Hands down, this week’s services are the best liturgies of the year. Hands down, the services this week contain the best music of the church year. Worship and music that is not to be missed…for many reasons. The music of Holy Week and Easter, particularly of our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Vigil services, are not only stirring, but works of sheer and simple beauty that bring us deeply into the mysteries of our faith.
The simple beauty of this music is directly tied to bold liturgical action it accompanies, and it is because of this, that this music is powerful and especially moving. From the anthems sung during the washing of the feet to the chanting of Psalm 22 as the altar is stripped on Maundy Thursday, to the Reproaches sung on Good Friday and the four-part singing of the Passion Chorale, to the ancient Exultet chant, psalms, and first Easter song of praise at the Vigil – this music and the liturgies to which it is tied, bring us fully into the story, and make it alive within us. It ushers in the numinous – that which is holy, the presence of divine beauty - and allows us to encounter in a more complete way the mysteries of God’s love for us and the world.
We have all been given a special and profound gift in our Holy Week liturgies and its music. It is a gift that will change us. It is a gift that will help us to know God’s love more fully and spread that love into the world. It is one that I hope we all will take advantage, and allow ourselves to truly experience this profound love that is made present in our time of worship together as we journey through the great story of our salvation.
Soli deo Gloria!
Ben Keseley, Minister of Music
Saint George’s Hymn Project
What we sing our lips, we show forth in our lives
Hymn 657 - Love divine, all loves excelling
Allison Otto, writes:
As pretty much all Episcopal hymns are new to me since attending St. George's, this one has my favorite combination of tune and (especially the last verse) lyrics that evoke an ethereal feeling.
Hymn - Thee I love with all my heart (from Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
Matt Waring, writes:
I don't think it's in the Episcopal hymnal, but this is a great German Reformation hymn with beautiful English-translated lyrics. It has those marvelous harmonies that distinguish all the great Lutheran hymns, and it sounds gorgeous sung a capella.
I sang in the choir at the Lutheran church where I grew up, and we would use the third verse of this hymn as a postlude to evening services during Lent. That verse is a prayer to God that we may abide in Him after our death and behold His glory at the last. When we sang those words in a quiet church as darkness closed around us, I was always deeply moved. For me, this hymn is a reminder of the power of music and hymnody to give voice to the hopes and fears of our hearts and to help us experience God's real presence.
St. George’s Favorite Hymn Project:
We are collecting YOUR favorite hymns. Submit yours today.
Tell us what it is here and why.