Today I’d like to share with you Jochim Trede at our organ playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chorale Prelude “O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß”. Bach’s “Choralbearbeitung” takes the tune of the Lutheran hymn “O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß” (“O human, bewail your great sin”) and stretches it into long ornamented arcs. It is the virtue of music that the music does exactly what the words prompts us to do: The hymn says “bewail your sin – cry!” and the music bewails and cries.
A three part round with verses taken from Psalm 137: “How shall I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? As for our lyres we hung them up on the willows that grow in that land.” – Music composed by our Director of Music, Yotin Tiewtrakul, to welcome our new chaplain Revd Jules Barnes. We hope that Hamburg will turn from a “strange land” into a new home for her!
In this week we’d like to share with you Dietrich Buxtehude’s “Passacaglia in D Minor” played by our organist Jochim Trede at one of the concerts celebrating our 400th anniversary in 2012.
A “passacaglia” is a musical form in which a short bass line is repeated over and over again while on top of that variations flourish.
Is there something meaningful in your life to which you keep returning to? For some it’s a book they can never get tired to read again and again. For others it’s a special place they like to visit. Maybe you discover that there’s a constant meaningful theme in your life and a lot of variations on that? You can take your time to reflect on that while listening to Buxtehude’s Passacaglia:
Today on Ash Wednesday we enter the Forty Days, the season of Lent. Some ask: “What could I do to make the weeks in which we prepare for the celebration of Easter meaningful?” But you could also put the question in another way: “What can I leave out, so that I can make space for God’s doing in and around me?”
Often it seems really hard work to limit yourself and to leave a space open. When we post something each Wednesday in Lent here we hope that we don’t feed that impulse to add more and more things to your to do list (even if that’s a spiritual to do list!). So here’s a 12 minute organ piece played by Jochim Trede, our organist: Choral III in A Minor by César Franck. If it’s hard for you to “do nothing” start with small steps and listen to a piece of music. It’ll give you a good “excuse” if people raise their eyebrows and think that you’re just sitting around idly while in fact a) you’re listening to music and b) you’re holding a space of waiting and listening (and that’s the ground for prayer!).
Last December the Diocesan Synod discussed a paper on racial justice called “Breathing Life”, one of the authors being our former chaplain, Fr. Leslie Nathaniel. In preparation to the discussion an interview with the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) / People of Colour advisers to Bishop Robert in our diocese was published: The Revd Augustine Nwaekwe, Chaplain in Ostend-Bruges & Knokke, and The Revd Smitha Prasadam, Chaplain at St Alban’s, Copenhagen. You can find the interview here.
Since August 2020 members of our community in Hamburg have met to share and discuss their experiences, with a strong focus to “heal racism and embrace diversity”. In December we started to educate ourselves by watching a series called “Conversations on Race” offered by King’s Cross Church (KXC) in London. If you’d like to jump on board please reach out to Valerie Müller, Madeleine Herring, Monica Emilia or Yotin Tiewtrakul.
Please enjoy these offerings from three of our singing groups in our parish.
The first of these offerings is an alternative version of the English folk carol “Truth from Above”. I made an arrangement in the style of the Sacred Harp singing tradition. Only two verses are presented here and in carol services also only a selection of verses are performed. So it is worth reading through all the eleven verses here: This is the truth sent from above (lyrics).
For these sound files singers had to make a recording of their part at home. They were afterwards edited and put together. Thanks to everyone from the Anglican Choir who contributed with their part of the classic “O little town of Bethlehem”.
Thank you also to the members of the Anglican Consort who perform this lovely carol where a truly extensive list of flowers are presented.
Sometimes people who lead us in the intercessions on Sunday mornings (do you remember?) share a song. So I asked Chioma to simply send me some songs just as a voice message to my phone. These are two songs from her collection:
Thank you, Chioma, for sharing with us not only on Sunday mornings but also during these times!
The words are:
we give you thanks for all you have done
In our lives we are so blessed
Our souls have found rest
O Lord, we give you thanks
Lord, you are more precious than silver
Lord, you are more costly than gold
Lord, you are more beautiful than diamonds
There’s nothing we desire compared with you
You are the Lord / Let your name be glorified (2x)
We give you glory and honour
You are the Lord / Let your name be glorified
We give you all the glory
We worship you, our God
You are worthy to be praised
When the choir started meeting online to say Evening Prayer we figured very quickly that singing via Zoom is not very satisfying. So I asked Pastorin Anne Smets, a good friend of the choir, to lead us in a simple prayer with hand gestures. And so we have been starting our online Evening Prayer with this simple prayer ever since:
“Opening my ears / I listen with my heart / waiting for God”
This morning when updating the page about our online resources I removed (for copyright reasons) the Taizé songs which I recorded for Holy Week. And so I was left with the question what else to put there instead.
You see, it’s the simple things which are very likely to stick. And so of course our little “opening prayer” came up, and very quickly a simple melody:
I hope you all learn it so that you can hum along and pray with your hands when we gather again in the church!
Yotin Tiewtrakul, Choirmaster
We were told already when we were kids: You can pray anywhere. And at the same time people have their favourite spot and also their favourite time to spend some moments in prayer.
When I had a phase where the Daily Office was very important to me I had of course a corner in my bedroom with a candle and an icon. That was my spot for Morning and Evening Prayer. Setting apart a time and a place helped me stay in a healthy rhythm. Now I am rather unstructured. I have suggested reading (or praying or singing) through the psalms. And honestly these days I would just read them lying in bed before sleep. That’s my time and place. And that’s it at the moment.
What about you? Do you have a favourite spot for prayer? Is it at your kitchen table? Is it somewhere in a park? Or do you have a little corner for a candle, or a cross, an icon or some other symbols? Easiest way would be to send in a picture. We’d collect and share them next week!
Yotin Tiewtrakul, Choirmaster
An invitation by our choirmaster Yotin Tiewtrakul to join our Zoom Evening Prayer (every Saturday at 7pm), and a suggestion to read (or say or sing!) through the Psalms from 1 to 150 in a month:
Psalms in a month according to the Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer divides the psalms into sections for the thirty days of the month. So for example for Day 1 the appointed psalms are Psalms 1-5 for Morning Prayer and Psalms 6-8 for Evening Prayer.
- Day 1: Psalms 1-5 / Psalms 6-8
- Day 2: Psalms 9-11 / Psalms 12-14
- Day 3: Psalms 15-17 / Psalm 18
- Day 4: Psalms 19-21 / Psalms 22-23
- Day 5: Psalms 24-26 / Psalms 27-29
- Day 6: Psalms 30-31 / Psalms 32-34
- Day 7: Psalms 35-36 / Psalm 37
- Day 8: Psalms 38-40 / Psalms 41-43
- Day 9: Psalms 44-46 / Psalms 47-49
- Day 10: Psalms 50-52 / Psalms 53-55
- Day 11: Psalms 56-58 / Psalms 59-61
- Day 12: Psalms 62-64 / Psalms 65-67
- Day 13: Psalm 68 / Psalms 69-70
- Day 14: Psalms 71-72 / Psalms 73-74
- Day 15: Psalms 75-77 / Psalm 78
- Day 16: Psalms 79-81 / Psalms 82-85
- Day 17: Psalms 86-88 / Psalm 89
- Day 18: Psalms 90-92 / Psalms 93-94
- Day 19: Psalms 95-97 / Psalms 98-101
- Day 20: Psalms 102-103 / Psalm 104
- Day 21: Psalm 105 / Psalm 106
- Day 22: Psalm 107 / Psalms 108-109
- Day 23: Psalms 110-113 / Psalms 114-115
- Day 24: Psalms 116-118 / Psalm 119 (verses 1-32)
- Day 25: Psalm 119 (verses 33-72) / Psalm 119 (verses 73-104)
- Day 26: Psalm 119 (verses 105-144) / Psalm 119 (verses 145-176)
- Day 27: Psalms 120-125 / Psalms 126-131
- Day 28: Psalms 132-135 / Psalms 136-138
- Day 29: Psalms 139-141 / Psalms 142-143
- Day 30: Psalms 144-146 / Psalms 147-150
Maybe you’d like to just jump in and follow this ancient practice? If you just pick one time during the day to read (or say or sing) the appointed psalms you can of course do Psalms 1-8 on the first day etc. What to do when a month has 31 days? How about reciting one or two of your favourites? Those which really spoke to you?