“Scattering the Proud”
When Mary, mother of Jesus, found that she was with child, scripture ascribes some powerful words to her. Mary sings of a time when the proud will fall because of the conceit of their hearts. In these ancient words we find hope for our future. The promise of scripture has always been that justice will reign – some day. We must never lose hope.
This Sunday, all of the music during worship will be seasonal early music from the middle ages to the baroque era. Sarah Matthews Catherine Rose and Ruth Rose, on bamboo pipes, will play two renaissance carols: Michael Praetorius’ arrangement of “Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her” and Millicent Sheppard’s arrangement of “Josef Liebe, Josef Mein.” Elizabeth Walsh will sing the lovely renaissance carol “Lute Book Lullaby” (also know as “Sweet was the Song”) with harpsichord and bamboo pipes accompaniment. The sanctuary choir will sing Judith Otten’s bold arrangement of the medieval carol “Nova, Nova,” with soloists Austin Burns and Julia Jaffe. The choir will also sing Michael Praetorius’ serene setting of the renaissance carol “Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming.” For the postlude, Rip Jackson will play Handel’s “Adagio” (from Sonata in F Major, G. 175) on his French double-manual harpsichord (Phillip Tyre 1991 replica of a Taskin 1720 instrument).
“Lo, How a Rose” is a beautiful Renaissance anthem sung during Advent in many church services and concerts around the world. The original text, “Es ist ein Rose entsprungen,” was penned by an anonymous author expressing fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1. The piece first appeared in print in the late 16th century. The hymn has been used by both Catholics and Protestants, with the focus of the song being Mary or Jesus. In addition, there have been numerous versions of the hymn, with varying texts and lengths. The tune most familiar today appeared in the Speyer Hymnal (printed in Cologne in 1599), and the familiar harmonization was written by German composer Michael Praetorius in 1609. The English translation “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” was written by Theodore Baker in 1894. The translation of the texts (adapted by Rip Jackson) is below:
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse’s lineage coming as those of old have sung. It came, a floweret bright, Amid the cold of winter, when half spent was the night. As prophets old foretold it, the Rose I have in mind, With reverence we behold it, from the-sweet parent kind. To show light’s love aright, a gift to us of wisdom when half spent was the night. O ancient sacred spirit who feeds our hu-man kind. O great-and noble glory, which does our oneness find, Bring us at length we pray to bright courts of the ages, and to the endless day.
Rev. Anne Mason, Worship Leader