This weekend’s readings begin a 4-week exploration of the dimensions of mercy and forgiveness. As people get to know each other, they become aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Thus, being in community implies a constant call to forgive each other. The power of the keys we heard about two weeks ago is always exercised on behalf of and in the name of the Body of Christ. Our music in worship this weekend reflects this call, based on the gospel text that Christ is found wherever two or three are gathered in his name. The setting for this text is a round I learned in Germany when St. Benedict’s established a sister-parish program with St. Mary’s Church in Dortmund in 1984. (There is a plaque commemorating this relationship in the front vestibule. Some parishioners are still in touch with their host families.) This theme is also expressed with the text from I Cor.13, “Where Charity and Love Prevail,” in a chant-like setting from the early days of the liturgy in English. Our gathering hymn, “I come with joy, a child of God, forgiven, loved and free,” is set to the early-American hymn tune LAND OF REST, which we used for the Holy, Holy and acclamations earlier this summer. The hymn “Forgive our sins as we forgive” is of course based on the central line from the Our Father. Our communion song, “Loving and Forgiving,” is a setting of Psalm 103, the great psalm of God’s mercy. Psalm 103 will also be next week’s responsorial psalm.
Music at 10:00 includes “Come, Now Is the Time to Worship,” a line from today’s responsorial Psalm 95. This psalm also provides the text for our offering song, “If Today You Hear His Voice,” with music by Rawn Harbor, an African-American musician from Berkeley, Calif., some of whose psalm settings will be in our new Breaking Bread hymnal this fall. We go out of church to “Your Grace Is Enough,” which reminds us that God “wrestles with the sinner’s restless heart” and “uses the weak to lead the strong.” The composer is Matt Maher, a native of Newfoundland now living in Tempe, Ariz. with his young family.
by Glenn Hufnagel