Recently, I have been looking for some inspiration during this time of pandemic, a time in which I have found it difficult to be as musically creative as usual. Creativity demands that we be as open to the Spirit as possible, even in difficult circumstances. I also believe that creative people are needed in times like these, in order to inspire other people, as well as, of course, to develop creative solutions to the problems we face.
So, in my regular work planning music for upcoming Sunday Masses, I decided to remain open to the Spirit.
Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. In today's Gospel, forty days after his Resurrection, as he is about to ascend to the Father, Jesus promises, "I am with you always, even until the end of the age." This struck me as particularly relevant to our current time and place– that we need to trust that God is with us, even in this frightening time of pandemic. And I was inspired.
Subsequently, for this coming Sunday's celebration of the Seventh Sunday of Easter (the Sunday between the Ascension and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost), I have composed a new hymn entitled You Are with Us Always. I thought I would share it here, in the hope that it might comfort and/or inspire those of you who might read this blog, and also as a way of introducing this new piece to those who may be regular viewers of our online Masses from St. Peter's Church in Saratoga Springs. For those who will view our online Mass on Sunday, we will likely only be singing the first and second verses. The recording here contains all three.
Below is the "assembly reprint" music. Click here and go to the bottom of the score page to hear a recording of this piece. (Please forgive the somewhat inconsistent balance of voice and piano in the recording... I am currently working on getting some higher quality home recording equipment. Hopefully, this will suffice for now!) If you view the sample score, you will see that I have composed choral parts for this piece, including a descant, in the sure and certain hope that one day in the future, I will be able to put this piece before my wonderful church choir, and we will be able to sing this together! You can also hear a MIDI realization of these parts on the score page.
May God continue to be with us as he has promised, and as we celebrate on this great feast.
Happy Ascension Day, everyone!