This Sunday marks our midway through Lent.
Last week, I had the opportunity to take a continuing education course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The course certified me as a Wilderness First Responder. By NOLSs standards, I am now prepared to assess and treat wounds and medical incidents in the wilderness. These are good skills to have, though I hope I never have to use them.
Our Psalm this Sunday is one of our most beloved; Psalm 23.
It speaks of walking through the wilderness of life. And the First Responder is the Lord.
If you are hurting, if you are in need, if you are struggling, know that the Lord is here and by your side.
If you are tired, if you are angry, if you are weak, know that the Lord revives the soul.
If you are hungry, know that Lord spreads a banquet table before you.
The path through life is not an easy one. But we are blessed to know the Lord Jesus, and to know one another.
Care for each other. Respond to one another. We can't do this alone.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
Dominus regit me
1. The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
3. He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
4. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5. You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
6. Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Music with Dan Romero
Laetare Sunday and Psalm 23
This Sunday is called Laetare Sunday. This, the fourth Sunday of Lent, marks halfway through Lent. The name "Laetare" comes from the first word of the Gregorian Chant Introit for this day, which means rejoice. We will sing an English translation of this introit on Sunday.
The 23rd psalm is the psalm for this Sunday. The music will include several versions of it. These settings include an arrangement of a southern American tune sung by John Burrows, an Anglican Chant by C. Hylton Stewart, and the beloved hymn, "The King of love my shepherd is." Each of these settings is sung according to a different translation. Here are several different translations of the beloved Psalm. I find it interesting how these different translations add nuance and even change the meaning of the text.
King James Version
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; Name's sake, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Coverdale Version (traditionally used in older versions of the BCP)
The Lord is my shepherd : therefore can I lack nothing. He shall feed me in a green pasture : and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. He shall convert my soul : and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for his Name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me. Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full. But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life : and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Metrical Paraphrase of Psalm 23 by Isaac Watts
1. My Shepherd will supply my need: Jehovah is His Name; In pastures fresh He makes me feed, Beside the living stream. He brings my wandering spirit back When I forsake His ways, And leads me, for His mercy's sake, In paths of truth and grace.
2. When I walk through the shades of death, Thy presence is my stay; A word of Thy supporting breath Drives all my fears away. Thy hand, in sight of all my foes, Doth still my table spread; My cup with blessings overflows, Thine oil anoints my head.
3. The sure provisions of my God Attend me all my days; O may Thy house be my abode, And all my work be praise! There would I find a settled rest, While others go and come; No more a stranger, nor a guest, But like a child at home.
Metrical Paraphrase of Psalm 23 by Henry Williams Baker
1. The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his, and he is mine for ever.
2. Where streams of living water flow, my ransomed soul he leadeth,
and where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.
3. Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me,
and on his shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.
4. In death's dark vale I fear no ill with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still, thy cross before to guide me.
5. Thou spread'st a table in my sight; thy unction grace bestoweth;
and oh, what transport of delight from thy pure chalice floweth!
6. And so through all the length of days thy goodness faileth never:
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise within thy house for ever.
Please join us for Choral Evensong, this Sunday, March 26, at 4:30 p.m.
According to our usual observance, we will have Choral Evensong for the last Sunday of the month, which is Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Choral Evensong is the traditional sung version of Anglican Evening Prayer, sung in the English Cathedral tradition. The parish choir prepares a significant amount of choral music for these services, which provides for an especially beautiful and artistic form of worship. The music will be especially fitting for Lent. Please join us for this additional opportunity for prayer during Lent!
I will be giving an organ recital on Wednesday, March 29, 12:15 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, 1820 15th Street, Boulder. This program that will feature a works by Bach, Durufle, Gerre Hancock, and Jean Langlais.
The Choir, in Concert, April 25, 2017
The Choir, an alternative Christian rock band will be in concert here at Ascension on the evening of April 25. Tickets are $20 for the 7:30 p.m. show, VIP tickets are available for a 6:00 p.m. pre-show performance and reception. Tickets are available on The Choir's website: thechoir.net.