For all you lapsed church-goers out there, here’s a Sunday morning cyber service.
We begin with a tune that began life as a love song, we think, before Bernard of Clairvaux turned it into a hymn and the immortal J.S. Bach set it to music. Since it’s a beautiful tune and Bach recycled everything, he used it as a theme in the Christmas Oratorio. I know it as “Oh Sacred Head Sore Wounded,” but in another translation it’s “Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded.”
When I tried out for a musical at the Charles Playhouse in 1975, I took along my Groton School hymnal and sang that song. The theater types thought that was funny, but I got the part.
The play was called “Young Country” by Kippy Dewey and I played Samuel Adams. “We stamped out the stamp tax, trampled the tarriff, refuuuuused the revenuuuuues…”
Next we have the official hymn of the British Navy, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.” Dedicated to my grandfather, Commodore Charles K. Dickson.
Next, “Abide With Me.” What more can I say? Written in 1847 by Henry Francis Lyte as he lay dying. “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide…”
Lastly, “I Come to the Garden Alone,” also known as “In the Garden.” Written by Charles Austin Miles in 1913. It’s about Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus on “the greatest morn in history.” Better have a hanky handy.