“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” JOHN 15:12-13
Christ’s love for us is beyond comprehension. That love is the focal point of this Palm Sunday’s cantata “My Song Is Love Unknown” based on the 17th Century hymn by Samuel Crossman. The language style of this great hymn may be somewhat awkward to our modern ear, but the beauty of these words and melody shine on.
“My song is love unknown, My Savior’s love to me, Love to the loveless shown, That they might lovely be. O who am I, That for my sake My God should take Frail flesh and die?”
Congregational singing during the 17th century was still mostly regulated to Psalm singing, much like Calvin and many reformers put forth in their writings. But devotional poetry was beginning to find its way into churches, first as readings, then as freely written hymns. Samuel Crossman (1624-1684), an Anglican minister, received a bachelor of divinity at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He then served both an Anglican parish at All Saints, Sudbury, and a Puritan congregation.
Crossman wrote The Young Man’s Meditation (1664) just before his ordination and was focused on the Passion of Christ. This short book of poems contained the beautiful words which became a hymn. The original poem has seven stanzas, taking the singer from Palm Sunday through the crucifixion. But according to Crossman, the poem’s purpose was not simply to retell the events of the Passion, but to present a love song—sung to the Savior who demonstrated pure love, even to the “love-less” so that they might be “love-ly.”
The poet freely inserts his own perspective into the story:
“But O my friend, My friend indeed, Who at my need His life did spend.” [Stanza two]
The final stanza continues the metaphor of song introduced in stanza one:
“Here might I stay and sing, No story so divine: Never was love, dear King, Never was grief like thine! This is my friend, In whose sweet praise I all my days Could gladly spend.”
During this special time of Lent, we hope to provide meaningful worship services that reflect not only our repentance and submission, but also God’s amazing grace and mercy as seen through Jesus Christ.
April 6 – Lenten Spiritual Retreat, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
April 14 – Palm Sunday, MY SONG IS LOVE UNKNOWN, presented by the Chancel Choir and Chamber Orchestra at 11:00 a.m.
April 18 – Maundy Thursday Service at 7:00 p.m.
April 19 – Good Friday Day of Prayer
April 20 – Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 a.m.
April 21 – Resurrection of the Lord/Easter Sunday
In God’s Love,
P.S. Those who were in worship at 11:00 on February 10 experienced our 2018/19 Santa Fe Winds! They were incredible! Our ensemble this year includes Jennifer McMahan and Lauren Dage on flute, Cati McGee and Ben Albrecht on clarinet, Franklin Albrecht on alto saxophone, Jakob McMahan, Kaitlyn Albrecht and Mikayla Schwabe on trumpet, Josh McMahan and Finn McCall on French horn, and Jarrett McMahan on tuba. What a joy! Santa Fe Winds will play again in March and on Easter Sunday. If anyone else, youth or adult, plays an instrument, you are welcome to join us. I will announce rehearsal times. Thanks!