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“Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord” (Psalm 100:1)

It is a beautiful spring sunrise. The sun is just making it’s way over the horizon to the east. A gentle breeze quakes the new aspen leaves as the first sun’s rays begin to flicker and warm the dew on the apple blossoms. And then the singing begins . . . Meadowlarks and Robbins, Sparrows and Finches, Redbirds and Ravens, Falcons and Eagles welcome the day of creation, each with their own unique song of praise. It is as if they are calling friends and foes alike, those with wings, those with no legs, and those with four and those with two, to this new day. After all, they seem to be singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad
in it.” (Psalms 118:24)

We learn form God’s creatures on the one hand and yearn from our souls, on the other hand to offer our own songs of praise and worship. For me personally, these songs I have sung at times in my personal prayer time – perhaps in the country or the forest, at times in churches or holy spaces and often within the services of corporate worship. Sometimes the songs have been made up or perhaps just an original humming. Most often, they have been songs of another of praise and thanksgiving. There have been folk songs and hymns, sometimes from other Christian or religious traditions. And then there are the hymns of our own Byzantine Orthodox tradition. Some hymns – for example those from the Liturgy and from Holy Week – I recall from probably before I could walk. It’s not so much the words as the melodies. They serve to touch my heart and communicate to my so8ul the great love for me, my family, my friends, my enemies, indeed all of humankind and the entire universe, that our Great and merciful Lord possesses and offers. “God is with us, give ear all you nations and be humbled, for God is with us.” (Orthodox Hymn of Great Compline Service)

The month of February, my dear parishioners, we have chosen the theme of “Hymns of the Divine Liturgy” for our Religious Education theme. On Sunday, February 5, Church School children, teachers, parents and all St. Catherine parishioners are invited to meet in the Sanctuary at 9:00am for a presentation on “Hymns of the Divine Liturgy.” A packet will be distributed guiding personal and familial study for the month on this theme. Our hope is that we will better understand our tradition of prayers through the hymnology and hymnography of Orthodox Christianity. Our ultimate goal is that you and I will always love and worship in thanksgiving our Loving Lord and that we, as the birds of the air will “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” (Psalm 100:1)

In Christ, Fr. Lou