In 2007, the St. Mark Chancel Choir commissioned, “Above the Moon, Earth Rises,” for the dedication of our new church building.
The text is by Thomas Troeger, Professor of Christian Communication at Yale Divinity School.
The composer, Bradley Ellingboe, is Director of Choral Activities at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a favorite of our choir and congregation.
Above the moon earth rises, a sunlit mossy stone,
a garden that God prizes, where life has richly grown,
an emerald selected for us to guard with care,
an isle in space protected by one thin reef of air.
The mossy stone is grieving, its tears are bitter rain.
The garden is unleaving, and all its harvests wane.
The emerald is clouded, its luster dims and fades,
the isle of life is shrouded in thick and stagnant haze.
O listen to the sighing of water, sky and land
and hear the spirit crying the future is at hand.
The moss and garden thinning portend a death or birth,
the end or new beginning for all who live on earth.
A death if hearts now harden, a birth if we repent
and tend and keep the garden as God has always meant:
to sow without abusing the soil where life is grown
to reap without our bruising this sunlit mossy stone.
In 2012, a gift from choir member Carla Neeld allowed the Chancel Choir to commission a new anthem to celebrate the church’s 50th anniversary. For this commission, another text by Thomas Troeger was chosen, “Sing to God As Sings the Ocean.” The last line of that poem became the title for Dr. David Brunner’s setting, “Where New Songs of Faith Begin.”
Dr. Brunner is one of America’s most active and versatile conductors and composers. He is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Sing to God as sings the ocean,
sing as birds that greet the dawn,
sing as windswept trees in motion,
sing and let your song be drawn
from God’s vast and whole creation,
from your faith and doubt and fears,
from rebirth and re-creation,
from life’s wealth of joy and tears
Sing the heart’s deep sighing sorrow
to the Lord who hears lament,
who at midnight sees tomorrow
when the dark at last is spent.
Sing to God who in our sadness
brings the news of coming light,
ample hope to waken gladness
and sustain us through the night.
Sing the great, glad joy of Jesus!
Sing the gospel that Christ brings.
Sing the way Christ heals and feeds us.
Sing the song that Easter sings:
Christ is risen, Christ is living,
Christ among us, Christ within,
Christ the spring of endless giving
where new songs of faith begin.