Second Sunday after Epiphany

January 15 • 11:00 am, Sanctuary


The Rev. Dr. Oscar McCloud, preaching.

Today, as we observe the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, we welcome our guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. Oscar McCloud.

Oscar, our associate pastor emeritus, retired in 2005 after 10 years on the FAPC clergy staff. We are delighted to welcome him back to our pulpit this morning.

Please note that there is no 9:30 am service today.

Sermon: "The First Inaugural"

Text: Luke 4:14-20

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor." And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Music

Gospel Prelude on “Jesus Loves Me” • William Bolcom (b. 1938)
I Believe This is Jesus • Traditional Spiritual, arr. Undine Smith Moore (1904–1989)
Hold On! • Traditional Spiritual, arr. Moses Hogan (1957–2003)
Go Where I Send Thee • Traditional Gospel, arr. Paul Caldwell (b. 1965) and Sean Ivory (b. 1969)
Gospel Prelude on “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” • William Bolcom

Worship Notes

In commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, the choral music this morning features two settings of African American spirituals and one gospel arrangement by some of America's foremost composers in the genre.  

Undine Smith Moore was a notable and prolific female African American composer of the 20th century.  Widely known as the "dean of black women composers,” Moore studied composition at Fisk University and The Juilliard School, where she graduated cum laude in 1926. While her list of compositions includes works for piano and other instrumental ensembles, Moore is more widely known today for her choral works. Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, a 16-part oratorio on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was premiered at Carnegie Hall and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her joyous setting of I Believe This Is Jesus, heard this morning, is a wonderful example of her distinctive style.

Moses Hogan’s inimitable settings are sung and beloved by choristers and audiences throughout the world, and are particularly remarkable for bridging the gap between traditional spirituals and classical choral ensembles. Although Hogan was only 45 years old when he died of a brain tumor in 2003, his legacy lives on through his many compositions and arrangements as one of the most creative and influential figures in 20th-century American choral music.  

Go Where I Send Thee is a gospel arrangement of a well-known spiritual from the African American folk tradition. From the many variants of the text, Caldwell and Ivory developed an extended version that allowed them to maximize the use of gospel-style modulation and set significant one-line reminders of some of the Biblical stories on which the African American musical tradition is based. Although some of the scriptural references are obvious, others are somewhat cloaked: Eleven refers to the opinion that Judas Iscariot might not fare so well on judgment day; Nine is the number that traditionally represents the nine choirs of angels; Eight recalls the number of people instructed to board Noah’s ark (the shipbuilder, his wife, his three sons and their wives); Five refers to the loaves of bread that ultimately fed 5,000 people; and three Hebrew children refers to Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, who were thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar!

The Prelude and Postlude are solo organ settings of the traditional gospel hymns “Jesus Loves Me” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by the American composer William Bolcom. Bolcom wrote 12 of these pieces, all of which contain a wide range of musical expression—from the beautifully sublime to the surprising and downright gritty! 

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