We all have that old sweatshirt, pair of worn jeans or old shoes to which we retreat when we need comfort. Or maybe it's a favorite movie or a book we're happy to read over and over.
The same is true for hymns and anthems. We all have our favorite hymns. And choirs have their favorite anthems, those that we trot out when the occasion arises or when we want something familiar.
This Sunday’s (March 26) Gospel is the account of Jesus healing the blind man, the vivid account of Jesus making mud with saliva to put on the man’s eyes and then instructing him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.
The bystanders who did not recognize the man as a former old beggar did not believe who he was. He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”
One of the choir's old favorites is the Will C. MacFarlane setting of “Open my eyes,” which is the Offertory anthem for Sunday. This text highlights well this story of the healing of the blind man.
Will C. MacFarlane (1870-1945) was born in London to Scottish parents. From 1900-1912, he served as organist and master of the choristers of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York, departing in 1912 became municipal organist of Portland, Maine.
An organist and composer, MacFarlane wrote hymns, anthems, operettas and organ works. He is also the composer of “Christ Our Passover,” one of our anthems for Easter Day this year.
The text of this anthem was authored by the Reverend Frederick William MacDonald (1842-1928), a Wesleyan Methodist minister born in Leeds, Yorkshire in England.
Open our eyes, O loving and compassionate Jesus,
that we may behold thee, walking beside us in our sorrow.
Thou hast made death glorious and triumphant;
for through its portals we enter into the presence of the Living God.
that we may see to follow thee, Jesus our Savior and Redeemer. Amen.
Photo credit: FreeImages.com/John Evans