Sunday, August 2, 2020

God of Mercy, Lead Us Home

Greg Funderburk, Lyricist

One of the things I learned from a dear aunt's journey through Alzheimer's disease was that she was always looking for "home." When she would actually go to her house, she was still looking for "home:" Always, always, always in a search. There was a huge sadness to the restlessness created by the disease, but I wondered sometimes if she were aware enough "somewhere in there" to have the desire to be out of her confusing existence and in her final "home." The misery of the present realization of "no return" to the past was the cruelty of the disease...the loneliness...the frustration.

As I composed settings of prayers recently, I loved Greg Funderburk's thoughts on Maundy Thursday during Holy Week. He referred to "the night of darkened song," a phrase appropriate for that Thursday evening and during these COVID weeks. Holy Week occurred during the initial weeks of the COVID Quarantine, and Greg's prayer was a plea that God would lead us "home." Of course, "home" had so many meanings during Holy Week that had nothing to do with a "place." In our country, we were becoming faced with the realization that something awful was "out there," and we knew nothing about this enemy....COVID-19. During those initial weeks, everyone was making real-life adjustments and doing things differently. We had no sense of security, so the prayer to "lead us home" gave us a sense that Jesus had "been there" before, and could be trusted to accompany us through all of life's crises, including this pandemic.

God of Mercy, Lead Us Home is the SATB choral setting that used Greg's words and ideas to create a composition of emotional inspiration and serenity. It also reminds choral singers that there is nothing we would love more right now than to be able to sing together again. Lead us home. The tune is an Appalachian folk song, with a cello obligato enhancing the poignant feelings and lyrics brought about by unsettling uncertainty. The lyrics do not stop there, however, as they remind us of the security found in our Lord and his promises.

As always with EROP purchases, I created a Rehearsal Preparation Sheet for the octavo in order to save time for choral directors as they teach this piece. It might be a while before we can rehearse as choirs, so I have also created Low/Medium/High Solo Voice Editions that are complimentary with purchase. The Solo version will be performed on August 16 during worship at South Main Baptist Church, where the Sermon topic from The Beatitudes will be "Blessed are the merciful."

Take a look at the Rehearsal Preparation Sheet:
Have a great week, filled with mercy from above! Lead us home!