LECTIONARY COMMENTARY

Year A, Lent 6 Palm Sunday

Isaiah 54:4-9a
Psalm 118:1-2,19-29
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 21:1-11

That’s yet another thing COVID 19 has to answer for! We at Indooroopilly will not be celebrating Palm Sunday with our usual choral service! And to think that the choir had already begun rehearsals! Not that we were aiming for any great new works; in fact, Wendy had decided to bring back some pieces that we have sung in previous years; and why not, since the message is still the same and will always be so, Corona or no Corona?

Music has always been integral to worship, having as it does the capacity to make real to the soul the deep things of God in ways that even the greatest oratory cannot, and in return express the wide range of feelings with which we respond to His Self-revelation in Christ.

Those pieces which we would have sung present a range of responses to the  Good News of Holy Week to which we may respond as it touches us each in our own situation. The first of them is “Hosanna, Hosanna!” published by Exaltation in Ohio – a bright and catchy tune with, as one part of the blurb says, “a distinctive Jewish flare.” Well, I wouldn’t know about that, but certainly, it echoes the sheer exuberance of that first Palm Sunday as Jews greeted their long-awaited Messiah. Yes, there is a place for that kind of worship – but it is only part of the story, as our next offering shows – “The Merchants Carol” by Frank Kendon, a fictional account of twelve Gentile merchants from a distant country who happen to arrive at Jerusalem at the moment of Jesus’ entry on a donkey. It is narrated in ballad form by one of the twelve, who in the midst of all the excitement alone perceives that the only silent one in all that crowd is the very one who is being hailed as king. The merchant catches his eye and somehow understands that, yes, he will be king, but not as people might expect. The story moves on, and finally ends at the foot of the Cross, with the merchant making the final comment, “He was most kingly dying.

“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” is probably a quite well-known work because of its association with J.S. Bach who harmonised a German melody for a tune to words attributed to the medieval monk Bernard of Clairvaux. It is a most poignant reflection on the grief and suffering of Christ in contrast to His former “bright as morn.” And bitterest of all, the realisation that He has voluntarily accepted this state on our behalf: “Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.

Now the green blade rises” may or may not have been inspired by Jesus’ words in John 12:24 – “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The theme of dying to bring forth new life is one of the most widely used metaphors of all, so it is hardly surprising that we should find it applied to the greatest dying and rising of all.

May the messages of this music be for us an encouragement to new life during an Easter which does not show many causes for celebrating new life at present.

Today in Christchurch

Join us for an introduction to some new hymns by Norman Brookes and Norman Goreham to familiar tunes -and a few new ones.

Hymnbook Launch: With A Song in Our Heart

Today, Wednesday 11 March, 7.00pm at Christchurch North Methodist Church, corner Chapel Street and Harewood Road.

Join us for an introduction to some new words by Norman Brookes and Norman Goreham to familiar tunes -and a few new ones.

Hymnbooks are available for $20.

All welcome

Free Workshop – Music For Worship

Free Music for Worship Workshop
for Lay Preachers and worship leaders
21 March 2020, 9:30 to 12:00 noon
at
Waiwhetu Uniting Church
6 Trafalgar Street. Waiwhetu Lower Hutt.

Leader: Philip Garside.
Guest composer: Jonathan Berkahn.

RSVP to Lyn Price 
Email: pricenw@xtra.co.nz or Phone: (04) 567 4356

Some Very Useful Websites

The Text This Week – a great starting point as you begin to work on service preparation

Faith and Worship – Prayers

Weekly Worship – this is from the Church of Scotland and provides useful material related to lectionary readings, prayers, and ideas for a children’s talk

Related imageStorypath – connecting Children’s Literature with our Faith Story – using the lectionary reading and providing good suggestions for linking the children’s story into the service

Lectionary and Worship – from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – has range of resources including suggestions of hymns from the New Zealand Hymn Book Trust that could be suitable for each Sunday, as well as Te Reo Maori worship resources

Week in Prayer – each Thursday posts a current prayer of intercession for the following Sunday.  You can sign up to have it emailed to you.  The sample below shows just how current it is.  It reflects the US environment from which it comes but it is truly international and, with a little tweaking, can be very valuable

World News This Week in Prayer – Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dear Lord,

Your people in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean have looked up into rain flooded skies and out onto destroyed homelands, waiting for water, food, shelter and the provision of medical care. Open the hearts of decision makers to release funds to continue the rescue, to bring relief and stability. Smooth the communications to move people to care as the USNS Comfort (US naval ship) waits for the needy. Help us to grow in compassion as a people as we listen to news from hurricane-devastated places and during the long recovery, not forgetting the gulf coast.

We pray for the Rohingya peoples who await smugglers to take them across the Naf River between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Others make the treacherous journey to safety through jungles and mountains and into refugee camps such as BalukaliKutupalong and Nayapara, where the depth of need is continually expanding. Dear God, our Comforter and Protector, be with the nation of Bangladesh and the NGO’s as they summon all their capacity to meet the needs of these deeply suffering refugees. Surround exhausted families with nourishing sleep. Tend to the children who make up 60% of the refugees – lost and torn from their families. Open our eyes to the horror of genocide, as a people are being erased from Myanmar’s history and annihilated. Come Holy Spirit. Guide the world as it seeks to address this calamity.

Some look up into smoke and ash filled skies in the western United States barely escaping burning homes and a tortured landscape and yet 10,000 firefighters – including 100 women prisoners working as firefighters – move toward the flames. Renew their energy to endure and guard their steps. We are so grateful for their unique skills in this treacherous work. Dear God, provide shelter to families bereft of everything they owned. Sustain the communities in their great work of serving these families, providing food, a listening ear, counseling and guidance in next steps and getting in touch with family. Be with the 42 families who have lost loved ones and the 68 families with unaccounted for loved ones. Hold them in their distress.

Some hide in the shelter of darkness yet afraid. “Has the fighting stopped?” Oh Lord, how seemingly endless is the noise and dust and calamity of war and the horrific suffering, the interminable loss and degradation. We pray for the peoples caught in the wars within wars, in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region of Kirkuk, for the police killed in Taliban raids and bombings in the Paktia and Ghazni provinces in Afghanistan. We pray for the dead and wounded civilians as they were waiting to get their identity cards. We pray for an end to 6 years of suffering in the Syrian civil war displacing 6.3 million people internally, causing the deaths of 400,000 with more than 5 million Syrians fleeing the country.

Open the hearts of combatants to give safe humanitarian access. Our hearts are torn again as we hear about the global food crisis, severe food insecurity, and the increasing risk of full on famine in northeast NigeriaSomaliaSouth Sudan and Yemen. Some are too week to sit or even cry, hungry to the point of death. Oh God, you are listening. You surround them. You love them. Open our hearts. Help us to prayerfully consider our time, talent and treasure. Help us to share the wealth from our tables. Bring peace in those places where war creates famine, where conflict creates war, where war seems to be endless.

We watched with deep concern as Ireland and the UK received the effects of Hurricane Ophelia downgraded to a tropical storm. We are saddened at the loss of life as severe winds toppled trees on to cars. We are grateful for advanced warning such that the Irish Defense Forces were ready where needed and schools were closed keeping children safe. Be with families in their sudden grief and with those experiencing the deep deep losses in Portugal and Spain as wildfires fanned by the winds of the very same hurricane have brought further catastrophe. Again we pray for the 6,000 firefighters and nations called to come together in these wildfires. Be with the injured and their caregivers as severe burns are treated. Comfort those who are in mourning of the over thirty-two victims including a one-month old infant taken so quickly. Many weep for their cherished lands and fields, and livestock so vulnerable. Comfort them in their mourning. Give them your strength.

And your people in Mogadishu, where the Somali nation again suffers a bombing so despicable and barbaric with over 276 lives destroyed in an instant. Oh Lord, we take-in this news of the over 300 injured and suffering, and families still searching for the missing. We hear of the need for donor blood, the exhausted hospital staff, and how they keep going, as its populace is weeping, weeping, weeping. Help them as they assemble and arise as a people to discern steps for increased stability and safety in their nation. Comfort your people of Somalia in their great sorrow. Bring them peace.

Guide us in our faith. Help us to seek your will.

May we rush to understand one another, to love urgently, and to grow steadily in becoming more tolerant.

From you comes all blessings and life itself.

Amen.

 

Wesley Broadway Methodist Church – podcasts on Access Internet Radio

Recent Access Radio programmes, available via the On Demand Service

Length of each show: approx  30 minutes

To access:  Go to Access Internet Radio, type ‘Wesley Methodist’ in the Programme Box at left top,  and then click on ‘Wesley Methodist Host John Thornley’

12 September: Humour in the hymns of Colin Gibson

29 August: Ariana Tikao, Maori woman musicican

15 August: Bek Coogan, Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra

1 August: No Peace without Justice, No Justice without Peace.

20 June: Natalie Yeoman Yule, Presbyterian singer/songwriter

5 June: Hymns for Pentecost

23 May: Dave Dobbyn

4 April: Hymns for Easter

All enquiries to:  John Thornley 
Or:  62A Albert St, Palmerston North 4414

Bill Wallace’s hymns, songs and chants

william-l-wallaceAccess to Bill Wallace’s hymns and songs

Bill Wallace, one of New Zealand’s most published hymn writers, has just had virtually all of his hymns and other worship resources filed and cross-referenced for easy access and free downloading.

The Center for Progressive Christianity in the USA (Progressive Christianity) has recently placed on their website 5 interlinked thematic indexes of Bill Wallace’s material. They give access to the text, score and sound file of each of the 198 hymns, songs and chants on their website along with Bills 35 children’s songs in the collection Sing Young, Sing Joyfully. Reference is also made to the 36 different hymns which are in volumes 1 and 2 of Singing the Sacred, published by World Library Publications. In addition these indexes are linked with the website of the New Zealand Methodist Church which has additional Boundless Life hymns by Bill, together with Hymns for Aotearoa and the 49 hymns in his The Mystery Telling.

The collections on the American website are:

1) Boundless Life (hymns);
2) Celebrating Mystery (general worship resources, including hymns);
3) Festive Worship (resources for Christian festivals, including hymns);
4) Seasoned Celebration (worship resources with hymns for the seasons of nature); and
5) The Sing Young, Sing Joyfully collection of inclusive songs for children.

seasoned-celebration-logo-198x300The worship resources include over 950 of Bill’s original sayings together with collects, poems, reflections and calls for action.

In addition, Bill’s Sacred Energy/ Mass of the Universe is now featured on the Web in three separate entries of either the text and melody line, or the score or the power point presentation.

To access these Bill’s worship resources, click resources at <progressivechristianity.org>, and then use the Search button (second from right in the blue banner at top of page) – select “keywords”, enter “William L Wallace” into the search engine, then click “Search”..  To access the Sacred Energy/Mass of the Universe files, follow the same procedure with “Sacred Energy” entered into the engine.