Corona Virus forces a rest from Church

The Corona virus Covid-19 is giving me a mandatory rest.  Church services throughout the nation are now suspended! 

Please let me explain, normally on a Sunday I attend church but because of the Coronavirus church meetings have been suspended for an indefinite period.  Therefore,  in a similar way to  thousands if not millions of others I cannot be there.  For this reason, as a small compensation,  I have put together this mini service based on some of the resources from the Church of Scotland. That is for today – I am sharing It here.  The musical bits in this case is a link to an online resource

As a result,  I am not going to physically attend but share part of a virtual service written by the Church of Scotland on the resources section of their website and I hope you enjoy.

This is basically 5 minutes of gems for Sunday 22nd March 2020 by Rev Jock Stein.  He is a retired Church of Scotland Minister, formerly of Tulliallan and Kincardine Church.

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd.see the story from the Bible here http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=442991419 

Introduction…

This bit may be obvious to most people but to be clear the Bible has two main sections the Old Testament (OT) written about the times before the birth of Jesus Christ.  On the other hand, the second section, that is the New Testament (NT) refers to the time from that is immediately prior to the birth of Christ, his life and many events afterwards. Each section has many books that make up the Word of God (The Holy Bible). Therefore you will see mention of Psalm and 2 Chronicles in the text below.  These are two books in the old testament. The numbers after the book name refer to the chapter and then (if present) the verse or verses to read.

Here I have produced thoughts about three verses, 3, 4 and 6 for the Sunday 22nd March 2020.  These are those that have been written by Rev Jock Stein. He is a retired Church of Scotland Minister.  Content is via… Church of Scotland Resources for worship for services on Sunday 22nd March 2020 for reference see https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/62986/22-March-4-Sunday-of-Lent.pdf

Verse 3

The Old Testament (OT) has no separate word for ‘soul’ as we do in English so that verse 3 “he restores my soul” is well translated as “he restores my life”. But by the same token, the Hebrew ‘life’ means inner life and outer life together, just as the greeting ‘Shalom’ wishes a person peace in family, community, work and in spirit. 

Verse 4.  

So “the darkest valley” in verse 4 includes death but is not only about that, and the “rod and staff” (think of Moses and Aaron) are both literal supports and symbols of help. 

Until the 19th century, it was assumed that David wrote the psalms attributed to him. We now know that the headings were added later on when the psalms were combined into what we would call a ‘hymn-book’, and in any case, the Hebrew heading can mean “for David” or “thinking of David” as well as “by David” – which is why some modern versions just put “David’s”. But whether or not he actually wrote the Psalm, it makes very good sense to think of David – he was a shepherd boy, he had enemies, he was often in danger of death, and he loved to be close to the Lord his God. The headings were added for a reason, so we should not hesitate to make connections. 

Verse 6.

John Goldingay (Editorial note: Born 20 June 1942 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, is a British Old Testament scholar and translator and Anglican clergyman) translates verse 6 as “Good and commitment will certainly chase me all the days of my life” – worth pondering when we are urging (pestering?) people to be good and be committed. 

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord” is much more than a desire to ‘go to church’, just as Psalm 27:4 is not just about being in church and asking the minister questions. For one thing, the ‘house’ or ‘temple of the Lord’ is also in the heavens (Psalm 78:69 http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=451574732). When Solomon built the temple (2 Chronicles 3:5 http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=451574652 ), the word translated as ‘nave’ is literally ‘the big room,’ which was the expression ancient peoples used for ‘God’s heavenly palace’. So it’s about living in God’s presence, which is everywhere in the universe.

I have written the text below until the prayers at the end.  The first prayer is by Rev Jock Stein.

Therefore, it is now time to sing a hymn (Song)

Hymn (That you may sing along to)

The Lord’s my Shepherd to the tune Crimond https://youtu.be/P4TKvnYafes.

At some point I need to rearrange this tune, and when I do I will post the arrangement here.

As you can see the words in the Bible have been put in verse and set to music. Below for the record are the words to the hymn (song) ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’.

1 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;

he makes me down to lie

in pastures green; he leadeth me

the quiet waters by.

2 My soul he doth restore again,

and me to walk doth make

within the paths of righteousness,

e’en for his own name’s sake.

3 Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,

yet will I fear none ill,

for thou art with me; and thy rod

and staff me comfort still.

4 My table thou hast furnished

in presence of my foes;

my head thou dost with oil anoint,

and my cup overflows.

5 Goodness and mercy all my life

shall surely follow me;

and in God’s house forevermore

my dwelling place shall be.

Prayer – by Rev Jock Stein. – I have suggested a change in brackets in the second line as we are not gathered, that is because of the Coronavirus Covid 19 guidelines.  Therefore please feel free to use here instead of gathered.

You can either read this quietly or aloud – either way God will hear it.

Dear God, Saviour and Shepherd of Your people, 

we are gathered (here) to praise You, 

to encourage one another, 

and to seek Your will for our lives, 

for our church, and for our world. 

Open our eyes to the traffic between heaven and earth, 

and to the wonder of Your call to live in the light, 

through Him who is the light of the world, 

even Jesus Christ, 

Amen

Standard closing prayer for the end of any service…

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

and the love of God, 

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, 

now and evermore. Amen.

Psalm 67 – Lord Bless and pity us (Paraphrase from the Scottish Psalter)

Psalm 67:  A paraphrase – Lord Bless and pity us  (Church Hymnary 4 – CH4 45)
Set to tune =  CH4 594 Diademata (Crown him with many crowns)
by Charles Litster

  1. Lord, bless and pity us,
    shine on us with your face:

    that your way may be known on earth,
    all nations know your grace.
    Let people praise you, Lord;
    let all the people praise.
    Oh, let the nations all be glad,
    in songs their voices raise:
  2. You’ll justly people judge,
    on earth rule nations all.
    Let people praise you, Lord; let them
    praise you, both great and small.
    The earth her fruit shall yield,
    our God shall blessing send.
    God shall us bless; all shall him fear
    unto earth’s utmost end.

The earth for ever is the Lord’s (Psalm 24)

The earth for ever is the Lord’s (Psalm 24)
Hymn Written by Isaac Watts 17 July 1674 to 25 November 1748
Tune Amazing Grace

The earth for ever is the Lord’s,
With Adam’s num’rous race;
He raised its arches o’er the floods,
And built it on the seas.

But who among the sons of men
May visit thine abode?
He that has hands from mischief clean,
Whose heart is right with God.

This is the man may rise and take
The blessings of his grace;
This is the lot of those that seek
The God of Jacob’s face.

Now let our souls’ immortal powers
To meet the Lord prepare,
Lift up their everlasting doors,
The King of glory’s near.

The King of glory! who can tell
The wonders of his might?
He rules the nations; but to dwell
With saints is his delight

Which clock in Scotland shows 61 minutes on its dial?

Crimond, Kirk Clock Note there are 6 minutes between XI and XII

The answer, of course, is Crimond.  That is a village in the northeast of Scotland.  It is nine miles northwest of Peterhead and just over two miles from the coast.

The challenge I have is not with the time but the tune. 

Not many people know that the tunes to hymns (songs) are named after the community and/or Kirk (Church) that they were written in. 

The Late Rev Bob White did say in his sermons that these tunes were pop songs of the day.  Ever since the age of ten, I have wanted to make Crimond a pop song.  I must admit that this was much to the annoyance of my classically trained music teacher.  From memory, I think her reaction was…

“If you really must Charles, but that is not as it is written and you have an exam to pass”

So what is all the fuss about one tune? Simply it was written by Jessie Seymour Irvine (born 1836 – died 1887).  She was the daughter of a Church of Scotland minister who served at Dunottar, Peterhead, and Crimond, Scotland.  Jessie is referred to by Ian Campbell Bradley in his 1997 book Abide with Me. 

The crunch is that the song ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ is set to that tune.  As such it is well known and often sung at funerals and weddings.  Words were written by Francis Rous, who was born at Halton, Cornwall, in 1579, and educated at Oxford. His career the legal profession, and M.P.   He took the words from the Bible – Psalm 23 and set it to verse.  Here are the lyrics…

Tune Cramond CH4 14 (1) and (2)

1 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.

2 My soul, he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e’en for his own name’s sake.

3 Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill,
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.

4 My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.

5 Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God’s house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.

I now have an introduction, but the challenge is a new arrangement of Crimond.   

Meanwhile, there are these other tunes that you can use

For a modern rendition but not to the words above try Mission Praise 1008.

* CH4 Church of Scotland Hymnary 4th Edition

 

 

Songs for Psalm 26

Finding something appropriate for Psalm 26 was a challenge but after some research I did it.  First of all, let us start with the text…

Psalm 26

Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.

I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:

10 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

12 My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord.

For this I found the following possible songs…

Hymn CH4 Take this Moment  Verse 1 for para 8. John L. Bell (b. 1949) and  Graham Maule (b. 1958)    See… https://hymnary.org/hymn/CH4/501

But in the end, I settled on ‘Oh for a closer walk with God’, admittedly not a complete fit but a well-known choice.   

if you are searching for this in hymn books it can also appear as “O for a closer walk with God”

Hymn MP 494 Oh for a closer walk with God tune = (Beatitido) see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxZesDYGd0Y

But the version I used was CH4 552  Oh for a closer walk with God https://hymnary.org/hymn/CH4/552a

Other possibilities