Excuse Five: The Theological Sidestep

As you may have  noticed, with the odd tangent to the present I’ve been moving through these posts in, more or less, chronological order.  Today I wanted to look at something which occurred in parallel with my school musical machinations.  From my early childhood I had been involved in church music… applying my (dozen or so) accordian lessons to playing for Sunday school, playing piano in (Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday prayer meeting) services with the occasional foray at the organ (again, applying another dozen lessons).  Stimultaneous with my entry into high school came a new minister to our church… one with four children, one of whom you may know.

An adolescent Jane

I soon discovered she was a talented visual artist and possessed a remarkable (to me) musical gift.  She could sing harmony (alto her preferred range) to virtually anything she heard.  It was not, to say the least, a gift found in our small church and proved invaluable when, one Sunday morning, her father announced from the pulpit that the “young people” would be singing something special in the evening service.  The “young people” consisted of about six people, Jane and I being two of them.  I don’t remember the song we chose (probably a classic like Mansion Over the Hilltop) but perform we did and it became something of a regular event subsequently.  (Of course the three males were not displeased to have three females… practice being an excuse to get together)…  After a while it was decided that we should be “named” and were given (as opposed to chose) the name The Lively Stones.  It never seemed to bother Mick Jagger too much, it was biblically derived and it stuck.  So, here are the Stones (rare photo), circa 1969…

The Lively Stones 1969

That’s Jane on the right (longer haired) and me (beardless and sideburned) down at the piano.

I tell you that story in order to tell this one… our mutual involvement in church music began early and, even as I was dabbling in making school musicals in the 1980’s/90’s, we were quite heavily involved in church music (albeit a different church).  It may come as little surprise that the idea of creating a song or two for a church setting arose.  It may be of interest to know that Jane was the catalyst for this undertaking.  In the case of Psalm she composed the melody and lyrics and with me added the harmony she envisioned.  It sounded something like this…

Psalm (from Psalm 40)

I waited patiently for the Lord

He turned to me and heard my cry

Oh He has lifted me out of the pit

On rock has He set my feet

He has put a new song in my mouth-

A hymn of praise to our God.

You are my Help and my Deliverer

You are my Help and my Deliverer

You are my Help and my Deliverer

Oh my God.

Shortly after retiring from teaching, I decided to rerecord several of the songs which I/we had written.  One was Psalm and I arranged it this way…

The truest collaboration for us probably was an Easter song, He Has Risen.  We both had the notion of incorporating the traditional greeting of the early church  (He is risen/He is risen indeed) as a chorus and Jane then set about to write a rather dense (theologically) lyric to fit.  We both contributed to the melody and harmony and the end result (sung at an Easter service) was…

 

He Is Risen

(He Is Risen Indeed)

 

1.Infinite in His power

Infinite in His love

In Him all creation is sustained

Humbled as a man

Obedient to death

By that death our redemption He obtained

 

Chorus

He is risen

He is risen indeed

He is risen

He is risen indeed

God’s full revelation

In Him our salvation

He is risen

He is risen indeed.

 

2.For death could not hold

No grave could contain

Our Lord on that Resurrection morn

God raised from the dead His only Son

By whose sacrifice we are reborn

 

Chorus

 

3.Seated at God’s right hand

And exalted on high

Is God’s Righteousness and Living Word

Ev’ry knee shall bow

Ev’ry tongue confess

Naming Jesus King and Lord of Lords

 

Chorus

 

(bridge)

Worthy is the Lamb- Worthy to receive

All power and honour- All glory and praise

Forever to Him- For all He has done- For all that He is

Alleluia

 

Chorus

 For the sake of brevity, I only included two verses when I recorded the song today for this post (you’ll notice three verses of lyrics).  Meanwhile Jane’s theological wanderings currently take her on another path… she’s at this moment downstairs (I’m in the attic) working away at her thesis on Hope and the Healing of Time in the Theology of Karl Barth (title subject to change… but you get the idea).

Just to add one more connection pictorially, Bill (I mentioned him in an earlier post) was (amongst other things) a good photographer and around this time period he invited Jane and me to visit in order to show us/have us try out his developing equipment and cameras (predigital days).  Jane had  a particular interest in photography and had done some of her own developing work.  As I was digging out the other pics for this post, I came across this one of her taken by Bill that day.

Jane circa 1990

Next post will return us to school musicals… this time the junior division!

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