This Sunday’s Music: XXVII Sunday of Ordinary Time

There is one simple albeit powerful word that captures the spirit of today’s Scripture lessons: faith. Even the smallest bit of faith — our faith in the LORD and His works in our lives — pushes us on, and nothing in our path seems impossible.

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PROCESSIONAL:
WE’VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH

For the past two weeks, we have heard the prophet Amos crying out against the injustices among the allegedly God-filled Jews of his time, calling them to a higher calling of humility and care for the least among us. This week, however, we are introduced to Habakkuk. He is quite unusual as a prophet in that he, like Amos, witnesses injustice but questions the working of God in his fellow Israelites’ lives. Yet, despite questioning the deeds of our LORD, he settles upon the key theme of today’s Scriptures: the power of faith in God’s justice and mercy. In his oracle, he says: “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk‬ ‭2:2-3‬). “Trusting in His holy Word”, “we can’t turn around” because we know that “He’s never failed [us] yet”. Like our Jewish brothers and sisters, who, throughout this past week, have been celebrating their new year and are preparing themselves for their quote-unquote Ash Wednesday, i.e. Yom Kippur (the “Day of Atonement” in Hebrew), “we’ve come this far by faith”.

Text & Music: Albert A. Goodson. Text & Music © 1965, renewed 1993, Manna Music, Inc. / ASCAP (administered by ClearBox Rights).

RESPONSORIAL PSALM:
PSALM 95

In today’s Gospel verse, we hear: “But the word of the LORD endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter‬ ‭1:25‬). In God’s Word can we find refuge during our times of fear, trial, tribulation, anxiety, doubt, etc., but we must first be open to His voice alive in our hearts. “To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My work” (Psalms‬ ‭95:7c-9‬). Unlike our doubting ancestors, who wandered through the desert, we, in our openness to His voice, can rest assured in faith.

Text: Psalm 95. Music: Dylan Wyka © Dylan Wyka, 2016. All rights reserved.

OFFERTORY:
IF YOU JUST HAVE FAITH

There is a lively hymn of unknown authorship from the Caribbean Pentecostal traditions that permeates Hispanic congregations all over the world and that perfectly captures today’s Gospel… well, it actually quotes today’s Gospel from the Book of Luke. In the original lyrics en español, we sing: “‘Si tuvieras fe como un granito de mostaza’, / Eso lo dice el SEÑOR”, which translates to “And the LORD said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed” (Luke‬ ‭17:6‬). Today we at SFDS are premiering a brand-new English translation of this hymn beloved by Spanish speakers and are welcoming it into our own repertoire of bright, soul-lifting music. Furthermore, we now have yet another hymn that we can sing in harmony with our brothers and sisters from our 12:30 PM Latinx community when we come together bilingually. Now that’s the true SFDS spirit, isn’t it? If you feel like you have to dance while processing up with your offering, just let go and do it! With even the smallest bit of faith, we can do anything. “Nothing is impossible!”

Text & Music: Traditional Caribbean; English Translation: Dylan Wyka. Translation © 2019, Dylan Wyka. All rights reserved.

COMMUNION:
I AM THINE

“And the apostles said unto the LORD, Increase our faith” (Luke‬ ‭17:5‬). In the same vein, we sing in today’s Communion hymn: “I am Thine, O LORD; / I have heard Thy voice, / And it told Thy love to me, / But I long to rise / In the arms of faith / And be closer drawn to Thee”. If we open our hearts to the voice of our God, our faith will be increased. If we harden not our hearts to what God has to say to us, we can be drawn nearer to our LORD, to the unconditional love, because of which He, for us, shed His blood on the cross. Let us consecrate ourselves to our Saviour and so rise above the concerns of this world “in the arms of faith”.

Text: Fanny J. Crosby. Music: I AM THINE, 10 7 10 7 with refrain; William H. Doane.

MEDITATION:
CENTER OF MY JOY

St. Paul today encourages us so: “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-7, 13‬). We are blessed with “that good thing” (2 Timothy 1:14), with our trust in the LORD’s new and eternal covenant with us. And so, as we sing in this gospel classic, “all that’s good and perfect comes from You. / You’re the heart of my contentment, / Hope for all I do”. He is many things for us: a compass, a fire, a light, laughter, a hand to hold. Through faith do we persist in our Christian living and, in so doing, continue in our apostolic mission to bring His Word to the world.

Text: Gloria Gaither. Music: Richard Smallwood, William Gaither. Text & Music © 1987, Hanna Street Music and Century Oak / Richwood Music.

RECESSIONAL:
BLESSED BE THE ROCK

In our Responsorial Psalm, we sang: “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psalms‬ ‭95:1‬). The LORD is the solid rock, on which we stand; He is the firm foundation, on which we build the stronghold of our faith. Let us be like Habakkuk and not get caught up in our witnessing the injustices of this world but, rather, give the whole of ourselves to faith. So, let us sing this song that we so love at SFDS! “Hosanna! / Blessed be the Rock, / Blessed be the rock of my salvation!” P.S. While we sing the version of this hymn that comes often from the cross-denominational African-American tradition, take a listen to the original composition and how its words relate even more to today’s Scriptures: https://youtu.be/t5ImzNZyuRQ.

Text & Music: Michael O’Shields © 1981 Universal-MCA Music Publishing obo Sound III Music.