Worship & Music Ministry

What's Going On This Month

What's up at St. Mark Lutheran Church? In addition to our Saturday and Sunday services, choir, and hand bells, we've got some special things coming up.

Easter Flowers


Envelopes are already in the pews for ordering your Easter flowers.  This year, you may order tulips, lilies, and/or hyacinths for $11.00 per plant.  The order deadline is Sunday, March 18th.  Order forms may be given to Alison or dropped off at the church office.

Our Hymns - A Little of the Backstory

The origins for some of the Hymns scheduled for this month are presented here. Some will be sung at one of our services. Others are suggestions to be sung as a personal 'Hymn Sing' on Sunday.

Canticle of the Turning (Rory Cooney)

by Katherine A. Greiner July 17, 2014         


One of my favorite musical renditions of the Magnificat is Rory Cooney’s “The Canticle of the Turning.” The opening verse and chorus go like this:


My soul cries out with a joyful shout,

That the God of my heart is great.

And my spirit sings of the wondrous things

That you bring to the ones who wait.

You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight,

And my weakness you did not spurn.

So from East to West, will my name be blest!

Could the world be about to turn?


My heart shall sing of the day you bring!

Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,

And the world is about to turn!


Reminiscent of an upbeat Irish folksong, the “Canticle of the Turning” evokes that peculiar emotional fusion of lament and hope. When I pray with it, I imagine Mary being so filled with relief, excitement, nervousness, gratitude, joy, and hope that her prayer overflows into a spontaneous, raucous song. She starts her clapping her hands and tapping her feet. Suddenly she grabs the shocked Elizabeth by the hands and together the two pregnant women playfully twirl around the kitchen singing and laughing in celebratory anticipation! Our God is good! Our God is present! This beautiful, broken world that is so corrupt, so unjust, so hurtful, and so dark is going to change! God has not abandoned us! In fact, God’s grace fills us! And our salvation is at hand! And then the mute Zechariah walks in the door–startled by this display of uncontainable joy. How will he respond? Although unable to join in the song, perhaps he joins the dance. Just picture it: those soon-to-be mothers and Zechariah all caught up in the Holy Spirit’s whirlwind dance of promise! Perhaps dance comes to mind a few months later at his son John’s circumcision. It is then that Zechariah is “filled with the Holy Spirit,” regains his speech, and sings his own prophetic song.

Source: dailytheology.org

My Faith Looks Up to Thee (Ray Palmer, 1808-1887)

At twenty-two, Ray Palmer was having a tough year. He wanted to go into the ministry but was stuck teaching at a girls’ school in New York City. He was lonely, depressed and sick. Then he found a German poem about a sinner kneeling before the cross. He translated it and added four stanzas.

“I wrote the verses with tender emotion,” he said later. “There was not the slightest thought of writing for another eye, least of all writing a hymn for Christian worship.”


Twenty-two years later, while visiting Boston, He ran across his friend, Lowell Mason. Mason, a major figure in American music in the early 1800s, was preparing a new hymnal. He asked Palmer if he’d like to contribute anything. Palmer bashfully showed Mason these verses. “You may live many years and do many good things,” Mason said. “But I think you will be best known to posterity as the author of ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee.’”


The One Year Book of Hymns


What Wondrous Love Is This? (American Folk Hymn)


This hymn has always been associated with the Appalachian area. Like most spirituals, it has been passed down through generations and exists in several versions. The melody, based on a six-tone scale, sounds minor to modern ears and has a haunting effect. The text adds to the effect. This is the question of the ages, and after all the glorious celebration of the Easter season, the question remains. What made Him do it? What made Him do it for me?


Every so often you’ll read about a disaster where someone makes a heroic but fatal effort to save others. A man jumps into icy water to save a drowning crash victim. He puts the lifeline in the person’s hand, but drowns. We marvel at the selflessness of such a person. What made him do it? Christ “bore the dreadful curse’ for our soul, and we can ponder that for the rest of our lives. We can also resolve to devote our lives to Him, to please Him, and praise Him through all eternity.

The One Year Book of Hymns

Were You There (Spiritual)


Folk songs are generally described as songs of which the origins have been lost but which express the heartfelt traditions and experiences of a particular culture or people. Therefore, they become greatly cherished by each succeeding generation.


The Negro spirituals represent some of the finest of American folk music. These songs are usually a blending of an African heritage, harsh remembrances from former slavery experiences, and a very personal interpretation of biblical stories and truths. They especially employ biblical accounts that give hope for a better life – such as the prospects of heaven. They symbolize so well the attitudes, hopes and religious feeling of the black race in America.


To better understand a Negro spiritual, one must feel even as a black singer does that he or she is actually present and very much involved in the event itself. The event being sung in this case – the story of Christ’s suffering, death, and ultimate resurrection – becomes a very emotionally intense experience. It is told with much feeling and freedom of spirit, generally without any instrumental accompaniment.


The lesson for each of us is to learn from a Negro spiritual like this is that truths such as the redemptive work of Christ must have much more than just our mental ascent. The biblical account must become a very personal conviction in our lives, and our very souls should be gripped by its emotional power.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to a tree?

Were you there when they pierce him in the side?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised Him from the dead?

Amazing Grace – 365 Inspiring Hymn Stories…

Upcoming Events

See above and elsewhere in this web site for current activities

Join the Fun

Make Thursday night your music night​​​​​​​

Consider joining one or both of these music ministries

with instrument and/or song.

A place in the choir...

We are getting ready to rev up the old Victrola and start singing on a regular basis in the balcony or on the floor and occasionally ringing those bells and chimes. 

Don’t you want to be part of this incredible, fun ministry? It is our position that we present the word of the Lord in prayerful song to open the hearts, minds and ears of the congregation in order for them to receive the message of the day. We are just one instrument to deliver the good news of the love of Christ. The more instruments, the louder the band. The louder the band, the better they hear! 

Please consider joining us. Choir begins September 7th from 7pm-8pm. Then on September 14th, hand bells begin from 6:15pm-7:10pm and the Trinity Choir begins with their NEW TIME—7:15pm-8:15pm.

See Melinda or any member of the choirs for more information.  It could be the best hour or two you spend with us!

Now King David was old and advanced in years, and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm.

After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.