December 18, 2017

God’s Mercy and Our Lack Thereof (Trinity 13)

In Bach’s day, the readings for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity included Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. The cantata he wrote for that day in his third cycle of cantatas (Aug, 1725), uses a powerful text on the Gospel written by Salomo Franck. It powerfully contrasts God’s mercy and our lack thereof in caring […]

Some Enchanted Evening

Ordinary Time Bible Study 2011 The Book of Ruth (10) Update: edited with some added content commenting on the deliberately ambiguous portrayal of Boaz and Ruth’s encounter. Did she, or didn’t she? • • • Sex! Sex!! Sex!!! There. Do I have your attention? Few things keep us on the edge of our seats like […]

A Hymn for Ordinary Time (12): Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

By Chaplain Mike One of Bach’s cantatas for Trinity 12 takes a different form. Cantata BWV 137 creates variations on the five verses of Joachim Neander’s great hymn, “Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren,” which English hymn singers know as, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” This happens to be one of my […]

A Hymn for Ordinary Time (11): A Song of Peace

By Chaplain Mike As we look forward to our week of remembering 9/11, I offer the following hymn of peace for your meditation today. This words of the first two stanzas to this hymn, which is sung to the melody of Finlandia, were written by Lloyd Stone in the years between World War I and […]

A Taste of Fullness

By Chaplain Mike Ordinary Time Bible Study 2011 The Book of Ruth (9) We missed a week in our Ruth study and this morning it is time to go back to Bethlehem to find out what is happening. What have we seen so far? A family from Israel, forced to move to Moab in a […]

A Hymn for Ordinary Time (10): A Great (the Greatest?) Gospel Hymn

By Chaplain Mike From The Center for Church Music, here is the story of today’s hymn, perhaps the greatest hymn about the evangelical conversion experience ever written: Charles Wesley, founder of the movement known as Methodism with his brother, John, was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1735. However, three years […]

A Hymn for Ordinary Time (9): For the Beauty of the Earth

By Chaplain Mike On this Lord’s Day, we present a familiar hymn of praise by which we thank God for his common grace and the gifts of beauty and love that flow from it. For the Beauty of the Earth For the beauty of the earth For the glory of the skies, For the love […]

A Hymn for Ordinary Time (8): A Prayer for the Church

By Chaplain Mike Timothy Dudley-Smith, whose biography of the late John Stott will most certainly be read by many this year in the light of Stott’s passing, is one of the truly fine British hymn writers of the past century. He has penned over 300 texts, and his hymns have been published in over 250 […]

Welcoming the Stranger

By Chaplain Mike Ordinary Time Bible Study 2011 The Book of Ruth (8) Naomi and Ruth have returned to Bethlehem, where the Lord has visited his people and blessed them with a good harvest. Ruth takes initiative immediately and goes out to glean in the fields to provide for their household. According to the Torah, […]

A Hymn for Ordinary Time (7): For Ecclesia Week

By Chaplain Mike The following words are from the Preface to Lyra Fidelium: Twelve Hymns on the Twelve Articles of the Apostles Creed, by S.J. Stone (1866) Most clergymen are aware how many of their parishioners, among the poor especially, say the Creed in their private prayers. And they cannot but feel how this excellent […]