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Earth Day, 2021

Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22; churches typically observe Earth Day Sunday during the month of April. It is an opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God’s creation and the human responsibility to steward it through worship, education and action.

The Rev. Pat Watkins is an expert in educating others about how theology relates to caring for creation as an important Christian mission. Watkins was a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries assigned to the care of God’s creation. 

“Many of us are stuck at a grade school level of theological competence and Bible understanding,” Watkins explained. “If we looked deeper into the Bible, we’d be surprised. Relationship with God and relationship with the Earth are very prevalent in the Bible, but we focus primarily on our relationship with God and not the Earth.”

“It’s more than recycling and Styrofoam” he continued. “It’s about relationships with God, each other, and God’s creation. It’s about how we live with each other. It is a covenant.”

Watkins said, “The United Methodist Church is an amazing and powerful group of Christians because of our Scriptures. We just don’t use that power enough. We need to be the voice of creation care.”

Watkins shared some Biblical references that call us to care for God’s creation.

Genesis 2:7 – The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils.”

Adam was created out of dust of the Earth. How could there be any more of a relationship with the Earth than to be created out of it? It’s as if God scooped up a couple handfuls of earth and formed humanity. When God formed Adam he was not a living being until God breathed life into his nostrils and we became living human beings. The fact that we exist as living, breathing human beings suggests that we have a relationship with the Earth because we were created out of it and we have a relationship with God because we breathe the very breath of the one who created all that is.

Genesis 3:23 – “The Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to farm the fertile land from which he was taken.”

Even the fact that God put Adam and Eve in a garden is an important point. Due to their disobedience, they were kicked out of the garden and the land was cursed making it more difficult for them to coax the earth to provide for them.

Genesis 4:12 – “When you farm the fertile land, it will no longer grow anything for you, and you will become a roving nomad on the earth.”

The story of Cain and Able is also a story of disobedience. When Cain, a farmer, killed his brother, God punished him by removing him from the soil. He became a wanderer across the earth with no connection to any land. When he lost his relationship with the land, he could no longer see the face of God. Relationship with the land and relationship with God were, for Cain, inseparable.

Disobedience of God and violence towards one another results in negative consequences for the earth.

Genesis 9:13 – “I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth.”

Few people know that Noah’s father, Lamech, thought that his son might one day be the “righteous” one to remove the curse on the land (Genesis 5:28-29). When Noah’s Ark came to rest and the animals were released, a rainbow appeared. It was a sign not only of God’s covenant with Noah, but also with the animals and the earth itself. Noah’s story is a story of reconciliation of humanity and the earth. God saw what he had done and promised he would never again curse the land.

John 1:3 – “Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being.”

At the beginning of John’s Gospel there is an understanding by the writer that Jesus was present at Creation and that everything that ever came into being came into being through Christ.

John 3:16 – “God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.”

Many think that the whole Christ event was just about personal salvation, but actually, it was about God’s love for everything God has made. The word world is better translated as cosmos.

The Apostle Paul

Romans 8:19 – “The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.”

Colossians 1:20 – “He reconciled all things to himself through him — whether things on earth or in the heavens. He brought peace through the blood of his cross.”

Paul has the understanding that Jesus was the redeemer not just of humanity, but of everything God created.

Learn more about The United Methodist Church and its teachings about the natural world, and creation care.

This piece was written by Susan Passi-Klaus, a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Media contact: Joe Iovino.

 
 

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Global UMC virtual choir sings Easter hymn

Global virtual choir sings Easter hymn
More than 400 United Methodists from around the world have joined in singing the favorite Easter hymn “Thine Be the Glory.” Even in the midst of the pandemic, church members can celebrate Christ’s resurrection together.

This was an amazing experience bringing together over 400 singers from different countries, congregations, and communities – proving that even in the midst of a pandemic we are still united.

This project would not have been possible without the help of some amazing folks lending a hand:

  • The arrangement used of “Thine Be the Glory” was written and performed by Rev. Jared Wilson, Senior Associate Pastor and Director of The Music & Arts Academy at Madison Street UMC in Clarksville, Tennessee.
  • The Worship Team at Discipleship Ministries for coordinating the project and providing the vision for the Easter choir.
  • And of course, all 400 singers who submitted wonderful videos for us to use.

Thank you all and Happy Easter!

“Thine Be the Glory” is #308 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Thine be the glory,
Risen, conquering Son;
Endless is the victory
Thou o’er death hast won.

Angels in bright raiment
Rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes
Where the body lay.

Edmond L. Budry (1854-1932) wrote this hymn, originally in French as “A Toi la gloire, ô Ressuscité.” He was the pastor of the Free Evangelical Church of the Canton of Vevey, Switzerland, having studied theology at Lausanne.

The hymn was written in 1884 and appeared first in Chants Evangeliques (1885). A translation by Richard Birch Hoyle (1875-1939) gave the hymn increased visibility, especially when it appeared in the first edition of the hymnal for the World Student Christian Federation, Cantate Domino (1924). The Methodist Hymn Book (1933) was the first European hymnal to include the hymn.

Methodist hymnologist Fred Gaely notes that, “Budry was often asked to make translations of favorite German or English hymns, but he preferred to rewrite the texts, often improving on the original, and often freely adapting old Latin hymns.”

The inspiration for this hymn, according to Budry’s friend Paul Laufer, came from the words of Friedrich-Heinrich Ranke (1798-1876), published to the tune, MACCABAEUS, by George Fredrick Handel (1685-1759). The tune was adapted from a processional song in Handel’s oratorio Joshua (1747), as well as later versions of the more famous oratorio Judas Maccabaeus (1746).

Budry freely adapted Ranke’s Advent text and transformed it as an Easter hymn. As Gaely recognized, the Easter text “emphasized still more the triumphal nature of Handel’s music.” John Wesley, a contemporary of Handel, enjoyed this tune very much and cites it as one of his favorites in journal entries for March 29, 1774, and March 30, 1787.

According to English hymnologist J. Richard Watson, the hymn “is based on the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection (with a brief allusion to St. Thomas and doubt in verse 3), together with St. Paul’s commentary on it in I Corinthians 15.” This is especially evident in the use of the word “victory” in the refrain, reminiscent of I Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Stanza two almost quotes directly I Corinthians 15:55. The Scripture says, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Hoyle’s translation of the second stanza concludes, “death hath lost its sting.”

This hymn took on new life for me in August 2008 when I joined a group of United Methodist musicians in a teaching mission to Côte d’Ivoire, the newest (admitted formally to the denomination at the 2008 General Conference) and largest (nearly 700,000 members) of the denomination’s conference regions. Sponsored by the Global Praise Project of the General Board of Global Ministries, our group was charged to train a new generation of church musicians in Côte d’Ivoire.

As we concluded our time in this West African country, we realized that we were taught as much—if not more—by the African Christian musicians than we were teaching. One of the hymns that these United Methodists sang with great vigor was “A Toi la gloire, ô Ressuscité.” We heard it in two versions: the first was the classic Western hymn style; the second was a West African version complete with drums, electronic keyboards and guitars. Both were delightful.

It was a joy to see how this hymn has transcended not only time and cultures, but also continents to resonate with a vibrant Easter joy.

Dr. Hawn is professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology, SMU.

From https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-easter-celebration-hymn-transcends-time-cultures-1

 
 

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Where did Good Friday get its name?

 

Our name for the Friday before Easter, “Good Friday,” is most likely related to the English and the Dutch, the only two languages that use this term, which etymologists say is likely an alteration of the Germanic word, “Goddes,” meaning “God’s” or “Holy.” That term does not mean “good.” The day is called Holy Friday in nearly all other languages in the world.

A similar process happened with the English word “goodbye,” which was formed over time as a contraction of “God be with ye.”

English speakers are no more saying that “it’s good to see you go” when they say goodbye than they are calling the day of Christ’s crucifixion good when they call it Good Friday. Holy, yes. Good? Not so much.

Good Friday, or Holy Friday as most of the rest of the world calls it in their languages, proclaims God’s purpose of loving and redeeming the world even in the face of human rejection and cruelty through the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a day that is holy and makes us holy because God was drawing the world to God’s self in Christ.

From https://www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-where-did-good-friday-get-its-name

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2021 in Holidays, Lent, Posts of Interest, Videos

 

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Today is Palm Sunday!

palm-sunday

Our live streams will be at 9:00 am (Traditional/Blended) and 11:15 am Common Ground (Contemporary).

Traditional/Blended at 9:00 am with traditional hymns, handbells, children’s message and more.

Common Ground Contemporary at 11:15 am with praise band, praise music, children’s message and more

The days leading up to Easter often have an understandably somber feel to them, particularly as we contemplate Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution. It’s easy to forget that the week begins with a joyful event: the Triumphal Entry!

Sunday, March 28, 2021, is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus’ celebrated entry into Jerusalem just a few days before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

The “palm” in Palm Sunday refers to the palm branches waved by the adoring Jerusalem crowds who welcomed Jesus and proclaimed him King. The event is commonly referred to as the Triumphal Entry. Here’s the account from Matthew 21:1-11:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

From Chuck Knows Church — Palm Sunday. Have you ever waved a palm branch in a worship service? If so, do you know why? Chuckle along and learn about Palm Sunday with Chuck

Holy week at Pender

 

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Music for Palm Sunday

 

Every Palm Sunday, without fail, my father’s church choir in Connecticut sang this.  I still know it nearly by heart.

This hymn for Palm Sunday was originally written in French as “Les rameaux” originally published in 1864 by French art collector, operatic baritone and composer Jean-Baptiste Fauré (1830–1914).

Jean-Baptiste Fauré should not be confused with French composer, organist, pianist and teacher Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) who composed a world-famous Requiem and other works.

An early English translation “Palm-Branches” was published by Oliver Ditson Co., Boston in “Gems of English Song” 1875. A number of other English translations have been made, and it has proved surprisingly difficult to identify the translators. One version is sometimes credited to Harrison Millard (1830-1895) – but other sources say he was simply an arranger.

I think, as a choir, we didn’t sound quite this good

Other Palm Sunday Music:

We are singing this at the Pender Contemporary Service this morning at 11:15:

 

We are singing this at Pender this year at the 9:00 traditional service, but without quite as much ceremony, and in English

 

This looks like fun – “Jerusalem, lift up your gates and sing!”  Hosanna in the Highest to your King!  Note that one person is playing a duet with himself.

 

 

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