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Music for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Your precious Word shall guide my way   The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Seek Where You May to Find a Way” (557) proclaims faith in Christ alone as the center of life.  He is the one foundation amid the storms of life.  “We’re justified because He died, The guilty being guiltless.”  Christ is our crown most bright, our joy forever.  His Word guides our way and keeps us “forever in Your presence”—both in this life and until He brings us to life eternal in heaven.

The choir sings stanza 3 in a setting by Daniel Reuning, kantor at Redeemer—Fort Wayne.Georg Weissel (1590-1635) wrote this hymn in 1623 on the occasion of his installation as pastor in Königsberg on the Third Sunday in Advent.  It was published by his friend, Johann Strobäus (1580-1646), kantor in Königsberg, who also had earlier written this tune.  Weissel wrote the text to go with this tune.  Text and tune were published together in the 1642 Festlieder durch das gantze Jahr.

The CHORAL VOLUNTARY is “Arise, Shine, for Thy Light is Come” by Healey Willan (1880-1968).  The text is from Isaiah 60.1 and Psalm 117:

Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Alleluia. Oh, praise the Lord, all ye nations, and laud Him, all ye people! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Alleluia.

    Willan was born in Balham, Surrey, England in 1880, and observed church music as a child at St. George in Beckenham and was a choirboy at St. Saviour’s in Eastbourne.  In these settings, he learned plainsong and Anglican chant.

In 1913, he moved to Canada, where he taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music  and became organist and choirmaster at St. Paul’s Church, where he served until 1920.  From 1921 until his death, he was organist and choirmaster at St. Mary Magdalene’s Church in Toronto.

He is a prolific composer who wrote music for the parishes he served as well as the church at large, including organ compositions, 14 settings of the Mass, choral motets, operas, and orchestral works.  Willan’s works gained use in the Lutheran Church through his association with Walter Buszin (1899-1973) at Concordia Publishing House, where Willan had many works for choir, organ, and congregation published.

Jesus Has Come!   The PRELUDE is a setting of the DISTRIBUTION HYMN, “Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal” (533).  The setting is by John A. Behnke (b. 1953), professor emeritus at Concordia University Wisconsin.  This setting is a partita consisting of four movements:

  1. Theme
  2. Pastorale
  3. Fantasia
  4. Toccata
The lessons are Jonah 1.1–17; Romans 13.8–10; and St. Matthew 8.23–27.
The hymns are: 797 Praise the Almighty
557 Seek Where You May to Find a Way
533 Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal
462 All the Earth With Joy is Sounding
726 Evening and Morning
708 Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart
Prelude: Partita on “Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal” -John Behnke
Choral Voluntary: Arise, Shine, for Thy Light is Come -Healey Willan
Distribution Music: Lord, Let at Last Thine Angels Come -James Engel

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