Archive for April, 2014

Pachelbel’s Enigma

Two very famous pieces of music set up a conundrum this afternoon. Ursula sat at the piano and started out in Pachelbel’s Canon. “D major?”, I asked as I heard a mellifluous E flat major-based sequence of the famous canonic chords. She was playing in D major. Pachelbel worked up his complex variations and then settled back and faded away. Ursula followed up with a piece of Elgar – his own piano arrangement of Nimrod from the Enigma Variations. I might have expected, based on experience, that this E flat major piece, juxtaposed to the Pachelbel Canon in D (but heard in E flat) ought to have sounded a semitone up in E major. But no, – Nimrod is, I think, so well rooted in its original E flat in my psyche that neither the Canon in D (clearly less well rooted) nor my new tonality can budge it. Long may this situation last!

Palm Sunday 2014

Here is the content of the Palm Sunday All Age Service we put together for today. It tells the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the start of Passion week from the perspectives of a number of onlookers.

At the end, I have put the words of a couple of the songs that I adapted for the occasion.

We sang the traditional All Glory, Praise and Honour (well, the traditional has ‘Laud’ for ‘Praise’ but not a word modern children use a lot….) to the tune for ‘Stand up, Standup  for Jesus’ and it worked rather well as we paraded round the church.

Introduction – A story

We all like stories:

Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”

‘The whole story’

Matthew 21 verses 1 to 11

Jesus and the disciples were now nearing Jerusalem; and when they reached a place called Bethphage at the Mount of olives, Jesus sent to disciples and told them: “go to the village across there, where you’ll straightaway find a donkey tied up with her foal ; you must untie them, and then bring them to me. If anyone speaks to you, say, “our master needs these two donkeys”; and he will immediately let you take them with you.” This was to fulfil the prophecy which says, “tell the daughter of Zion, “here is your King, who comes to you in gentleness, riding on a donkey, riding on the foal of a beast of burden.””

The disciples went and did as Jesus told them, and brought the donkey and her foal; they put their cloaks on them and Jesus got on to the donkey. Crowds of people carpeted the road with their cloaks, and some cut branches from the palm trees to spread in his path. In the crowd went ahead and the others that came behind and raised the shout; “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem the whole city went wild with excitement. “Who is this?” people asked, and the crowd replied, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Crowd’s Story & Procession with palms

Psalm 24:7-10

Voice 1

Lift up your heads, you gates,

lift yourselves up, you everlasting doors,

that the King of Glory may come in.

Voice 2

Who is the King of Glory?

Voice 1

The Lord strong and mighty,

the Lord mighty in battle.

Voice 2

Lift up your heads, you gates,

lift them up, you everlasting doors,

that the King of Glory may come in.

Voice 2

Who then is the King of Glory?

Voice 1

The King of Glory is the Lord of hosts.

Songs:              Lift up your Heads to the coming King

                        You are the King of Glory (Hosanna to the Son of David)

Commentary: The crowd were excited, seeing someone they saw as a Saviour; somone to remove the Roman and religious shackles that lived for . Jesus came to bring this and more; the procession and ‘triumph’ was not the whole story.

John 12 verses 12 to 13

The next day the great body of pilgrims who had come to the festival, hearing that Jesus had entered Jerusalem, took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the king of Israel!”

Matthew 21 verse 11

When Jesus entered Jerusalem the whole city went wild with excitement.

Songs:             All glory, Praise and Honour

                        Bring to the King (one of my own compositions)

The Pharisees’ story

John 11 verses 45 to 49

Now many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and Martha had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, put their faith in him. But some of them went off to the Pharisees and reported what he had done.

So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a meeting of the council. “What action will be taken?” they said. “This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone like this the whole population will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and sweep away our temple and our nation.”

John 12 verses 17 to 19

The people who were present when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead told what they has seen and heard. That is why the crowd went to meet him; they had heard of this sign that he had performed.

The Pharisees said to one another, (2nd voice) “You see you are doing no good at all; why, all the world has gone after him!”

Commentary: Opposition rises as Jesus true power over people for good and his implacable opposition to human power structures is felt.

Luke 19 verses 39 to 40

Some Pharisees who were in the crowd said to him, “Master, reprimand your disciples.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my disciples were to keep quiet the stones of the road would shout aloud.”

The Story of the Stones in the road

Luke 19 verses 37 to 40

And now, as Jesus approached the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole company of his disciples in their joy began to sing aloud the praises of God for all the great things that they had seen: “Blessings on him who comes as king in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven; Glory to highest heaven!”

Some Pharisees who were in the crowd said to him, “Master, reprimand your disciples.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my disciples were to keep quiet the stones of the road would shout aloud.”

Rock’s song

I am igneous

I am igneous rock.

Am I ig-noble?

No, no – I am noble.

The King of the universe

seated on a donkey

walking over me,

he fashioned me from hot, molten, liquid lava;

moved me, shaped me,

made me.

Rock to stone; stone to grain of sand. I have a life, too.

If you, whom he also made in his love,

are not moved to praise Him,

I will sing out my song of stone to the Saviour.

Song: For the stones will burst into cheers

The disciples’ story

Matthew 20 verses 17 to 19

Jesus was travelling towards Jerusalem, and on the way he took the 12 disciples aside and said to them, “We’re now going to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given up to the chief priests and the doctors of the law; they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Roman occupiers of Israel, to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and on the third day he would be raised to life again.”

Luke 18 verses 34

The disciples understood nothing all this; they did not grasp what Jesus was talking about; its meaning was hidden from them.

Zechariah 9 verse 9

(Voice 1) Rejoice, (Voice 2) rejoice, daughter of Zion,

(Voice 1) shout aloud, daughter of Jerusalem;

For, see, your King is coming to you,

(Voice 2) his cause has been won, his victory gained, (short pause)

humble and mounted on a donkey,

(Voice 1) on a foal, the young of female donkey.

Commentary: Confused disciples. Rejoicing, mystified, making connections with God’s overall plan all at the same time. We feel like that sometimes. Keep going!

Song: O rejoice, O you daughters of Zion (Give me oil in my lamp – Sing Hosanna) – see words below

The donkey’s story

John 12 versus 14

Jesus found a donkey and got on to it.

Tiggers don’t climb trees

an excerpt from the story by A A Milne – a story about the donkey’s backs:

In which we find that Tigger and Roo are stuck up one of the Six Pine Trees. Christopher Robin, Pooh Bear, Piglet and the donkey Eeyore are working out how to get Tigger and Roo down from the tree.

“Oh, Christopher Robin,” began Pooh.

“And Eeyore,” said Eeyore.

“Tigger and Roo are right up the Six Pine Trees, and they can’t get down, and –”

“and I was just saying,” put in Piglet, “that if only Christopher Robin –”

and Eeyore –”

“If only you were here, then we could think of something to do.”

Christopher Robin looked up at Tigger and Roo, and tried to think of something.

I thought,” said Piglet earnestly, “that if Eeyore stood at the bottom of the tree, and if Pooh stood on Eeyore’s back, and if I stood on Pooh’s shoulders –”

“And if Eeyore’s back snapped suddenly, then we can all laugh. Ha ha! Amusing in a quiet way,” said Eeyore, “but not really helpful.”

“Well,” said Piglet meekly, “I thought –”

“Would it break your back, Eeyore?” asked Pooh, very much surprised.

“That’s what would be so interesting, Pooh. Not being quite sure till afterwards.”

Pooh said “oh!” and they all began to think again.

Song: Little donkey (see words adapted to Palm Sunday for this well-known children’s carol below)

The Donkey

By G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked

And figs grew upon thorn,

Some moment when the moon was blood

Then surely I was born.

 

With monstrous head and sickening cry

And ears like errant wings,

The devil’s walking parody

On all four-footed things.

 

The tattered outlaw of the earth,

Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

I keep my secret still.

 

Fools! For I also had my hour;

One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

And palms before my feet.

Commentary: The despised creature was at the centre of this day, put there by Jesus.

Jesus’s story

Matthew 20 verses 17 to 19

Jesus was travelling towards Jerusalem, and on the way he took the 12 disciples aside and said to them, “We’re now going to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given up to the chief priests and the doctors of the law; they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Roman occupiers of Israel, to be mocked and flogged and crucified…….”

Commentary: Jesus could see right through the ‘triumphal entry’. He did not know exactly how much pain he would have to go through to complete his mission but as a human, and what we know from the Garden of Gethsemane, this was greatly on his mind and heart.

Fling wide the gates (words from The Crucifixion by John Stainer)

(Voice 1) Fling wide the gates!

(Voice 2) Fling wide the gates!

(Voice 1) Fling wide the gates, for the Saviour waits to tread his royal way:

He has come from above, in his power and love, to die on this Passion day.

(Voice 2) Fling wide the gates!

(Voice 1) Fling wide the gates!

(Voice 2) Fling wide the gates, for the Saviour waits to tread his royal way:

He has come from above, in his power and love, to die on this Passion day.

(Voice 1) His cross is the sign of a love divine,

his trial is the thorn-wreath of woe,

(Voice 2) he bears his load on the sorrowful road

and bends ‘neath the burden low.

(Together) He has come from above his power and love

to die on this Passion day,

(slower and softer) to die on this Passion day.

Procession: Slow March behind the cross (contrast to the earlier happy procession)

Music: Stainer Processional to Calvary from The Crucifixion

Commentary: But on this side of the Resurrection and through the work of the Holy Spirit, we can know that Salvation has truly come. Hosanna to the Son of David!

Songs:             Salvation belongs to our God

                        My Jesus, My Saviour (adjusted words)

Blessing

Oh Rejoice, O you daughters of Zion (Zech 9:9 to the tune of ‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning’)

Oh rejoice, O you daughters of Zion

Shout aloud; let your praises ring:

Riding humbly upon a donkey

Here is coming your victorious King

 

Sing Hosanna, Sing Hosanna

Sing Hosanna to the King of kings.

Sing Hosanna, Sing Hosanna

Sing Hosanna to the King.

 

Oh Jerusalem’s daughters be happy –

On a foal see your Saviour come.

To your city is coming a Saviour.

He has triumphed and the victory won.

 

Sing Hosanna, Sing Hosanna

Sing Hosanna to the King of kings.

Sing Hosanna, Sing Hosanna

Sing Hosanna to the King.

Little Donkey (the favourite Christmas song with Palm Sunday words)

Little donkey, little donkey

Tethered by a door;

Little donkey, little donkey,

Tell me what’s in store.

Here are coming two disciples

Doing what they’re told,

Saying that the master needs you;

Lead you on the road

Hear all the people shout,

‘Blessed is He! Blessed is He!’

Waving their palms about –

‘Blessed is He! Blessed is He!’

 

Little donkey, little donkey

Walk the royal road

Hold your head high, little donkey,

With your precious load.

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