Heavenly Light

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
January 20, 2019

As we continue through the Sundays after Epiphany, Jesus' identity is revealed more fully. This week's gospel reading describes the first miracle at a  wedding in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus changes water into wine. Several of our hymns specifically refer to this miraculous event, and we'll sing two of them today. Other hymns focus on the overarching Epiphany theme of light - the Light of Christ, made manifest in Jesus. 

Today's offertory anthem comes to us from Russia. "Heavenly Light" is a classic choral composition by Alexander Kopylow (sometimes spelled Kopylov), a composer, violinist, and teacher who lived from 1854 to 1911. Russian composers of this period sought to create a national style by using folk-like melodies and distinctive sounds. Kopylow makes particular use of the low bass tones of Russian choirs for a deep, rich choral sound. He also creates dramatic dynamic contrast throughout the anthem.…

Baptism of Christ

The First Sunday after the Epiphany: 
The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ
January 13, 2019

The Sundays after the Epiphany tell the story of Jesus' public work and ministry, starting with his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. In the weeks that follow, we will hear about the first miracle at the wedding in Cana, the calling of the disciples, and Jesus' teachings and miracles. The season ends with the Transfiguration, where, as at his baptism, Jesus is revealed as the Son of God.
This season can last anywhere from four to nine weeks, depending on the date of Easter. It ends on the Tuesday (Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday. Throughout the season, our liturgy and music illuminate the gospel readings as Jesus is made manifest, bringing light and life and calling us to the renewal of our own baptismal vows.
There is an interesting Nebraska connection to one of today's hymns. During the creation of The Hymnal 1982, the text committee was searching for additional hymns …


The Epiphany
Sunday, January 6, 2019

As the twelve days of Christmas reach a joyous conclusion, we celebrate the light of Christ that has come into our world. The Epiphany (January 6) is a Principal Feast celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the peoples of the earth. Today’s gospel reading tells the story of the coming of the Magi.

At the 10:30 Eucharist, kids of all ages will enjoy a visit from the Three Kings! Children are encouraged to sit near the center aisle, since the “gold” king will be distributing some special gifts along his way. At coffee hour, we’ll sample some traditional King Cake. In many parts of the world, Epiphany marks the beginning of carnival season, with celebrations that continue until Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The cake traditionally has a bean or other token hidden in one slice. The person who receives the bean or token is crowned the King or Queen of Carnival and is encouraged to provide the cake for next year’s celebration. Our dean will be reading the…

Christmas at Trinity

Christmas 2018 at Trinity Cathedral

At Trinity Cathedral, over forty musicians have been practicing since mid-October to prepare the glorious music of Christmas. I am privileged to serve with these dedicated singers and instrumentalists for my twelfth Christmas as your choir director and organist and my sixteenth Christmas as a communicant of Trinity Cathedral.
As we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, we offer our time and talent to enrich and enliven worship. We invite you to join in this offering of praise and thanksgiving during these twelve days of Christmas.
What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part. Yet what I can I give him - give my heart.
Hymn 112, "In the bleak midwinter," Christina Rosetti (1830-1894)
Christmas Music at Trinity Cathedral, Omaha
Christmas Eve December 24 4:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist and Pageant The Cantate and Laudate Choirs Marty Wheeler Burnett, Canon Precentor Alex Hoeflin…


The Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 23, 2018

As the Advent season draws to a close, this Sunday focuses on the Song of Mary - the Magnificat. Mary's song is found in today's reading from the gospel of Luke: 
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." -Luke 1:46-55

We will sing a congregational setting …


The Third Sunday of Advent
December 16, 2018

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday. The name comes from the ancient Latin introit for this day, which begins with the word "Gaudete," meaning "Rejoice." We are reminded that scripture calls us to wait for Emmanuel with joyful expectation, and that the coming of the Lord is near. We light the third, rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath, and beautiful rose-colored vestments are worn on this day.

We continue to sing the great hymns and anthems of the Advent season. One of today's anthems has become a modern classic: "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come" by Paul Manz (1919-2009). A well known Lutheran composer and professor, Manz is best known for this anthem composed in 1953.

The words were adapted from the book of Revelation by Ruth Manz, spouse of the composer. The couple's three year old son was criticall…