We have been deeply immersed in The Lord’s Prayer during this season of Lent and as we approach this special musical weekend, I wanted you to hear the inspiration from composer Pepper Choplin. Pepper is a friend of mine and a friend of Bethany Church – a great church musician and extremely funny. To know him is a delight and to sing his music knowing of his wit, wisdom, and deep faith is a gift. Here are his Composer Notes to accompany Our Father: A Journey Through the Lord’s Prayer:
The Lord's Prayer.
As I have spent many hours setting this timeless text, I have been continuously struck by its profound power. So potent and succinct, so far-reaching are these few lines.
Sometimes, when we pray the prayer, we simply recite it out of habit without grasping its power. I hope this cantata will help you and your listeners connect personally with the prayer so that it will become a significant moment of communion with God.
Sometimes, I used phrases from the King James Version because of their beauty and familiarity. Other times, I used modern English for clarity and poetic flow.
Here are some reflections as you prepare to present this work:
Our Father - We acknowledge God as our Father who is heaven, who is above and beyond any father or relationship on earth. This piece gathers the children of God to experience this moment of worship. It celebrates humanity's kinship as we are all brothers and sisters within God's creation. And as we begin, we as children call out to the Father to save us and to live among us.
Holy Be Thy Name - We acknowledge God's preeminence, and we experience the holiness of God. With quiet intimacy, the music provides a moment to connect with God's Spirit.
Let Your Kingdom Come - We most often call out for God's kingdom when the world seems especially cruel and unjust. I ventured to include the phrase, "Where is God?”. When the world seems to be immersed in pain and suffering. we pray for God's kingdom of love and peace to come. To do so, we feel a certain amount of despair as we feel the need to call out. But we are also hopeful as we trust that our prayer will be answered.
Give Us This Day - The prayer asks for our daily sustenance, but it also recognizes God as the Giver of the day. This anthem calls us to show our gratitude by living the day well and by cherishing each moment we are provided.
Forgive Us - As we ask for forgiveness and for the capacity to forgive, sometimes it is just as difficult to forgive ourselves. This anthem helps us express the burdens and pains from the past as we come to God for healing. If fully grasped, this could be the most personal and powerful moment of the cantata.
Lead Us Not into Temptation - This is the most intense piece. We pray that God will lead us far from the things that entangle us and change our lives in destructive ways.
Thine is the Kingdom- Here we celebrate the power and majesty of God who created us, who leads us, and who dwells in our souls.
-Pepper Choplin (2014)
Patrick Bohmfalk has also crafted a musical journey through The Lord’s Prayer for our 11:15 service using the richness of Psalm 46. We hope to see you in worship this weekend as we continue to learn to P.R.A.Y.