Music to End the Day Sunday, 4 October 2020
Good evening, friends.
As I’m sure you know, the great Italian film composer Ennio Morricone died recently at the age of 91.
One of his best-known scores was created for the 1986 film ‘The Mission’,
with Robert de Niro and Jeremy Irons.
‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ is the film’s main theme.
It is most prominently used when Jesuit Priest Father Gabriel walks up to a waterfall
and starts playing his oboe,
aiming to befriend the natives with his music
so he can carry his missionary work into the New World.
The Guarani tribesmen, who have been stalking him from a distance,
approach Gabriel for the first time, captivated by the sounds of unknown instrument.
The chief of the tribe, however, is displeased by this, and breaks Gabriel’s oboe.
Nevertheless, it marks the beginning of a special relationship between Father Gabriel and the Guarani natives.
James Leith Macbeth Bain (1860–1925) was a Scottish hymn-writer,
author and minister, known to his peers as ‘Brother James’.
From Pitlochry he came to work, first, in Liverpool,
then as a Spiritualist Minister in London.
He was a nature-lover, a wanderer among woods and hills.
It was on a return visit to Scotland that he is said to have written the tune
which has become one of the most familiar and best loved versions of the 23rd Psalm –
Brother James’s Air.
In 2002 I created a special arrangement of this tune for a wedding celebration,
featuring choir, solo voice and flute obligato.
On this recording the flute soloist is Abigail Burrows,
who first played for us at Cornerstone at the age of nine,
and has returned faithfully to play for our special services for the last 25 years.
The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e’en for his own name’s sake
Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill,
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God’s house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.
Prayer to the Good Shepherd
Lord of the 23rd Psalm,
I have known death,
and you have refreshed my soul.
I have known fear,
and you have comforted me.
I have known hunger,
and you have set a feast before me.
In the darkest valley
no calamity of humankind or nature has separated us.
Teach me to walk as you walk
Beside those in mourning
so that they will know joy,
Beside those in fear
that they will know comfort,
Beside those in hunger
that they will feast until their cup overflows.
As your goodness and love follow me,
May mine follow my neighbour
That the threat of the worst terrors
May turn to the knowledge of the comforts of
the house of the Lord,
Where you have invited us to dwell forever.
And so let me strive to help build on earth
What you have promised us in heaven.
In the face of all calamity, present and yet to come,
Let me lead my neighbor beside quiet waters,
The quiet waters of the Good Shepherd.