Maundy Thursday, 9 April 2020

Today’s devotional reflection is provided by the Angel Choir of First Presbyterian Church of Granville, OH.  This is the choir that was going to come and sing the first weekend in June until COVID-19 disrupted everyone’s plans.  As you’ll see in the reflection below, the choir has desperately missed gathering and rehearsing together.  Instead, they each recorded their parts individually and had a mix-master (truly a time-consuming job!) put them all together.  The song and reflection follows:

Click the ANGEL CHOIR link and enjoy the music!  
The reflection was written by Joy Hire, the Angel Choir’s director (and native of Hollis):
An amazing anthem for Holy Week, “Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain” by Larry Shackley, sung by our own Angel Choir virtually!

Despite Jesus’s Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, his final meal with his disciples and the assembly with Pilate and the council of elders, chief priests and teachers — all events featuring many people — the final walk with the cross was made by him and him alone.

After teaching, ministering to and walking together with those who believed in him, it must have been lonely to make that journey on his own. For the last few weeks, we also have been isolated from family, friends, co-workers and teachers. For our choirs, the inability to sing together has been palpable. The Angel Choir and I were disheartened when we weren’t able to share our Lenten anthem in worship. But knowing that technology can bring people together when they are apart and witnessing the willingness of these fabulous teens to make this happen, we have created a video of The (virtual) Angel Choir singing, “Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain,” by Larry Shackley.

Our young singers recorded a video of themselves singing the anthem at home, then they submitted their “solos” to be synced with the others to create a compelling choral offering that is both poignant and hopeful in these challenging times. In the middle of Holy Week, we often are thinking about the more significant days to come with their integral personalities: Maundy Thursday’s Last Supper, Good Friday’s path to the crucifixion, and finally Easter Sunday’s victory.

On this relatively mundane Wednesday, the eve of all that follows, The Angel Choir invites you to join us, in song, on the walk to Calvary. We are not alone.

LYRICS
Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain, sinners ruined by the Fall; Here a pure and healing fountain flows to you, to me, to all, In a full, perpetual tide, opened when the Savior died, Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain, sinners ruined by the Fall. Come in sorrow and contrition, wounded, powerless and blind; Here the guilty free remission, here the troubled peace may find. Health this fountain will restore; he that drinks shall thirst no more. He that drinks shall live forever; ’tis a soul-renewing flood. God is faithful, God will never break His covenant of blood, Signed when our Redeemer died, sealed when he was glorified.

Prayer (by Kate McIlhagga):
Cross-Carrying Jesus
Cross-carrying Jesus,
as you stagger on your lonely journey
time slips,
worlds reel.

Forgive us that we turn away
embarrassed
uncaring
despairing.

Help us to stay with you through the night
to watch and wait,
to know the depths of your anguish
and to realize that you carry us,
forgive (even) us
and love us.

Forgive us
that we get on with our work unthinking,
that we gamble unknowing with precious things.

Cross-carrying Jesus,
nailed to the tree of life,
forgive us
and grant us your salvation.

Amen

© 2020 The Congregational Church of Hollis, UCC