Monday, December 31, 2012

January 13, 2013 | Year C Baptism

Hello and welcome to the first Sunday after the Epiphany.

Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Alternative psalm resources here.

Gathering: Take Me to the Water

Processional: Take Me to the River
The Talking Heads. Well, just because. I can't think of baptism without singing the chorus to myself--okay, out loud.

Jonathan Elias from The Prayer Cycle 
My boss gave me this CD years ago. It is extraordinary.

Offertory: Can't Be Long
This song, written by Barbara Hall and The Enablers, has been a long time Grace favorite. 

Communion: The Water Is Wide
LYRICS: Scott Lawrence

After Communion: My Father's House
By Bruce Springsteen sung here by Ben Harper
I like this pared down version. Wow.

Closer: God, Whose Almighty Word
By: John Marriott

God, whose almighty word
Chaos and darkness heard
And took their flight:
Hear us, we humble pray,
And where the Gospel day
Sheds not its glorious ray,
Let there be light!
Lord, who once came to bring,
On your redeeming wing,
Healing and sight,
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind:
Oh, now to humankind
Let there be light!
Spirit of truth and love,
Life giving, holy dove,
Speed forth your flight;
Move on the water’s face,
Bearing the lamp of grace,
And in earth’s darkest place
Let there be light!
Holy and blessed three,
Glorious Trinity,
Wisdom, love, might!
Boundless as ocean’s tide,
Rolling in fullest pride,
Through the earth, far and wide,
Let there be light!
Hymn # 317 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Felice de Giardini
Tune: Italian Hymn
1st Published in: 1825

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

January 6, 2013 | Year C Epiphany

Epiphany Sunday

The Readings:
Isaiah 60:1-6 
Ephesians 3:1-12 
Matthew 2:1-12 
Psalm 72:1-7,10-14

Gathering: What Light by Wilco

Opening: We Three Kings
LOVE this version by Patti Smith

Gospel: What Child Is This

Offertory: O Light Divine (Shenandoah) text by Scott Lawrence

Communion: Lighthouse Light by Redbird
Beautiful song--we do as a solo. Sweet, pure and simple. Check out this version by Redbird.

After Communion: Shine 
David Gray

Closing: This Little Light of Mine. We love Bruce, yes we do.

December 30, 2012 | Year C Christmas I

Here are some ideas for the First (and only!) Sunday after Christmas.

Isaiah 61:10-62:3 
Galatians 3:23-25;4:4-7 
John 1:1-18 
Psalm 147 or 147:13-21

We want carols! We'll likely do fewer verses.

Gathering: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

Opening: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Song of Praise: Angels We Have Heard on High 

Gospel: Away in a Manger

Offertory: The Holly and the Ivy 

During Communion: See Amid the Winter's Snow

After Communion: Silent Night

Closing: Joy To the World

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 24, 2012 Part II | Year C Christmas Eve

Hello Everybody,

Here's our Christmas Eve playlist.
Merry Christmas!

Processional: O Come All Ye Faithful

Song of Praise: Angels We Have Heard On High
THE ROCHES! Sister harmony.

Gospel: Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

Offertory: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

The First Nowell

Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Communion: In The Bleak Midwinter

ooops, almost forgot: What Child Is This?
Check out Future of Forestry here and here

After Communion: Silent Night
Alexi Murdoch

Closing Hymn: Joy to the World

Postlude: Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
Grace traditional. 

And just because...

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 24, 2012 PART I | Year C Christmas Eve

"It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh, I wish I had a river
I could skate away on"
Joni Mitchell

Often my theme song for Advent.

I'm not really sad, but at times a wee bit melancholy.

January marks the anniversary of the death of both my parents--many, many years ago now, but memories of quiet, illness-centered Decembers haunt me a bit.

Past sadness yields to present-moment joy.

I'm anticipating my daughter and grandson's arrival. The best Christmas present ever.

I am readying for pageant rehearsals and a glorious hour with a mess of kids tomorrow afternoon. We will sing our Christmas favorites, secular and sacred. Rudolph, with all the additional responses, is a must and Angels We Have Heard on High with the GLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORIAS makes me smile (WIDE and BIG) with every GLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

I guess this is a long way of saying I need to remind myself (often and everyday) of the great joy and privilege that is my job. AND, sometimes Christmas is a very real and true mix of many opposite emotions. And that, as my yoga teacher says all the time, "is all good!"

This post we'll just take a look at our Christmas Eve pre-service music. I'll post the Christmas Eve service in a day or so. 

The prelude music this Christmas Eve, directed/arranged by the Rev. Jim Friedrich (if we are blessed with enough voices) will include Sherburne and Milford (from The Sacred Harp), and a few other carols that do not make the regular service playlist. Here are some inspiring arrangements/performances to ponder.

Milford just gives me the shivers! LOVE it, one of my favorites.

See Amid the Winter's Snow. Annie Lennox. Nuff said.

The Wexford Carol. Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss. Beauty.

The Truth from Above. We have a concertina in our group, but an accordion would be, well, FABULOUS! 
I can dream. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

December 23, 2012 | Year C Advent IV

Advent IV


Reflective reading: We would know more of you. Brueggemann again.

Gathering Song: The last of the chants inspired by Anis Mojgani.
Walk Through This With Me

Processional: Creator of the Stars of Night

Verse 1 Creator of the stars of night, your people’s everlasting light;
O God deliverer of us all, we pray you hear us when we call.

Verse 2 When this old world drew on toward night, you gave us stars in 
splendor bright; 
The moon to guide our pilgrim way, and bring us to your glorious day.

Verse 3 Deep in the darkness we begin, the dark outside the deep within.
So now ignite a single flame, the shadows form, let light remain.

Verse 4 O breath of life, eternal fire, present now in us and inspire;
O boundless faith and courage clear, we shine your light to banish fear.

Verse 5 Your wisdom with full promise burns, we give our promise in return
Compassion’s warmth your love reveals, we give to others and are healed.

Verse 6 O come our root, the light, our key, the wisdom for us all to see.
All heaven rings to wake the earth, as angels sing love comes to birth.

Music: Conditor alme siderum, plainsong, Mode 4. 
Text: Latin, 9th c., new verses by Scott Lawrence and Ann Strickland

Gospel: River
Joni Mitchell
Wow, this cover by Angus Stone is beautiful

Offertory: The Trumpet Child
Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler
An Advent must.

Communion: Instrumental

After Communion: My Soul in Stillness Waits
A beauty by Marty Haugen.

Closer: Love Came Down at Christmas
A music director can dream...

December 16, 2012 | Year C Advent III

Welcome to Pageant Sunday!

Discovery, third principle of faith.

Our service will begin with some stillness and another reflective reading from Walter Brueggemann, With or without you. Now this begs for some U2.

Gathering: You Are Quite the Beauty
Another chant inspired by Anis Mojgani. 

This music sends me.

The pageant replaces the Gospel reading. This year the pageant is an original play written by a musician in our music circle, Kelly Hume. Kelly is a multi talented songwriter, graphic artist and writer. The pageant is all about angels so the music is of course ALL ANGEL!
One of my students, aged 8 or 9, will be accompanying Hark the Herald, Angels We Have Heard on High and The First Nowell. I will accompany Calling All Angels (Jane Siberry) and Angels Watchin' Over Me.  We usually do one verse of each carol. 

The Offertory: One Wing 
Not sure we can pull this off, but some of the high-schoolers are giving it a go.
The pageant story involves a one-winged angel or two so this song is perfect.

Communion: Instrumental again. This week a freshman high school student, and tremdendous pianist, will be improvising something quiet and meditative.

After Communion: With Or Without You by U2 
Gotta do it!
WOW the Scala Choir! Just found this arrangement--watch this, worth it for the conducting alone.

December 9, 2012 | Year C Advent II

Here we are--Advent II

Our second principle of faith: service.

At Grace, over the years, Advent liturgy has evolved into a more spacious, quiet reflective experience.
This year at the liturgy of the word we will first offer a reflective reading (a different poem each week by Walter Brueggemann) and the Gospel. That's it. With a space for silence and stillness in between the reflective reading/poem and the gospel hymn.

This week's reflective reading is: You are known in hiddenness

The Gospel: Luke 3: 1-6

Our Gathering Song will be a chant-like piece I have composed to text inspired by Anis Mojgani's poem Closer.

You Make the Lord Happy

Opening Processional: Prepare the Way O Zion

Offertory: Guadalupe/Tom Russell
This one is being worked up with concertina, guitar, fiddle and voices arranged by our own Rev. Jim Friedrich--resident creative liturgical wizard. Honoring Guadalupe today!

Communion: All during Advent, instrumental offerings. More space, less words.

OK, you may think this is corny and dated and way too 70's but it turns out it is just perfect with piano accompaniment and maybe starting with a single child's voice and then building and adding instruments and voices. 

Closer: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Tune: Hyfrydol

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

December 2, 2012 | Year C Advent I

Hello everybody.

Here at Grace our mission statement includes four principles of faith: inclusion, service, discovery and gratitude.

To put a finer point on our theme of the year, Come Closer, we will highlight one of our principles of faith each week during Advent.

This week: inclusion.

During the Advent season we read one contemporary reading, usually a poem, and the gospel, creating a feeling of spaciousness at the beginning of the service. This week our reflective reading is Against Your Absence

Gathering Song: One Love/People Get Ready ( Bob Marley/Curtis Mayfield)
Our kids will play piano, guitar and organ and vocally lead this congregational song.

Opening Processional: Sing Out Earth and Skies by Marty Haugen

Gospel: O Come, O Come Emmanuel Verses 1-2

Offertory: People Look East, text: Farjeon, tune: BESANCON

Communion: True Colors by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly
Our kids will accompany and lead this one.

After Communion: Be More Quiet Now by David Crowder Band

Closing Hymn: Something Beautiful by Alexi Murdoch
purchase this man's music

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November 25, 2012 | Year B

Hello Everybody,

This year I have started a gratitude practice with our kids' music group. Each time we meet to rehearse (weekly) we write down three things we are grateful for. The list has included music, family, pets, white rice, ice cream, colored pencils, broccoli, chicken and mashed potatoes, video games, friends, miracles, each other...
As the weeks go by and the gratitude lists grow I am reminded of the simple blessings in and of each day and the importance of taking time to remember them.

Remember and give thanks.

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 93 
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37

Eternal and living God, grant that the peoples of the earth be brought together in knowing harmony; help us to nourish each other with food, wisdom and careful consideration so that we may live consciously and with lovingkindness. Amen. 

Gathering: In the Lord I'll Be Ever Thankful
Jacques Berthier

Opening: Let All Things Now Living
Text: Katherine K. Davis, Schirmer Music Co., tune: ASH GROVE

Gospel: Thank You Lord

Offertory: Dear Weaver of Our Lives' Design
Text: Nancy Dorian, Music C. Huber H. Parry

Communion: Knocking on Heaven's Door/Seek Ye First

We've discovered that Seek Ye First makes a beautiful descant over the chanting of the chorus from Knocking on Heaven's Door. The tune can be slightly altered to fit the chords for Knocking on Heaven's is BEAUTIFUL. G, D Am. Three chords. So easy. Meditative. It can start and end with the instruments improvising and jamming.

After Communion: Thank You For Hearing (Loving) Me 
words and music by Sinéad O'Connor
We sing this quietly and slowly--Thank you for loving, hearing, saving, seeing and healing.

Closing Hymn: Halle, Halle, Halle! arr. by John Bell, Iona Community, GIA

Saturday, October 27, 2012

November 18, 2012 | Year B Proper 28

Hi Everybody,

This week's story focuses on "Hannah's Song," and themes of forgiveness, new life, compassion and living with and from an abundant heart. Here are our selections for Sunday, November 18th.

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

Blessed God, source of all inspiration, grant us the wisdom to see your beauty in and around us; grant that we may embrace and hold fast the hope of a new life of greater care, compassion and loving-kindness. Amen.

Gathering Song: Enter in the Realm of God
Text by Lavon Bayler, music DANDANSOY

Opening Hymn:
My Soul Gives Glory to My God
Text: Miriam Therese Winter, tune: Morning Song

“My soul gives glory to my God.
My heart pours out its praise.
God lifted up my lowliness
In many marvelous ways.”

The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 198. 

My Heart is Overflowing
My heart is overflowing
with gladness and with praise.
The God who guards my going
gives meaning to my days.
Holy the Rock of Ages known in word and deed.
Giving the victory, fulfilling my every need.
     The Living God has spoken,
Earth answers with a song.
Weapons of war are broken,
the week are feeling strong.
See, we no longer hunger, crying out for bread.
Our God restores to life and raises us from the dead.
     All who are poor and lowly
will have a heavenly home.
The humble and the holy
shall surely know shalom.
God lifts the needy from the ashes of despair,
favors the outcast and the downtrodden everywhere.
     The power of compassion
can turn the world around.
The firm in faith will fashion
garlands from barren ground.
Echoes of joy are found resounding from the tomb.
Cheerful the childless woman: life stirs within her womb.
     The One who once created
and now sustains the earth,
boldly anticipated
we too would bring to birth.
Love conquers evil, setting all the captives free.
Praise God for life begetting life for eternity.    

Words and music by Miriam Therese Winter
© Medical Mission Sisters 1993, 1995

And always be ready to add a new song!
This one is being worked up by two guys with two guitars. Love it
Soul of a Man by Blind
Recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1930. 

Come and Find the Quiet Centre
Words: Shirley Erena Murray

In the Presence of the Lord by Eric Clapton
We do this one quite a bit. Simple and beautiful. We have a Hammond C3 and a great organist who can improvise and jam along. Serious church right here.

Love in My Soul
Prayer adapted by Kathie McCarthy, Music by Caroline R. Clucas
Caroline is a Gracie and an extraordinary composer. We do this as a choral anthem.

After Communion
Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen with additional lyrics by Scott Lawrence

When night stands still, its stony dark holds entombed your longing heart,
And peace is just in pieces all around you.
You remember time undone, when love and light were always one,
Before you lost that precious hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

By night they stole your love away, forever lost to yesterday,
They hung the world upside down around you.
Then surprised you saw your lover’s eyes return, you recognized
The sweet enfolding, shining, hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Now instead of fear you feel a love that time cannot steal.
No darkness can conceal the light within you.
This loving grace, this love divine, seeking all that’s lost will find
The ever-living, singing, hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah


Be More Quiet Now by David Crowder
We use this as a chant and don't really get wildly loud like the original version. We just repeat and repeat... building a tiny bit instrumentally and vocally.

Closing Hymn: Tell Out My Soul
Oh, you know this one!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

November 11, 2012 | Year B Proper 27

Open My Heart

Hi Everybody,
Here are some ideas for Sunday, November 11th. Feels like this week comes straight from the heart.
That's a good place to start.

Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
Psalm 127
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

Faith, belief, giving from your heart, trust


God of light, radiant and unfading, appear to us on our path. May the light we kindle from your grace, shine—strong in hope and wide in good will. Amen.

Psalm 127
from Psalms in Ordinary Voices.
Written by Women Inmates

A home built without the Lord's presence is built in vain
Without God by your side, your efforts go to waste.
You can work all day, all night and it will be for naught.
Daughters are made in the image of God;
our children are our reward.
What arrows are to a warrior,
a child is in a mother's arms.
Happy is a woman surrounded by family,
just as a warrior is happy with a quiver full of arrows.
Proud is a woman who stands at the gate with God and her children by her side.

Gathering Song: Give Peace to Every Heart
Jacques Berthier

Opening Processional: Blue Green Hills of Earth
by Kim Oler
Here's a beautiful arrangement with soloist and choir. The congregation and music circle at Grace sing a far less majestic but equally beautiful version!

Gospel Hymn: Though I May Speak by Hal Hopson

Offertory: When God Made Me by Neil Young
I love this song. We've sung it quite a few times and it is a beauty. Great lyrics and tune.
Great with piano and guitars and lots of harmonies on the refrain.

During Communion: As We Gather at Your Table   
Text by Carl P. Daw, Tune: BEACHSPRING

After Communion: Open My Heart Written by Ana Hernandez, published in Music by Heart

Closing Hymn: Rise words and music by Eddie Vedder
This is a big Grace favorite. We sing this on Easter, for memorial services and any old regular Grace Sunday.

Our own Scott Lawrence has added two verses. We have a great mandolin player who has figured out the accompaniment. We layer in the rest of the instruments as we go.

Such is the way of the world, can never know
Just where to put all your faith, and how will it grow.
Gonna rise up, burning black holes in dark memories.
Gonna rise up, turning mistakes into gold.

Such is the passage of time, too fast to fold.
Suddenly swallowed by signs, lo and behold.
Gonna rise up and find my direction magnetically.
Gonna rise up and throw down my ace in the hole.

Such are the stories we bring, telling the toll.
Laughter and tears full the sky, echo below.
Gonna rise up and stand in the light that I cannot see.
Gonna rise up and live all the stories I know.

Such are the songs that we sing, fears to unfold.
Music, like water, wells up, unbending our soul.
Gonna rise up and fly from the tomb that’s been holding me.
Gonna rise up and sing myself a new home.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

November 4, 2012 | Year B All Saints

All Saints, All of Us
All Saints' Sunday

This is a special liturgy for us. It includes this moment when everyone is invited to stand, one after another, and say aloud the names of those we "love and see no more." Powerful, moving and a way to stand in community to remember, be heard, and name the saints who walked among us and see no more.

I'm going to list songs we are planning to do this All Saints' and some we have used in years past.
This year our service will be co-led by some of our children. The kids will be readers, lead the prayers, the psalm and assist with the offertory. Also the 5th and 6th graders have written our prayers of the people this week. I'll re-post with that text soon!

Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 24
Revelation 21:1-6a

Themes: Remembrance and new birth. Loss, love, life.

Here is the psalm we'll be using, again from Psalms in Ordinary Voices.
Psalm 24 by Thelma Wong and Sarah Bellows Meister (students)

Of David

This gentle earth and all that it cradles,
each life, each possibility for hope,
was born of goodness and of grace,
founded in love and cast in kindness.

Who shall reach the highest heights
to stand in communion with the Good?
Those whose lives are marked by service, 
who mend what they find broken,
be it places, lives, or hope.
They shall find themselves always blessed,
as they have blessed the lives they touch.
For such is sacred community:
a circle of souls in harmony, turning towards each other.
O Sisters, open your hearts-
that comfort and love may come in!
O Brothers, open your hearts-
that comfort and love may come in!
Lift up your hearts in eternal compassion!
Lift up your hearts in perpetual peace!
What act is more sacred?
What prayer is more holy?
Open your hearts, and dwell humbly and gently in truth.

White River Press

Gathering: The Leaves Fall Patiently

Text, Sara Teasdale (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933)
Music written by Ann Strickland for a Loretto Community equinox service.
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

All This Joy
Words and music by John Denver!
A member of the congregation brought this song to my attention. 
Had never heard it before. We sing it quite a bit now and it is a big favorite.
Simple and beautiful.

Calling All Angels by  Jane Siberry
This we've done as a solo. Wow.

This year we will add Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

Gospel: In My Life
John Lennon (and Paul McCartney)
Already posted a sweet version by Dave Matthews

Last year a member of the music circle suggested Do You Realize
 by The Flaming Lips
Here is a great version with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
We used hand bells, a soloist sang the verses, guitar and piano accompaniment and our kids singing group sang along on the chorus. It was amazing.

This year one of our kids suggested
I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie.
One of our high school students is rewriting some of the lyrics, as they are all not appropriate.
That in itself is such a great exercise. The kids will lead this one. 

During Communion
Last year was Just Breathe by Eddie Vedder. Suggested and sung by one of high school students.

This year Turn to Stone by Ingrid Michaelson (posted already)
Also an original piece by one of high school students.

Song after Communion
I'll Remember You by Bob Dylan
The version that inspired this is from the movie Masked and Anonymous. Amazing really.
We did this piano only, a high school student sang it as a solo.

Closing Hymn
We've closed with a bluesy, rousing, New Orleans style When the Saints. Most excellent.
This year Angels Watchin' Over Me arranged by our own Darden Burns. The kids will lead!