Music is a component of worship that is loved by many. Even though we don’t have the benefit of our own talented choir, soloists, and musicians, we do have the benefit of the internet! Mindy Cable, our Music Director, selected some hymns and stories to inspire us even though we cannot be together.
Our first selection is the song “Be Not Afraid.” Nearly 20 years ago, the members of Third Presbyterian Church of Sioux City, Iowa lost their church building to a flood. As they rebuilt their church, they commissioned composer Craig Courtney to write a choral anthem for their 1992 centennial celebration. Their only stipulation was that the song would include the word “water”. Craig chose Isaiah 43: 1-4 as the basis for his text. The result was the beautiful song “Be Not Afraid”.
Several years later, one of the Courtney’s young sons suddenly became very ill, and died several days later. Upon learning of the boy’s untimely death, Third Presbyterian Church sent back a copy of “Be Not Afraid” to Craig and his family to support them in their deep grief.
In the summer of 2001, our own Mindy Cable had the privilege of participating in a local sacred choral workshop under the direction of Craig Courtney. Hearing this story as he shared it first hand, and then hearing the beautiful song he wrote, made Isaiah 43 more meaningful to those who were there. Then a couple of months later, this passage become even more meaningful because of the tragedies of September 11th. Two months later, in November of 2001, the CCUPC choir sang this anthem for our worship services.
“But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.” Isaiah 43: 1-4