Wednesday, January 11, 2017

a Bach love song to coffee

Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
  Coffee, I have to have coffee,
  and, if someone wants to pamper me,
  ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!

Who knew Bach wrote a cantata/comic opera about coffee?

Via Wikipedia, an outline:,_plaudert_nicht,_BWV_211 

Better yet, however, are the lyrics to the previous song, which the father berates his coffee-addicted daughter, and she responds:

3. Recitative B S
Schlendrian (which apparently translates "stick in the mud")
     You naughty child, you wild girl,
     ah! When will I achieve my goal:
     get rid of the coffee for my sake!

     Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
     If I couldn't, three times a day,
     be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
     in my anguish I will turn into
     a shriveled-up roast goat. - Lyrics via Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston, I kid you not (no pun intended). However, most sadly, this particular cantata is not on their performance list this year. 

Fortunately for Liesgen, Happy Goat Coffee is a thing.

NPR: How can you tell if your goat is happy? (original photo source)

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Advent close of day at the wildlife sanctuary

Jesus, Redeemer of the world,
Word of the Father throned on high,
light from the light invisible,
and watchful guardian over all

Hymn 38 v.1 
The Hymnal 1982

Now, ere day fadeth quite, we see the evening light,
our wonted hymn outpouring;
Father of might unknown, thee, his incarnate Son,
and Holy Spirit adoring.

"O gladsome Light"
Hymn 36 v.2 
The Hymnal 1982

I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43.19

 I am like an owl of the wilderness,
   like a little owl of the waste places.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned for ever;
   your name endures to all generations. 
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
   for it is time to favour it;
   the appointed time has come. 

Psalm 102:6, 12, 13

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Hymn 66 v.1 
The Hymnal 1982

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

Is this the real birth?
Is this Nativity?
Caught in a census
in the town of his ancestry.
Open your eyes
look up to the skies and seeeeeeee
He's just a poor boy
foretold by prophecy.
Because the wise men come, wise men go,
Angels high, shepherds low...

If you, too, want to sing along, there is also a version with lyrics available.

It's a wondrous story to me, to me...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

three candles

Advent wreath
St Margaret's Convent, Duxbury

Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer p. 212

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dear President-Elect Trump: a letter from the Episcopal bishops in MA about the environment

Dec. 12, 2016

Donald J. Trump
President-Elect of the United States of America
Trump Tower
735 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear President-Elect Trump,

We, the bishops of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, are glad to let you know that all of our 235 churches pray for you regularly in our liturgies with these or similar words: “For those in positions of public trust, especially Barack our President and Donald our President-Elect, that they may serve justice, and promote the dignity and freedom of every person.”

We also pray: “Give us reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory.”

The Episcopal Church stands strongly for the protection of the environment. We respect the facts of science.  We support laws and policies that address the reality of climate change. We are in the process of divesting our financial interest in fossil fuels. Most recently our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, joined Native Americans at Standing Rock in their effort to protect their water and their sacred land. Numerous other Episcopal Church leaders have likewise traveled to Standing Rock.

Our respect for our government leaders and our reverence for the earth as God’s creation impel us to write you to express our dismay about your selection of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. We wonder why a person who has consistently and adamantly opposed all laws and policies that provide even minimal “protection” to the environment should be entrusted with leading such an agency.

President-elect Trump, you have promised economic development. Like you, we value a stable and prosperous economy.  However, a thriving economy depends on a healthy environment. The more we weaken and dismantle the E.P.A.’s vital protections of our natural world, the more we threaten the common good.

You have also promised to strengthen our national defense. Like you, we value national security.  However, our country’s top military intelligence have concluded that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that is already creating instability around the world and will likely create significant security challenges in the years ahead.  If someone who casts doubt on the reality of climate change becomes the head of the E.P.A., our national security will be compromised.

As citizens of this beloved country, we intend to write our members of Congress, urging them to block the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the E.P.A. We will pray for a better choice.

And we will continue to pray for you as you assume this office of tremendous responsibility for the good of all.


The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop Diocesan of Western Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan of Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts (retired)
The Rt. Rev. Roy F. Cederholm, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts (retired)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

more Advent music

I'm currently preparing for tomorrow night's Lessons and Carols service. I've attended two, and now I get to sing in one!

I've found YouTube videos for all of the music we're doing, which certainly speeds up the learning process. And once I stop working with them, I can relax and pray with them as well. Truly, I can do both simultaneously, but I'm not quite to the point of fully entering into prayer while wondering what on earth that note was. Other than, "OK, Lord, I need some help here," I mean.

But why should I be the only one to enjoy these videos? And so here they are, in order. I don't yet have the bulletin, but the shape of the service will be the same as the one I shared earlier.

We will begin with the Palestrina Matin Responsory, which most of us already know, but moving right into a second piece.

OK, actually, this next music recording isn't well sung, but at least you can see what it is. And I am grateful that they posted it because there isn't another out there from which to learn. It's very different from the music we usually do.

Now, back to the traditional:  Adam Lay Ybounden. I've sung two other versions, but this is the first time I've sung the Ireland.

Next up, Canite Tuba, by Francisco Guerrero. I recall our singing that years ago, back when I was a novice - two sisters and two male neighbors. It didn't sound like the choir of King's College, Cambridge, but we worked hard, and I was pleased. I am now pleased because I remember most of it after all these years. It's one of those where  you have to count very carefully or you'll lose track of it. Worth it. I do love this one.

Old favorites, here... You probably know the hymn at the very least. This time we're singing in German (eep!) and with strings, a first for me.

This Ave Maria is simple and lovely, with intervals I don't expect but which really work. I assume it follows the reading from Luke about the Annunciation.

Purcell. I love Purcell. And indeed we should rejoice in the Lord always! Singing Purcell makes that easy to do.

And so, blessings on your Advent 3. May the hope of this season fill you with longing and expectation for the coming of our Lord not only 2000 years ago, but now in your heart and in God's good time to make all creation new.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016