Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘hymns’

Soli deo Gloria

Soli Deo Gloria – To God alone the glory

Where have you seen this Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria?  We worship weekly at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon with these words in front of us.  Have they blended into the fabric of our worship space?  Where are they?  This Latin phrase is emblazoned in gold near the top of the organ case.  Why is this phrase on the organ case?

It all goes back over 333 years ago to Johann Sebastian Bach, arguably the greatest organist and composer in the history of Western music.  You see, this man of faith believed that music was a “refreshment of spirit”, and a powerful tool for the proclamation of the gospel.

Johann Sebastian routinely marked the tops of his scores with the initials “J.J.” and ended his compositions with the initials, “SDG”.  Let’s take a minute to look at these two sets of initials.

The initials, JJ were for, “Jesu, Juva” or “Jesus, Help”.   This man, with amazing talent and ability, was praying for help from the very beginnings of his creative impulses. His work was underscored by his deep need and faith.  The humility of a great artist towards his Creator God, knowing that he was watched over, heard, and loved.  God was intimately involved in his work (and more importantly ~ in him).   What a powerful testament for everything we do – Jesu, Juva!
Lord, help me make this my prayer.

And what about the letters, SDG?  Ultimately, Bach believed that music brought glory to God.  At the end of most of his scores, Bach bearing witness to his faith and humility, left the initials SDG, the abbreviation for Soli Deo Gloria, or “To God alone be glory”.  What a powerful testament we have so prominently displayed before us in our sanctuary.
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Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with her husband David, media artist, are the creators and performers of Bach and Sons, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — live organ concerts with multi-media.

The Gift of Love

The Gift of Love

a setting of

1 Corinthians 13

Though I may speak with bravest fire,

and have the gift to all inspire,

and have not love, my words are vain,

as sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess,

and striving so my love profess,

but not be given by love within,

the profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control;

our spirits long to be made whole.

Let inward love guide every deed;

by this we worship, and are freed.

 

Text written by Hal Hopson in 1972.

Sung to the tune O WALY WALY, an English tune from the early 1700’s.

Meter 8.8.8.8.

Published in 25 hymnals

Arrangements: organ, choral, handbells, piano/organ, and other instruments

http://www.hymnary.com

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Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with her husband David, media artist, are the creators and performers of Bach and Sons, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Around the World in 80 Minutes — live organ concerts with multi-media.  Dr. Jordan is also a life-long church musician.

 

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.”

Something About Hymns

A religious song or poem in praise of God is a hymn.

A writer of hymns is a hymnist.

A collections of hymns is a hymnal or a hymnary, which may or may not include music.

The music to which a hymn may be sung is a hymn tune.

The singing of hymns is hymnody.

A student of hymnody is a hymnologist.

And, finally the scholarly study of hymns, hymnists, and hymnody is hymnology.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church musician and hymnologist, is also the creator and performer of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea, as a concert organist.

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