Dear Church Family,
It’s funny how you stumble on things: first this, then that…then you Google…
I’m not sure how I came to know the anthem you are about to hear but here is the back story: (and thank you Amy Russell for researching more of the back story).
It started with scripture: “…All people are grass, their consistency is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8 NRSV.
Which inspired this poem by Christina Rossetti:
So brief a life, and then an endless life or endless death;
So brief a life, then endless peace or strife: Whoso considereth how man but like a flower or shoot of grass blooms an hour, well may sigh ‘Alas!’
So brief a life and then an endless grief or endless joy;
So brief a life, then ruin or relief: what solace, what annoy of Time needs dwelling on?
It is, it was, it is done, while we sigh ‘Alas!’
Yet saints are singing in a happy hope forecasting pleasure,
Bright eyes of faith enlarging all their scope;
Saints love beyond Time’s measure: where love is, there is bliss that will not pass;
Where love is, dies away ‘Alas!’
(‘Alas’ can be an exclamation to express sorrows, grief, pity, or apprehension of evil)
Which inspired this stunning anthem composed by Chris Mazza in roughly an hour; first draft was the final draft. Chris believes “…the process of composing finding something that was already there and bringing along the right tools to keep it intact.” Such was his experience with this composition.
The Chancel Choir will do its humble best to present this anthem as a musical offering this Sunday. It is a privilege to sing. We pray you find inspiration in its hearing.
With Lenten HOPE,