Conversation and information about music and liturgy from a confessional Lutheran perspective.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What a Great Choir!

So now we are on to Trinity Sunday. Because it falls on Memorial Day weekend this year, many choirs in the church won't be singing. But not at Bethany! I may have the most dedicated - as well as one of the most talented - groups in the whole Missouri Synod. Huzzah! I am a cantor who is indeed richly blessed. :)

I did poll my group to make sure it was going to work for us to sing this Sunday. Turned out more were available for Trinity Sunday this year than Pentecost! As I said in my last post, I had to craft Pentecost for a smaller choir this year (we had 20). It did go very well, though, thanks be to God. I received compliments on the service throughout the week and am looking forward to the service being loaded onto our podcast. (We had a few glitches, to be sure, but, as Robert Preus quipped, "It wouldn't be a Lutheran liturgy without at least one mistake!")

Anway, this Sunday we'll have 29 out of my 36. :) And they will sing for all of both the 9:00am and the 11:15am services. Just like the brass group. (I told you they were dedicated!) On the Entrance Hymn, "O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth" the choir will sing my Liturgy Solutions setting of stanza 3. The Verse of the Day will use the Caribbean "Halle, Halle". The Voluntary will be Ernani Aguiar's "Salmo 150" (published by EarthSongs), a staple in the modern concert repertoire. It is one of the choir's favorites and a great way to end the choir season. And, yes, we sing it in Latin. Oh yes, one more piece - which we sang at the beginning of the year - the choir & the brass will lead the congregation in Carolyn Jennings' magnificent concertato on her hymn "Voices Raised to You We Offer".

Alleluia, indeed!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ah, Pentecost!

I know a pastor who got this silly idea into his head that "the reason the music for Pentecost isn't as grand as for Christmas or Easter is because the Holy Spirit just humbly points to Jesus." Now, I certainly believe, along with the rest of my confessional Lutherans, that the Spirit's work is indeed to create faith in our hearts. He calls, gathers, and enlightens us in the one true faith. And, to be sure, He also gives us spiritual gifts, aids the Church in her mutual conversation and consolation, and provides countless other blessings, even as the chief work of the Spirit is to call us by the Gospel and keep us faithful. That's why He enlightens us with His gifts!

But to therefore justify the lackluster way many parishes celebrate Pentecost and to even say that it is fitting and appropriate to have a diminished celebration on purpose is quite bizarre. To the contrary, because the Holy Spirit performs the miracle of creating faith in our hearts, so that we can believe in this Jesus and own the forgiveness of our sins, the Feast of Pentecost should be grand and glorious - just like Christmas and Easter. For without the Spirit, we could not believe in the One whom God our Father has sent! Jesus' death for us would then be in vain.

So, in the end, it is all about Jesus. And the Holy Trinity is blessed co-equally even as we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and praise Him for His wonderful works on Pentecost Sunday. In the comments section, for those who are interested, I'll share some of the things we'll be doing at Bethany this Lord's Day. I hope you will take some time to let us know what you will be doing as well.

May your Divine Services be glorious indeed this Sunday.