Showing posts from September, 2018

God be in my head

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 30, 2018

Quick - name a prayer you can say from memory.

You might answer "The Lord's Prayer," or perhaps a table grace, or "Now I lay me down to sleep." Would you like to commit another meaningful prayer from the Anglican tradition to memory? Today's anthem text is an old English prayer that is easy to memorize and well worth the effort.

"God be in my head" comes from the Sarum Primer, a collection of prayers and worship resources first developed in Salisbury, England, during the 13th century. "Sarum" is the abbreviation for the Latin word for Salisbury. The collection was used throughout Britain, as well as parts of continental Europe. 

Singing is a proven aid to memorization. When we sing a text repeatedly, it is embedded deeply in our memory. "God be in my head" has been set to music by many composers; over 150 choral settings are currently in print. Our Cathedral Choir will sing …

Thanksgiving for our Cathedral Musicians

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 23, 2018

In today's edition of Praying Twice, I invite you to give thanks for our cathedral musicians. As I write this late Saturday afternoon, your Cathedral Choir has spent the entire day in rehearsals, worship, and workshops. We are immersed in musical preparations for All Saints' Day, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. (Yes, we are always working at least 3 months ahead!) I have never met a more committed group of singers. Their gifts of time and talent enable us to offer music of the highest quality to the glory of God.

Last Wednesday, our buildings were filled with the cheerful sounds of singing children and ringing handbells, as well as the aromas of a delicious meal served by one of our Cantate Choral Academy parents. On any given day, the majestic sounds of organists practicing on our historic pipe organ waft through our buildings. The light at the end of the hall? That's one of our music library volunteers donating time …

Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 16, 2018

This Sunday's offertory anthem is an Anglican choral classic: "Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life" by Harold Friedell. Hear a recording: Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life

The text, found in The Hymnal 1982 #487, is a well-loved poem by George Herbert (1593-1633), a English poet and priest:

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
such a way as gives us breath;
such a truth as ends all strife;
such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
such a light as shows a feast;
such a feast as mends in length;
such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
such a joy as none can move;
such a love as none can part;
such a heart as joys in love.

Herbert's writings are associated with the metaphysical poets, and all of his surviving English poems are based on devotional themes. His creative use of poetic structure was ahead of his time and makes his poetry especially memorable. One particularly fascinating …

Let Everything That Hath Breath Praise the Lord!

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, September 9, 2018

Welcome to a new season of Praying Twice! Our full Cathedral Choir returns this morning with a traditional Anglican chant setting of Psalm 150 by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924). 

Born in Ireland, Stanford founded the Royal College of Music and taught at the University of Cambridge. His students included Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. His best-known compositions are staples of the Anglican choral repertoire, and his melodic style makes his music a favorite of singers.

This psalm is one of the great songs of praise found in the Old Testament. The text paints a vivid image of music in the ancient temple, and it encourages all living creatures to raise their voices in singing God's praise.

O praise God in his holiness;
praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him in his noble acts;
praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him in the sound of the trumpet;
praise him upon the lute and harp.