Monday, August 27, 2012

Amigos de Christo

by Alice Valdal

               This summer we've been enjoying congregational choices for the offertory hymn.  Not surprisingly, most of these have been old favourites, beloved of several generations.  Not so on August 26.  That Sunday the offertory was Amigos de Cristo, by John C. Ylvisaker, written in 1985 and published in 2006.
          Since this hymn is new to our congregation, I've printed out the text.
        I found the order of words in the refrain interesting.  Most often we hear of Jesus as a friend to us, "What a friend we have in Jesus," "Jesus, friend of little children," for example.  In this hymn we are friends of the Lord.  A small distinction to be sure, since friendship is a two-way street, but one that captured my attention.

Scripture: John 15:14-15;

Amigos de Cristo; we're friends of the Lord;
Amigos de Cristo; we're friends of the Lord.
For we've been forgiven, and we've been restored,
Amigos de Cristo; we're friends of the Lord.

1. Friends of the covenant renewed each morn;
baptized and loving it, we've been reborn.
Gift of the dove is ours for evermore.
Amigos de Cristo; we're friends of the Lord.


2. Born of a family, the young and old,
we'll be on hand to see new life unfold.
We understand the need to be made whole.
Amigos de Cristo; we're friends of the Lord.


      Writer and composer John C. Ylvisaker, was born in Moorhead, Minnesota and is a graduate of Concordia College and very involved in developing new worship materials for the church.  His compositions appear in hundreds of worship resources, including the latest hymn book of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
       In addition to being an artist and composer, Ylvisaker is a high school music teacher, a choir director and producer of SCAN, an  weekly radio program sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).   He is much in demand as a performer and is working on the recording and publication of over 1000 of his own compositions.
      Much as we love the old favourites in our hymn book, it is good to experience new work and new ways of interpreting the words of the Gospel.  This week, I'll be thinking about what it means to be a "friend of the Lord."  Thanks to Benjamin Cunningham for widening my horizons.

      And speaking of friends, the congregation was delighted to share in the celebration of the Dodds' 70th wedding anniversary after service on Sunday.  Congratulations to a wonderful couple.

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