“She will bear a son,” the angel spoke from a dream to Joseph, “and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” As otherworldly as the announcement was, yet the naming itself is a very human moment, one bound up in the faithful religious practice of the parents, the name itself bound up with Jesus’ own human journey. The naming is also a divine moment, one that binds Jesus’ human identity with God, his name meaning, more or less, GOD saves. We call him Jesus in English by way of the Greek: Yeshuah, possibly Yehoshua. As the child derives his own being from the being of God, so His name derives in part from God’s name: ehyeh asher ehyeh, I am who am; I will be with you as who I am – as the child himself carries all the power and promise of Yahweh’s salvation, so the child’s name carries within it all of the power and the promise of the very Name of God. All that I AM meant to the people who waited for him, for Emmanuel, for God with us, the promise of that name fulfilled in the naming of the child.
His name was called Jesus. It was a common name in his day (not uncommon in our own). But unlike other names, the name was given him by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Yeshuah was not merely a name Joseph and Mary gave to the child, but from all eternity this child was given the name Yeshuah, the child who is both God and man: the God who saves by becoming man. The name signifies not only who he is: the name from the moment of the Incarnation becomes holy because it is a name from the depths of God Himself.
If this strikes us as odd - the idea of the holiness of a NAME – it is probably because what really strikes us as odd is the very idea of the holy, period. We say the word easily enough - we confess one holy Catholic and apostolic Church: but what does the word really mean to us today? We can chalk it up to secularism, as always, but the loss of the holy is especially heightened in a culture of increasing narcissm. In a world where we see ourselves at the center – in all of the ways we do that- our righteous notions (guided and misguided) about human progress, consumption of self-help books, our designation of time off as “me time,” It is in true solitude (not me time) that we encounter the holy.
Holiness can exist only if we believe that we are not the center of being, only if we accept the possibility of something or someone extraordinary beyond our comprehension, only know at least a whiff of fear and trembling at the center of our lives. For the most part, a holy person today someone who does the right thing. The phrase: holier than thou, says it all. That’s the narcism, because holiness is not something we aspire to. The holy is so drastically different from us, outside of us, and wholly other. It’s easy to forget this, but when you remember, it hones your vision. [reference to Starbucks coffee cup on the altar]
In its orgins, the Eucharist was actually perceived as an an action rather than human words and human activity.. an intermingling of divine and human activity. There was a time when people were in awe, and waited and watched for the glimmers into the presence of the Divine that went beyond mere doctrine about the Real Presence. That is pretty much what we witness today on the Feast of the Holy Name: the intermingling of Divine and Human activity in such a way that something as simple as a name becomes sacramental. While the rest of the world hunkers in this morning to keep warm and recover from whatever bombastic New Year’s celebrations happened last night, here, in the quiet solitude of this little chapel we witness the turning of time and the waking of new life as we celebrate the naming of a newborn long ago..as we witness the holiness of that event that still surrounds us because the name from the moment of the Incarnation became holy...and like the Eucharist we celebrate in his name, it comes from the depths of God himself.
See you in church,
Did you know that Ruth has a blog? It's beautiful and you can find it here-
Cleveland Museum of Art
MUSIC NOTES FROM STEPHEN
Themes and subject matter of Lent have inspired artists and musicians over the centuries to create some of the most sublime and moving art. In our Eucharist, the Christ Church Choir has performed two settings of Psalm 42 (selected verses). These two settings are in great contrast to each other in style, mood, and text portrale. The setting by Mendelssohn is like a love song and the other by Herbert Howells is a reaction to the horrors of World War II which was raging during the time of its composition.
At Compline during this lenten season, the Schola Cantorum is performing the Christ adoramus te by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) and the 8-voice Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti (1667-1740). This setting of the Crucifixus is only a portion of Lotti’s Credo in F from the Missa Sancti Christophori. Colla parte instruments include, Oliver Brett, organ; Ben David Aronson, tenor sackbut; Nick Bulgarino, alto sackbut; Lydia Becker, and Aika Ito, violin in ¼ comma meantone at A=465. Follow these links to see and hear these performances:
Christ Church Rochester
Instructor of Sacred Music
Eastman School of Music
This improvisation attempts to reflect the bold themes of the Martin Luther’s text of “Nun comma, der Heiden Heiland” which is based on text of Ambrose of Milan (340-397). All verses of this hymn are not in our hymnal but are listed here as translated by William M. Reynolds.
1 Savior of the nations, come,
virgin's Son, make here Thy home!
Marvel now, O heav'n and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.
2 Not by human flesh and blood,
but the Spirit of our God,
was the Word of God made flesh--
woman's Offspring, pure and fresh.
3 Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
still to be in heav'n enthroned.
4 From the Father forth He came
and returneth to the same,
captive leading death and hell--
high the song of triumph swell!
5 Thou the Father's only Son,
hast o'er sin the vict'ry won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
when shall we its glories see?
6 Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin o'ercloud this light;
ever be our faith thus bright.
7 Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.
(I call it Awesome!)
For more information about concerts and music events, please visit the Christ Church website:
You can also find the billboard of ongoing and special future events by going to the top of this section and clicking on the link "MUSIC GALLERY".
Here are just a few ways in which Christ Church members and friends may participate in our program:
• Becoming an Usher/Candle-lighter for Compline
• Make contributions to our Friends of Music Fund. This fund supports music at Christ Church. It also enables us to provide musical outreach to the Rochester community through music-training programs, concerts, and enables us to enhance our liturgies with music.
• Purchase our various CD recordings for friends and family members as gifts.
• Assist in publicizing music at Christ Church by helping sending emails to the local media
Please contact me if you are interested in participating in any aspect of our music program at Christ Church. Stephen Kennedy, Music Director firstname.lastname@example.org You may also support our music education and enrichment opportunities for young musicians who are dedicating their lives to the field of sacred music by contributing to Christ Church’s "Friends of Music" fund.
Please continue to follow the musical life of our parish by reading the monthly Music Notes and Calendar that are emailed from my address via MailChimp.
-Click on the posters below for a full page view.
The music sound files contained here are from the new CD recordings that have just been released. These recordings are available for purchase by clicking the link below. The music used in this publication is edited.
Other links of interest are: