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 example is his poem, "Easter Wings," which is printed sideways on facing pages to form the image of butterflies - symbols of resurrection:

Harold Friedell (1905-1958) served as the organist-choirmaster of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City from 1940 until his death. His choral compositions are representative of American sacred choral music in the mid-twentieth century. Along with today's anthem, his best known composition is "Draw Us in the Spirit's Tether," which has been adapted as a congregational hymn and included in many recently published hymnals.

The choir's communion anthem is a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 19, today's appointed psalm. The setting is also by an American composer, Richard Proulx (1937-2010). The text and tune can be found in The Hymnal 1982 #431. Proulx, a Minnesota native, is best known for his liturgical music and his tenure as music director at Holy Name Roman Catholic Cathedral in Chicago. Seventeen of his compositions appear in our hymnal, and his choral music is a standard part of Episcopal choral repertoire.

Both of today's anthems are examples of historical texts given new life by twentieth century composers. We give thanks to God for our living faith expressed anew in each generation through art, poetry and music.

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 16, 2018
Hymns: 525, 675, 397 (stanza 3), 312, 492
Service Music: New Plainsong, David Hurd
Psalm 19, St. Martin's Psalter
Anthems: Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life -Harold Friedell
The Stars Declare His Glory -Richard Proulx
Organ Music: Earth and All Stars -David N. Johnson
Prelude in E-Flat Major -Anton Bruckner


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