Sunday musical offering

August 12, 2018

In honor of the birthday of American poet Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929), here is a performance of “America the Beautiful” by the Portland Choir and Orchestra.


Sunday musical offering

August 5, 2018


Sunday musical offering

July 29, 2018

And let this feeble body fail,
And let it faint or die;
My soul shall quit this mournful vail
And soar to worlds on high.
And I’ll sing hallelujah, and you’ll sing hallelujah,
And we’ll all sing hallelujah when we arrive at home.

Oh, what are all my sufferings here
If Lord thou count me meet,
With that enraptured host appear
And worship at Thy feet.
And I’ll sing hallelujah, and you’ll sing hallelujah,
And we’ll all sing hallelujah when we arrive at home. 

Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away;
But let me find them all again
In that eternal day.
And I’ll sing hallelujah, and you’ll sing hallelujah,
And we’ll all sing hallelujah when we arrive at home. 


Happy birthday, John

July 24, 2018

John Newton was born in London on July 24, 1725. At the age of eleven he went to sea with his father, a ship’s captain. After his father’s retirement, John signed on with a merchant ship sailing to the Mediterranean. He later served a brief and unsuccessful stint in the Royal Navy, after which he joined the crew of a slave ship bound for West Africa. But the ship’s crew found him troublesome, and they left him with an African slave dealer named Amos Clowe, who gave him to his wife as her slave.

In 1748 Newton was rescued by friends of his father and returned to England. He continued his involvement in the slave trade for many years, despite his own experience as a slave, and despite having undergone a religious conversion on one of his voyages. He did not become a true abolitionist until many years after a stroke had forced him to retire from active involvement in the slave trade.

In 1788, Newton published a pamphlet, Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade, in which he described the horrible conditions on the slave ships, and wrote that “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” He joined in the efforts of William Wilberforce and other abolitionists in Parliament to outlaw the slave trade, and he lived to see the passage of the Slave Trade Act on March 25, 1807. Nine months later, he died in London, the city of his birth.

John Newton is best remembered today as the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace.” In 1982, 175 years after his death, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.


Sunday musical offering

July 22, 2018

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam.

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name be the glory. (Psalm 115:1)


Happy birthday, Isaac

July 17, 2018

It’s the birthday of the English nonconformist minister Isaac Watts (1674-1748), author of many of the best-known hymns in the English language. This is his paraphrase of Psalm 23.

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.

When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One 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.

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.


Sunday musical offering

July 15, 2018

Good morning, brother pilgrim,
What, bound for Canaan’s coast?
March you toward Jerusalem,
To join the heavenly host?
Pray, wherefore are you smiling
While tears run down your face?
We soon shall cease from toiling,
And reach that heavenly place.

To Canaan’s coast we’ll hasten,
To join the heavenly throng;
Hark! from the banks of Jordan,
How sweet the pilgrims’ song!
Their Jesus they are viewing,
By faith we see Him too;
We smile and weep and praise Him,
And on our way pursue.

With streams of consolation,
We’re filled as with new wine;
We die to transient pleasures,
And live to things divine.
We sink in holy raptures
While viewing things above;
All glory to my Savior,
My heart is full of love.


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