Tag Archives: Lent

Meditating upon Psalm 95 (“O Come, Let Us Sing unto the Lord”) – Handel

The psalm for this Sunday, the Third Sunday in Lent, is an exhortation to sing and praise God for all He is and all that He does. It might seem odd during a penitential season such as Lent to sing this magnificent psalm of praise, but it is a reminder that even in times of great sorrow and contrition we can rejoice in God and thank Him for His boundless… Read More »

Meditating upon Psalm 32 (“You are a hiding place for me”) – Wadsworth

The psalm for this Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, is Psalm 32, the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. This intense setting by American composer Zachary Wadsworth (b. 1983) alternates the English text with the Latin. It begins with verse 3 which relates to us the consequences of remaining silent and keeping our sins to ourselves. While I held my tongue, my bones withered away because of my groaning… Read More »

Meditating upon Psalm 51 (“Create in me a clean heart, O God”) – Handel

Psalm 51, the appointed psalm for Ash Wednesday, is arguably one of the most significant for Christians in that it provides for us an example of deep and heartfelt repentance. The story involves a king who after having an adulterous affair and getting a woman pregnant, gets wrapped up in an elaborate cover-up that leads to deceit, treachery, murder, and despair. The full story is told in 2 Samuel 11-12.… Read More »

Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological

In anticipation of the 40th Annual Peoria “Sing-It-Yourself” Messiah tomorrow on the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org), I would like to offer these thoughts on the work. Arguably the most popular musical work of all time, Handel’s Messiah sets to beautiful and awe-inspiring music Old and New Testament passages that proclaim the salvation story. According to one scholar,  the librettist Charles Jennens (1700-73) “intended Messiah as a statement of faith in… Read More »

Observe Good Friday with the Peoria Bach Festival

Observe Good Friday this year by watching the Peoria Bach Festival 2010 performance of the St. Matthew Passion. You can find it on the Peoria Bach Festival YouTube page by clicking here or following the link below. Although the performance is in German, English subtitles are provided making the story easy to understand and follow. The translation is a literal one so that the original meaning of the German is as… Read More »

Thoughts on “My Song is Love Unknown”

The hymn “My Song is Love Unknown” features a text from the 1600s coupled with a melody composed in the early 1900s by the English composer and church musician John Ireland (1879-1962). This haunting and beautiful melody was apparently composed casually one day over lunch at the suggestion of fellow church musician and composer Geoffrey Shaw (1879-1943). The poet of this hymn, Samuel Crossman (c. 1624-1683), was a pastor who… Read More »