An updated version of last year’s Palm Sunday service, with a brand new welcome and brief homily that serves as an introduction, is now available online:
My, my…how painful it is to be apart on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings! The purpose of this post is provide a place for the members of the Lititz Moravian Senior Choir to connect with each other and, perhaps, receive some relief from the struggles associated with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. First, some new hymn texts that are especially appropriate for this time, followed by recordings of favorite selections we’ve sung in the past. Please sing along in confidence that we will be back together again soon to make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Please comment on this post below (or email me) with suggestions for additional repertoire to include. I will also search for more of our own recordings as possible!
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy one and all — trust you are following all the recommended protocols — and I await that joyful day when we shall return to sing praise together to our Loving Lamb Who Has Conquered.
Charlie Best, LMCSC Tenor, sent the following hymn, which can be sung to AURELIA (MBW 511,”The Church’s One Foundation”). This hymn captures the new reality in which we find ourselves, especially how Easter will be celebrated this year.
This Easter celebration is not like ones we’ve known.
We pray in isolation, we sing the hymns alone.
We’re distant from our neighbors— from worship leaders, too.
No flowers grace the chancel to set a festive mood.
No gathered choirs are singing; no banners lead the way.
O God of love and promise, where’s joy this Easter Day?
With sanctuaries empty, may homes become the place
we ponder resurrection and celebrate your grace.
Our joy won’t come from worship that’s in a crowded room
but from the news of women who saw the empty tomb.
Our joy comes from disciples who ran with haste to see—
who heard that Christ is risen, and then, by grace, believed.
In all the grief and suffering, may we remember well:
Christ suffered crucifixion and faced the powers of hell.
Each Easter bears the promise: Christ rose that glorious day!
Now nothing in creation can keep your love away.
We thank you that on Easter, your church is blessed to be
a scattered, faithful body that’s doing ministry.
In homes and in the places of help and healing, too,
we live the Easter message by gladly serving you.
Tune: Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1864
Text: Copyright © 2020 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Here is a PDF of the musical setting:
For those who might like to enjoy a secular piece of music to comfort you in these stressful times, here’s a lovely virtual choir performance of Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” produced by MU’s student-direct vocal jazz ensemble, Chromatic Expansion.
Charlie Best, LMCSC Tenor, also sent another hymn, which can be sung to BEACH SPRING (MBW 688, “Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service”) or NETTLETON (MBW 782, “Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing”)
When we face an unknown future that we can’t imagine yet,
when the closeness we have treasured turns from blessing into threat—
As we miss our friends and loved ones, as we crave community,
may we look, God, in this season, for a whole new way to be.
Jesus faced the lonely desert as a time to look within.
There he met such trial and conflict; there he knew you were with him.
In this time of separation when we miss the life we’ve known,
may we hear your voice proclaiming: “I am here! You’re not alone.”
May we cherish those around us as we never have before.
May we think much less of profit; may we learn what matters more.
May we hear our neighbors’ suffering; may we see our neighbors’ pain.
May we learn new ways of offering life and health and hope again.
God, when illness comes to threaten, and when so much here goes wrong,
may we know this thing for certain— that your love is sure and strong.
You’re beside us in our suffering, and when times are surely tough,
we may face an unknown future, but it’s filled, Lord, with your love.
Text: Copyright © 2020 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: email@example.com New Hymns: http://www.carolynshymns.com. Churches are given permission for free use of this hymn, including in live streaming and posting it online.
And now, some musical selections that are familiar and that we’ve enjoyed through the years!
Warner, Massah: “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven”
Herbst, Johannes: “They Made a Crown of Thorns for Him”
Gilkyson, Eliza: “Requiem” (choral)
Gilkyson, Eliza: “Requiem” (original)
Vaughan Williams, Ralph: “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”
Miles, C. Austin: “In the Garden”
Parton, Dolly: “He’s Everything (Make a Joyful Noise)”
Here’s Katie’s Idea:
“I purchased the sheet music several years ago (40 copies) in hopes that you or I could teach it to the choir. I propose we create a remote learning opportunity! Strategy:
- I sneak into the Choir Room to pick up the music (wearing gloves, covering my tracks sanitizer)
- We enlist a team for ding dong ditch delivery at choir member homes.
- You and Gretchen and I split up parts and make short videos teaching the music. A mix of playing the part on piano, singing the parking, and zeroing in on challenging sections.
- Choir members have a great time learning, listening, and preparing for the day we can come together to rehearse in person.
I think the choir would love it, and if it gives us a way to work together during these strange circumstances”
Please, please, please: let me know your thoughts on this activity and feel free to offer any other ideas of how we can make music together as we must be apart!!
Thank you for all this great material, Jeff! I look forward to hearing people’s thoughts.
Thanks, Katie. Me, too!
Very nicely put together! Thank you! Looking forward to returning to choir when this virus is conquered!
Thank you, Linda. Yeah…I can’t wait until we’re all back together again!! Something is definitely missing from our lives!!! While I’ve always loved our ministry together, it’s amazing how much more I appreciate it now!!
Also, suggestion for distribution of music for Katie’s learning experiment… could the music be posted here or emailed rather than someone going around to distribute?
Hi, Linda. Since it’s a relatively newly published piece of music, think we would have problems with PDF reproduction because of copyright restrictions.
I’m happy to drop copies off in mailboxes to reduce contact if that is helpful!
Thank you so much for putting this together, Jeff. I’m looking forward to more!! And I love Katie’s suggestion if it can be pulled together. It would be such a joy to be able to learn something new while we’re apart then sing it together as a choir when we finally have the opportunity again to sing God’s praises together.