This Sunday’s Music: Pentecost Sunday
It’s been a long time — 2 months, to be precise — since we delved into our music in this blog series, but what better opportunity for a rebirth of our weekly blog than in celebration of the birth of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Want to learn more about this important solemnity? Check out the article we shared the other day on our social media: http://bit.ly/2WY4DQw. In short, Pentecost’s significance as the birthday of the Church and of the great commission makes it the underrated second-most important feast in the liturgical year — usually overshadowed by Christmas —, so much so that it, like Resurrection Sunday (or “Easter”), boasts its own appointed vigil Mass with an extensive Liturgy of the Word and the addition of a sequence. You may remember the sequence sung on Resurrection Sunday between the Second Reading and the Gospel Acclamation (i.e. the “Hallelujah”). A sequence is a liturgical poem that expands on the central theme of the solemnity and sets the day apart from all others through its special addition, and mind you, Pentecost’s sequence is considered to be among the most beautiful liturgical poems ever composed.
P.S. Last time we chimed in with our weekly blog, we were wearing red in celebration of Passion Sunday, and today, we again deck out the church and ourselves with that fiery color, which represents the burning fire of God’s love. So, how will we showcase this Holy Ghost fire in our music?
You can check out our music on our weekly Youtube playlist below and also by visiting our growing Youtube channel (at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDSd2zUrlJlm4W_wA5RqmQ):
COME, HOLY GHOST
Throughout Eastertide, we have been making extensive use of rousing hymns from the pan-Christian repertoire — such as Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise and All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (Coronation) — and, even more so, the booming sound of the organ in our old choir loft. This Sunday, we employ the brilliance of Lambillotte’s famous paraphrasing of the Latin hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus… but obviously bumped up à la SFDS. We include in this hymn today the oftentimes omitted third verse, which defines a definitively Catholic theological tenet called the “Filioque Clause” (for more info: https://www.catholic.com/tract/filioque).
At the Easter Vigil, we sang as the Psalm response to the First Reading, the famous opening passage from the Book of Genesis. However, this is not your grandmother’s setting of Psalm 104. This upbeat setting by Rawn Harbor — he’s been getting a lot of airtime at SFDS, hasn’t he now? — perfectly captures the exuberance of those Apostles on that first Pentecost. Set ablaze by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, those present were sent out into the world on a mission: to preach the Good News and to share the fire of the faith, renewing the face of the earth.
THE HOLY GHOST
We introduced this hymn back in pre-Lent Ordinary Time, but it is more opportunely making its return to the SFDS repertoire. Rev. Milton Brunson’s rendition sits well “in the pocket” — as we would say in the music biz —, but we will perform it in the rambunctious style that characterizes the famous praise breaks of the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) and other Pentecostal churches. We got nothin’ but the Holy Ghost, and He’s got us moviiiiiiiiin’!
COME, THOU FOUNT OF EV’RY BLESSING
An absolutely gorgeous melody with an equally anointed poetic text, Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing is a staple in the Christian music of all denominations but, interestingly to a lesser degree, in the Roman Catholic Church. Evoking images reminiscent of today’s sequence, Veni, Sante Spiritus, this hymn welcomes the blessings of the Holy Ghost, who not only inspires us but also orders our steps. We sing: “Hither by Thy help I’m come; / And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, / Safely to arrive at home … / Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, / Prone to leave the God I love.” One interesting line is in the second verse: “Here I raise mine Ebenezer.” Meaning in Hebrew “the stone of help”, Eben-Ezer is mentioned in the Books of Samuel and is a monument resurrected in memorial of God’s victory on the battlefield. In Jesus, we are victorious! Let us raise our own Eben-Ezer as a thankful reminder of His mighty deeds in our lives. P.S. Yet another tie to our last blog entry: doesn’t “the stone of help” echo our procession song from Palm Sunday, Blessed Be the Rock? Don’t you love when it comes full circle?
SHOW YOUR GLORY
Show Your Glory is a deeply meditative and inspiring song that hearkens on our Second Reading from Romans 8:8-17. Our reading, however, falls just short of a most appropriate elaboration in verses 18 and 19: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” And so, we beckon in this song by Darnell Davis that the Holy Spirit show us the glory. Through the power of the Paraclete, we are made “whole again.”
SAID I WASN’T GONNA TELL NOBODY
This has quickly become our Eastertide anthem at SFDS. We sang it first at the Easter Vigil and now tie up Eastertide with a nice little Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody bow. But isn’t that the truth? After the events of Good Friday, the Apostles hid in the upper room, fearful of the Romans and the Jews alike. Could they have foreseen themselves only 50 days later traveling the world over to preach the Good News? They went out into the world to accomplish their mission in the example of the Son to make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Trinity and being guided by the wisdom of the Holy Ghost. As the Apostles heard from the glorified Jesus in the Gospel, so we hear today: “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). Let us end this Easter season with those words:
Said I wasn’t gonna tell nobody,
But I couldn’t keep it to myself,
What the LORD has done for me.
You oughta been there
When He saved my soul.
He oughta been there
When He put my name on the roll.
Start walkin’, start talkin’,
Start singin’, start shoutin’
‘Bout what the LORD has done for me!