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Two Songs of Worship

Two of the worship songs in Greystone’s August 2, 2020, online worship service were written and composed by longtime Greystone member, Pepper Choplin. The first of these is “The Greatest Commandment.” Published in 2013, this anthem is based upon Mark 12:30-31, which contains Jesus’ response to the scribe’s question, “Which commandment is the first of all?” (Mark 12:28b, NRSV). Jesus begins his response in verse 29, with words of the Shema from Deuteronomy 6: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Then the Savior continues:

30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 
31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.” (NRSV)

This first song is a great reminder to us as worshippers of these important instructions, upon which “hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40, NRSV).

Later, during the August 2 service, we will hear the second of these songs, immediately following our regular observance of Communion. What an appropriate time for this 2017 anthem, “Thanks for Giving,” which is a prayer of thanksgiving to God.  With allusions to the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth,” the lyrics of this beautiful original song, thank God for some of our bountiful blessings, including:

“the beauty of the earth,”
“the glories of the skies,”
God’s love which is given “to us from birth,”
the “gift of human love,”
“friends and family,”
those “who live in our memory,”
“the chance to live another day,”
the gift of time,
“the lighting of the morning,” and
the glow of restful night.”

Then as this anthem builds, changes keys, and begins to draw to its conclusion, the words guide the singer into a joyful and love-filled song of praise to the “Lord of all.”  As we move from this service into the week ahead, let us continue to remember, even in the midst of a pandemic, to lift our own songs of praise to the God who created, loves, and continually cares for us.

Chris Haire
Interim Associate Minister of Music