Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘hymn tunes’

God’s Mighty Power

Silver CreekThe Second Lesson for our service on September 27th, was James 5:13-16, known in some commentaries as the Prayer of Faith. This compelling scripture was followed by our Sequence Hymn, “If thou but trust in God to guide thee.” Dare we call this hymn the Hymn of Faith? Observing the distinct parallels between the scripture and the hymn, the words of James were illuminated and brought to life by our singing of this beloved hymn.

The hymn and hymn tune were written and composed by Georg Neumark in 1621 following a particularly trying time in his life. As he writes, “Which good fortune coming suddenly, and as if fallen from heaven, greatly rejoiced me, and on that very day I composed to the honour of my beloved Lord the here and there well-known hymn ‘Wer nur den lieben Gott least walten’; and had certainly cause enough to thank the Divine compassion for such unlooked for grace shown to me.”

Neumark’s hymn text exhorts us “Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving.” James asks and answers the questions, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

Neumark continues, “And trust his word, though undeserving; thou yet shalt find it true for thee; God never yet forsook in need the soul that trusted him indeed.” Our scripture tells us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Our service continued on that Sunday morning with the sermon, the Eucharist, another hymn, and finally the announcements. At the end of the usual round of announcements, a new member stood with what at first appeared to be tears of fear and trembling to inform the congregation of something overwhelming. As it happened, those tears were tears of joy and thanksgiving and her announcement was not one of overwhelming sadness, but a testimony to faith, to the might of prayer, and to God’s grace, love, and healing power.

As James says in Chapter 5, verse 15 “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.”

As Neumark put into poetry those words of scripture,

“If thou but trust in God to guide thee, and hope in him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength whate’er betide thee, and bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love builds on a rock that nought can move.”

How Can You Help Support Excellence in Church Music?

Contact me at jeannine@promotionmusic.org to learn how you can support the St. Bede Episcopal Church Hymn-a-Thon!

Small churches everywhere are struggling — struggling with a downturn of membership and the resulting downturn in financial resources.  However, in the midst of this struggle there are those churches that are holding to a high standard of excellence in worship –and in excellence in the music of worship.

I hold up as an example, the very small parish church of St. Bede Episcopal in Forest Grove, Oregon.  This church with its shrinking membership and resulting budget crisis made a bold decision to keep their professional organist and choir director.  Difficult decision?  Yes!

The musicians of the church numbering fewer than a dozen, have decided to implement fund-raisers during the year– not to take their choir on a European tour– but to make sure their parish church continues with excellence in its worship and music.

Their first fund-raiser is a barn-burner of a project for a dozen souls.  You see they have decided to sing their way through the Episcopal Hymnal — all 720 hymns — in one day!  March 2, 2014.  That is a lot of singing and playing for this intrepid group, but they are enthused and ready to sing. 

The fund-raising part?  Oh yes!  You can contribute to their project by pledging ten cents/hymn sung — or even a dollar/hymn sung.  Or you can come sing with us — yes, I am the organist and choir director of this hard-working group.   Or you can request that we sing ALL the verses of your favorite hymn during our hymn concert hour.

Want to join the project?  Just drop me a note at jeannine@promotionmusic.org and I’m sure we can find a way that you can participate whether you are in Forest Grove, Oregon or Dornheim, Germany.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Jeannine Jordan, Director of Music, St. Bede Episcopal Church

HYMN-A-THON  Sunday, March 2, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Holy Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.  St. Bede Episcopal Church, 1609 Elm Street, Forest Grove, Oregon. Come when you can, leave when you must. Please join us.


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