Music Notes for May 1, 2022

Hymn of the Day: “Touch that Soothes and Heals” ACS 939
Text: Mary Louise Bringle, b. 1953
Tune: See My Hands and Feet, Gregg DeMey, b. 1972

This hymn describes the embodied dimensions of Jesus’ ministry: with human hands and feet, Jesus heals, feeds, carries, and serves. The refrain proclaims the ongoing power of Jesus’ incarnation as love risen from the dead. The musical setting facilitates a natural feeling as it reflects on Jesus’ physicality. The refrain gently turns from contemplation to action, alluding to Teresa of Avila’s assertion that “Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Choir Anthem: “Christ Is Living”, Pablo D. Sosa, 1933–2020; arr. Robert Buckley Farlee, b. 1950

This music is a true collaboration. Nicolás Martínez (1917–1972), writer of the Spanish text, brought this poem to fellow pastor and hymn collaborator, composer Pablo Sosa, who set the poem to this lively tune. Sosa was a leader in ecumenical activities worldwide and did more than perhaps any other person to foster the composition of Spanish-language hymnody. “Cristo vive” is a paraphrase of 1Corinthians15:12-23.

Pablo Sosa grew up and was educated in Argentina, the U.S. (Westminster Choir College), and Germany. For years he pastored a large Methodist congregation in Buenos Aires, Argentina while composing songs, leading choirs, editing hymnals, producing religious broadcasts, and teaching liturgy and hymnology at a seminary.
Meanwhile, life in Argentina pushed him to question his assumptions about what’s best for congregational singing. During Argentina’s “dirty war,” two young women from his church were disappeared, possibly for working among the poor. As Catholic and Protestant churches hesitated whether to speak out, remain silent, or support the government, many people lost faith. Economic meltdown after the war plunged many middle-class Argentinians into poverty. Sosa’s growing social awareness widened his vision for “lifting up hope with a song.” He often describes worship as “the fiesta of the faithful,” where all are welcome and all music is seen as “part of the ‘song of the earth,’ which answers the psalmist’s call ‘Sing joyfully to God, all the earth!’ (Psalm 98:4).” Whether in his home church in Buenos Aires, or at churches or conferences around the world, he urges people, “Put your body into worship!” And he reminds them of the biblical connection between justice and worship.

Christ is risen, Christ is living
dry your tears, be unafraid!
Death and darkness could not hold him,
nor the tomb in which he laid.
Do not look among the dead for
one who lives for evermore;
tell the world that Christ is risen,
make it known he goes before.

If the Lord had never risen,
we’d have nothing to believe.
But his promise can be trusted:
‘You will live, because I live’.
As we share the death of Adam,
so in Christ we live again.
Death has lost its sting and terror.
Christ the Lord has come to reign.

Death has lost its old dominion,
let the world rejoice and shout!
Christ the firstborn of the living
gives us life and leads us out.
Let us thank our God who causes
hope to spring up from the ground.
Christ is risen, Christ is giving
life eternal, life profound.

Sending Voluntary: “Cristo vive,” Robert Buckley Farlee (1950)

In addition to arranging the hymn, Robert Buckley Farlee has set this tune which you will hear in the pedals against a dance-like accompaniment. He is a graduate of Christ Seminary-Seminex, St. Louis, Missouri. He also serves on the worship editorial staff at Augsburg Fortress Publishers, and was deeply involved in the recent publication of Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

Opening Voluntary: “O Bread of Life from Heaven” G. Winston Cassler (1906-1990)

G. Winston Cassler studied at Oberlin College and was a professor at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN.