Hymn of the Day: ELW #447 "O Blessed Spring"
Tune: BERGLUND, Robert Buckley Farlee, 1950
Text: Susan Palo Cherwien, 1953
When writing these verses, Susan Palo Cherwien contemplated a scupture titled LIFE-TREE, which portrays the seasons of life, based on the scripture verse: “I am the vine, you are the branches.” As she wrote, she heard O WALY WALY as the tune but her text stimulated the tune sung today, written by Robert Buckley Farlee.
Robert Buckley Farlee is Associate Pastor and Director of Music at Christ Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Bob Farlee and his wife Jane Buckley-Farlee (pastor at Trinity Lutheran Congregation, ELCA, Minneapolis) were ordained on July 13, 1980, in St. Louis, Missouri, at Unity Lutheran Church, Bel-Nor. It was at Unity Lutheran that Bob served as music director. Then in November of 1981, Bob joined the staff at Christ Church Lutheran, Minneapolis, where he has served both as a pastor and as cantor. Buckley Farlee 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, the new book of worship for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Susan Palo Cherwien is a freelance writer and musician. She received her bachelor’s degree in church music and voice from Wittenberg University, the Abschlusspruefung in voice from the Hochschule der Kuenste Berlin, and a Master of Liberal Studies from Mundelein College, where she focused on spirituality, ritual, and the arts. Susan has written numerous hymn texts which appear in denominational hymnals in the United States and Canada, and she is the author of O Blessed Spring: Hymn Texts of Susan Palo Cherwien (AugsburgFortress), Crossings: Meditations for Worship (Morningstar), To God Will I Sing (AugsburgFortress), From Glory Into Glory (Morningstar), and Come, Beloved of the Maker (Augsburg).
Musical Reflection: "Noël Nouvelle", Michael Bedford (1949)
If you are familiar with this tune as a French Christmas carol, you are not alone as this tune has been associated with this carol text since the 17th century. Today, in presenting this setting for the Fifth Sunday of Easter I am, of course, hearing this tune in its pairing with the Easter season text, “Now the green blade rises.”
Michael Bedford, a full-time church musician since 1973, currently serves as organist/choirmaster of St. John's Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he plays the organ and supervises a full graded choir program including three singing choirs, one handbell choir and a chamber ensemble. He has held similar positions in Texas and Colorado.