Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston continues his Fall Sermon Series, Apocalypse Then / Apocalypse Now, on the Book of Revelation.
Sermon: "Would Jesus Spit You Out?"
Text: Revelation 3:14-22
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
Sonata no. 1 in F minor: Allegro • Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
Os Justi • Anton Bruckner (1824–1896), Text: Psalm 37:30-31
Solemn Mass in C-sharp minor: Kyrie • Louis Veirne (1870–1937)
Postlude: Sonata no. 1 in F minor: Allegro assai vivace • Felix Mendelssohn
The composer of this morning’s Anthem, Anton Bruckner, was born in 1824 in the northern Austrian town of Ansfelden. Bruckner loved and assiduously studied the music of Renaissance Italian polyphonic masters such as Palestrina, as well as German Baroque composers, especially J.S. Bach. These diverse elements are brought together, along with the boldly Romantic aesthetic inherited from Wagner, in Bruckner’s sacred motets. Os justi was composed in 1879, the same year that Bruckner began work on his sixth symphony. This extraordinary motet, which takes its text from Psalm 37:30–31, is set in the Lydian mode. Bruckner achieves striking harmonic effects without using a single sharp or flat note.
The composer of the Offertory Anthem was one of the greatest in the 20th-century French organist/composer tradition: Louis Vierne. Nearly blind from birth, Vierne showed unusual musical talent as a child, and his parents enrolled him in the Paris Conservatory as soon as possible. Vierne primarily studied with and served as assistant to Charles-Marie Widor, organist at the Church of Saint-Sulpice (and composer of the famed Toccata, FAPC’s traditional Easter Postlude). In 1900 Vierne was appointed to one of the most prestigious musical posts in Paris: organist at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, a position he held until his death in 1937.
Many say that nearly all of Vierne’s music is characterized by an underlying sense of melancholy, a characteristic that is often attributed to a lifetime of physical and emotional trials and traumas. The Kyrie from his Solemn Mass certainly supports this assertion, with its brooding minor modality and dense, expressive chromaticism. In spite of the overall moodiness of his music, however, there are also moments of peace and perspective, moments perhaps more reflective of the kind and generous nature described by so many of Vierne’s students and colleagues. Vierne’s unique musical world is deep and rich, and this commanding piece is a wonderful example of his style.