Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to the creed

This past Wednesday, Pastor's sermon returned to our series on the Creed. After a break for the hymn sings, picnics, and anniversary services, we'll spend the remainder of the summer with meditations on the third article. So in honor of that theme I challenge you, quick, to name a Pentecost Hymn...or any hymn that mentions the Holy Spirit specifically...

The fact that it's so difficult to think of a Pentecost Hymn illustrates Pastor's sermon from Wednesday that the Holy Spirit can sometimes seem like the minor member of the Trinity. That provides a challenge and opportunity these next few weeks to introduce and emphasize music about the Holy Spirit.

The prelude this Sunday will reflect that theme by including possibly the most famous hymn tune regarding the Holy Spirit, the chant Veni Creator Spiritus (or its slightly more metrical version in the hymnal, Komm Gott Schopfer). The tune originated in the 8th century, but it will still be familiar to most people in the congregation, I would guess. Isn't it amazing that the church has managed to preserve such melodies for over a millenium?

The other thing I love about church music, though, is that it can continually be updated in new settings and arrangements. I will be playing Helmut Walcha's prelude on the chant, which utilizes modern rhythms and chords to feature the tune in a new setting. You may want to flip open your ELW to 578 to read along with the text during the prelude. The first verse begins "Creator spirit, heav'nly dove, descend upon us from above." The text as a whole is a prayer to the Holy Spirit, just perfect for our return to the Creed.

The postlude this week will be a little ditty titled "Trumpets in Praise" by Hughes. It comes from the latest issue of The Organ Portfolio. While I love playing Bach and Buxtehude and while the Cleveland Public Library helps provide plenty of arrangements by a variety of composers, my subscription to that journal helps ensure that new pieces are constantly available for consideration. They cycle through my repertoire, sometimes getting a trial offering during a service to see if they deserve repeat consideration. I think this particular piece should provide an upbeat note to end the service, and I hope you enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, main-line churches have always struggled with Pentacost and the role of the Spirit. We miss out on so much when we are not open to the on-going revelations, instead assuming that God has not spoken for 2009 years. On the other hand, maybe the musical and artistic inspirations are ways that He is still speaking?