…although “blast” may not be the right word.
It happens that the lectionary readings at church today contained two texts which I have set to music.
The Hebrew Scriptures reading from Proverbs chapter 9 contains part of the text I used in composing an anthem for the dedication of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Johnson City, NY and the Gospel reading from John chapter 6 is the basis for my piece “And I Will Raise Them Up,” which was also written for the choir at Blessed Sacrament.
It’s as though all that happened in another lifetime.
Ten years ago, the parish that I knew, loved, and served disintegrated. A remnant of it existed for a while longer and eventually merged with a nearby parish. Its complex of buildings closed after a second devastating flood within five years. They have been sold to a nearby Christian college, which will eventually re-open the church as their chapel, although, as is common, the altar, stained glass windows, and other religious accouterments were removed before the building was sold.
Today, knowing that the tower windows are gone is especially poignant. I had chosen the texts for my anthem for the dedication of the renovated and expanded church building dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament based on those windows, which depicted three aspects of the Eucharist – nourishment, healing, and presence – using images from Hebrew Scriptures. The Proverbs text we heard today, in which Wisdom prepares and invites everyone to a feast, was the basis of the “nourishment” section and the source of the title, “Wisdom Has Built Herself a House.”
It was sung publicly only once, at the dedication of the church. It’s unlikely that it will ever be sung again. It exists only on mute, hand-written pages and as an echo in my memory.