday After Trinity

Ninth Sunday After Trinity

Here are the English versions of the chorales used by Bach for his cantatas for the ninth Sunday after Trinity.

Readings:
Old Test: 2 Sam. 22:26-34
Epistle: 1 Cor. 10:6-13
Gospel: Luke 16:1-9

BWV 94

Chorale: What is the World to Me?
Georg Michael Pfefferkorn, 1645– 1732;
Tr. August Crull, 1845– 1923, alt.
Lutheran Service Book, # 730; The Lutheran Hymnal # 430.
Tune: Was frag ich nach der Welt

 BWV 105

Chorale: Jesus, who in sorrow dying
Johann von Rist, 1641
Tr. sts. 1a, 2b, 12, A. T. Russell, 1851, alt.; sts. 6, 8 Mor. H.-B., 1808, alt; sts. rest, M. Carver, 2012.
Walther’s Hymnal, #221
Tune: Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht.

BWV 168

Chorale: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou highest Good
Bartholomäus Ringwaldt, 1588
Tr., C. Winkworth, 1869, alt., but st. 2, F. W. Young, 1877, alt.; st. 5, M. Carver, 2012.
Walther’s Hymnal, #216
Tune: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Singing Chorales with Bach: 8th Sunday After Trinity

Eighth Sunday After Trinity

Here are the English versions of the chorales used by Bach for his cantatas for the eighth Sunday after Trinity.

Readings:
Old Test: Jer. 23:16-29
Epistle: Rom. 8:12-17
Gospel: Matt. 7:15-23

BWV 45

Chorale: O God, thou faithful God
Johann Heermann, 1630
Tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1858, alt.
Lutheran Service Book, #696; The Lutheran Hymnal, # 395.
Tune: O Gott, du frommer Gott

BWV 178

Chorale: If God were not upon our side
Justus Jonas, 1524
Tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1869, alt.
Walther’s Hymnal, #438
Tune: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält

BWV 136

Chorale: Oh, whither shall I flee
Johann Heermann, 1630
Tr. Mor. H.-B., 1845, alt., but sts. 6, 8, 12, M. Carver, 2012.
Walther’s Hymnal, #230
Tune: Auf meinen lieben Gott

 

Singing Chorales with Bach: 7th Sunday After Trinity

Seventh Sunday After Trinity

Here are the English versions of the chorales used by Bach for his cantatas for the seventh Sunday after Trinity.

Readings:
Old Test: Gen. 2:7-17
Epistle: Rom. 6:19-23
Gospel: Mark 8:1-9

BWV 186

Chorale: Salvation unto us has come
Paul Speratus, 1484-1551
Tr.  The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941.
Lutheran Service Book, #555; The Lutheran Hymnal, # 377.
Tune: Es ist das Heil

BWV 187

Chorale: Sing we now with all our heart
Hans Vogel, 1563
Tr. Matthew Carver, 2011.
Hymnoglypt
Tune: In Natali Domini

BWV 107

Chorale: My soul, why such affliction?
Johann Heermann, 1630,
Tr. Matthew Carver, 2012.
Walther’s Hymnal, #378
Tune: Von Gott will ich nicht lassen.

Article: The Tales That Really Matter: Exploring Lewis on the Veracity of the Christian Mythos

 

Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”[i]  Douglas Adams has expressed a common viewpoint among an ever-rising generation of people who have cast off religion all together. The average Christian might consider retorting that Christianity is based upon historical fact and should not be compared with fairies or make-believe. A similar response is often given in regards to the common claim that Christianity was pieced together from a common reoccurring pagan myth of a dying and rising god.[ii] What is striking, though, is that C. S. Lewis does not respond in the same way as the average Christian might expect him to. In fact, as it shall be shown, Lewis claims that Christianity is the true myth. It is myth become fact, and he denies the commonly held division between those two categories. With the help of some of his friends and influences, we shall explore this concept of Christianity as the true myth. Continue reading “Article: The Tales That Really Matter: Exploring Lewis on the Veracity of the Christian Mythos”

Article: Antico et Moderno: The History of Bach’s Great Catholic Mass

Ky-ri-e!” The first notes thunder, and hearers today are stunned as they have been for nearly 300 years at the near perfection of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor. In the autumn of his life, Bach set all his creative power to the task of writing a Missa Tota, a full musical setting of the Ordinary of the Mass. To do so, he pulls from styles ancient and modern. He recycles the very best of his own musical pieces. Composer John Eliot Gardiner, reflects on the magnitude of this work, “We soon realise that we have been launched on one of the most epic of all journeys in music, a setting of the Ordinary of the Mass unprecedented in its scale, majesty and sobriety.”[i] This particular journey into the Mass in B-Minor, will delve into its history. Bach’s estate after his death had the B Minor Mass entitled, “The Great Catholic Mass.”[ii] What was so Catholic about this Mass and why was it thus entitled? To seek an answer to that question, this paper will look at the historical background to the late Baroque composition of Masses. Moving on from there, the history of the composition of the work itself will also be of interest. All of this, along with the actual content of the Mass itself, will tell us something of Bach’s deeply Evangelical Catholic faith.Continue reading “Article: Antico et Moderno: The History of Bach’s Great Catholic Mass”