Weekly Update | June 23, 2024

Summer has officially arrived as of 20 June! Can you feel it?

Calm, bright sunny days lay ahead. St. John’s Cathedral has been is high gear since the first of the year, coming off of a busy fall. To see a little space in the calendar, while parishioners gather to feed our neighbors and to care for our Cathedral home is a welcome respite.

In a couple weeks, your vestry will gather for a retreat to reflect on the vision, mission and values of St. John’s Cathedral, with Canon Melissa McCarthy as their facilitator. We will also have exciting news to share about the housing projects underway, very soon. I will share the headlines this Sunday at church. Come join us!

But our readings for this Sunday are about getting caught in windstorms, both natural as well the storms that can occur in our lives. As I reviewed Sunday’s service, I asked our gifted Music Director, Dr. Christopher Gravis, to share his thoughts on the music selected. You should know that prayerful consideration and time are given to every service celebrated and offered to the glory of God.

With the blessing of Dr. Gravis, let me share a glimpse into his thoughtful process of music selection each week. Dr. Gravis notes that during the summer months he strives to select hymn tunes that are largely familiar to the congregation, and reflect the scriptural themes of the day, as well as the collect.

The first hymn, God is love, relates to the Job 38: 1-11 lection – particularly the hymn text “God who laid the earth’s foundation, God who spread the heavens above.” It also uses the very familiar tune Abbot’s Leigh.


The offertory and communion solos will be sung by tenor Krishna Raman, and they were selected in consultation with me.  I think they simultaneously speak into the themes of the readings, as well as express a sense of expectant joy. They happen to be particularly well-known, and also feature a virtuosic level of singing, which Krishna will offer with aplomb.

The offertory hymn is particularly fitting to the themes of the readings. The text comes from the 16th century Christian allegory by John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The hymn text speaks to the journey of perseverance through the valleys and tribulations of life (as understood in the trials of Job, through the “great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger” that Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians, and the fear of the apostles on the stormy sea with Jesus). Monk’s Gate is a fantastic tune from our folk-song tradition.


The final hymn Ye servants of God, your master proclaim, set to the tune Paderborn, is well-known and relates to each of the texts of the day, and also the Collect of the Day. I see a development across each of the readings (including the Psalm), in which God, in the midst of human fear, continually extols God’s saving power.

My hermeneutical synopsis of these readings is: that it is part of the human experience for us to fear through struggle, and yet it is God who redeems us, through faith in Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. In response, God calls us to acknowledge God’s saving power, and to worship Almighty God.

Paderborn’s triumphant and joyful nature is especially fitting for a closing hymn in this context. We began by singing “God is Love,” and in what I consider to be a serendipitous bookend to the service, the final words we sing are:

Then let us adore, and give him his right:

All glory and power, all wisdom and might,

And honor and blessing, with angels above,

and thanks never-ceasing, and infinite love.”

The only words spoken after this are the dismissal:

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

Thanks be to God.

This summer join us Sundays at 8am (spoken Eucharist) or 10 am (Choral Eucharist) as we bask in the glory of God and gather as a community of faith offering support through the winds and storms of life. For God is love, and there is joy that awaits us ahead. Let us give thanks and sing.

Much love and blessings,