Grace Notes

GRACE NOTES  by Elizabeth Tosterud


The music for our hymn of the month was written by John Zundel, an organist, composer, arranger, and pedagogue. In 1850 he was hired by Henry Ward Beecher at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, New York. The music bears the name of the famous preacher, Beecher. The tune became widely used for the hymn Love Divine, All Love Excelling text by Charles Wesley.  Zundel was born in the village of Hochdorf an der Enz in what was known as the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, Germany. He studied organ building and he also studied and played the violin.

The text was written by Jane Parker Huber. She was born in China outgrow up in Hanover with her parents, Albert & Katharine. She married her Hanover born childhood sweetheart, Bill Huber, who was the founding pastor at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. They lived there for 33 years before retiring in 1988.

Her primary reason for the text was the partnership of men and of women as elders and the twenty-fifth anniversary of women ordained to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. The language of the text is not limited to gender issues. It speaks of many kinds of painful, needless, and inappropriate divisions within the church. It challenges those who sing and hear it to work for reconciliation and wholeness. The author indicated references to: John 15:12-17, Galatians 6:2 and Ephesians 2:14-22.

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