Libretto sung by
Small Vocal Group in
Homes for the aged in north-east Adelaide


1. The Overture

Composer's notes

The opening choral anthem takes the challenging words from The Revelation - 'He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches'. Those who overcome are promised 'the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem'.

Declaration Anthem - Soprano lead



Introduction

A few minutes of well-chosen words to explain what an oratorio is, a brief history of this work, its message, and the way in which the shortened presentation will work. This is basically a "get-to-know-you" time before we start.

A decision is made before the start of each presentation as to whether or not the audience will be encouraged to participate in the singing of a repeat of the last portion of the last song in each of the brackets.



Part 1
THE EARTHLY JERUSALEM



2. Galilee, Sweet Galilee

Composer's notes

This describes the land and time of Christ's popularity, which He must soon leave behind for the harshness of Jerusalem.

Unaccompanied Narration

    In Galilee, in Galilee, where water laps and ancient shore and falls from many a boatman’s oar, in Galilee.

    In Galilee, in Galilee, they came to know Him by the sea. By the sea He called those fishermen to leave their nets and follow.

    Gladly people heard Him and gladly people came. The poor and heavy-laden gathered - the blind, the sick, the lame.

    It’s a land that I remember... My children gathered without number for loaves and fishes and friendship warm. O Galilee, sweet Galilee.



4. One Shepherd, One Flock.
5. The Shepherd’s Song

Composer's notes

The Good Shepherd laments over the condition of His sheep, but looks beyond the giving of His life to the time when His sheep will hear His voice and gather together as one flock.

Unaccompanied Narration

    I am the good shepherd, I enter by the door. My flock is led by thieves and robbers, and wolves have torn the young ones sore.

    But I have come to save the sheep, and lay My life down for them. I know My own - They’ll hear My voice; my voice will surely draw them.

    And then I’ll gather them together - They will surely come. They’ll hear My voice, I know they will. Of flocks and folds, there’ll be just one.


Ballad - Baritone & harmonies

    I am the good shepherd, but look at My sheep. They are scattered and forlorn. I am the door of the sheepfold, but where are My sheep? They are scattered and forlorn. Scattered and forlorn.

    I will lay My life down for them, and they will surely come. They will hear My voice and gather, they will surely come. Yes, they will hear My voice and gather, they will surely come.

    Surely, surely come, they will surely come.

    I will provide some pastures for them, some pastures green. I’ll lead them out so they can find some, some pastures green. I know My own and My own know Me, I will bring them too. I have some others in other sheepfolds, I will bring them too. And I will bring them all together, they shall be one.

    Yes, I will bring them all together, they shall be one. They shall, shall be one, and they shall be one.

    [John 10:1-17]


6. They shall be One

    An earlier version of the Processional Anthem, without the soloist and the the choral responses, is employed here because without a decent sized choir it is not possible to create the effect the score portrays.

Composer's notes

The abbreviated 'pastorale' flute solo sets the scene for the processional anthem, which describes the gathering together of His sheep from every nation and tribe, from every mountain and valley. This future gathering will be made possible through the laying down of Christ’s life.


Pastorale - Flute Solo

Processional Anthem

    From the mountains and the valleys, from the hills and from the plains, every tribe and every kindred and tongue shall come, and they shall be one.

    From the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, out of great tribulation they shall come and shall be one in My name.

    Every flock and every family of God shall be united, they will hear My voice and know My voice, and they shall come and they shall be one.

    From the highlands they shall march, from the deserts they shall ride, from the canyons they shall fly as the eagles, and they shall be one.

    And they shall be one, and they shall be one. And they shall be one, and they shall be one.


Chorale

    This is my commandment: 'I have power to lay it down'. Wherever there is liberty, I can lay it down.

    We can be together, wherever we lay it down.

    We can be one, we can be one. Wherever this song is sung, we can be together. Wherever this word is heard, 'I can lay it down'.

    We can be one, we can be one, we can be one...



Participation (not in every presentation)

further Composer's notes

As Jesus, the good shepherd, looked upon the scattered condition of His sheep, He declared that the "commandment" or charge that He had received from the Father, was the "power to lay down His life" for the sheep. (John 10:17-18].

Looking beyond the agony of this free-will commitment, He spoke of the day when His sheep would hear His voice and gather as one flock. [verse 16].

These words of Jesus can become our song of commitment to the same love and willingness to "lay it down"; i.e. to lay down our lives for one another, and to lay down everything that prevents the unity He died for.

Wherever in all the world this song and word of "laying it down" is sung or heard, His people can be together, and can be one.

Participation

    This is my commandment: ‘I have power to lay it down’. Wherever there is liberty, I can lay it down. We can be together, wherever we lay it down. We can be one, we can be one. Wherever this song is sung, we can be together. Wherever this word is heard, ‘I can lay it down’. We can be one, we can be one, we can be one....

    [Rev 7:9, 14; John 10:16,18]



7. Galilee Farewell

Composer's notes

Christ must now face the city of His destiny, the city that will soon be made desolate for her rejection of Him. ‘Weep, and weep, and weep, and cry, for Jerusalem’.

Unaccompanied Narration

    Galilee, sweet Galilee, before Me lies My destiny. My Father calls, I’ve set My face, to walk the course, to run the race - but even still, it’s sad to leave this place.

    Jerusalem, Jerusalem, fortress of intolerance, of ruthless pride and arrogance. Thou sepulchre of holy ones that silenced gospel words and quenched prophetic fire. Defiant mountain, how you stand - A lion poised and ready, crouched and watchful, waiting for the kill.

    But there beyond, I see a joy - A hope, a goal, a mystery, a city bright is coming into view. Beyond the cross I see - Jerusalem the New.


9. My Temple: My Body

Composer's notes

The disciples are told of His coming passion, and of the destruction of the earthly temple in preparation for the raising up of the new temple, which is His body. They are introduced at the ‘last supper’ to the elements of participation in His broken body and shed blood.

Narration

    Then what shall become of all this here - This building proud and standing here - This people, nation, gathered here - This kingdom badly scattered here?

    There shall not be one stone here, that’s left upon another here. And now I leave this temple here, Never to return. And men will look to find me here, or maybe in the desert near, or perhaps inside the temple here. But you will know where I will be, for where My body is, there the eagles will gather.

    Now I will show you what I mean, at this our last and farewell meal; for here is bread and here is wine - Gather now, Eat and drink, and so be mine. For it shall always be that where the eagles eat and drink and gather there as one - There is my body, There is my blood, there am I.


11. In Your Name

Composer's notes

Jesus then prays for His disciples of all ages, that the Father will keep them in His name and make them one just as He and the Father are one. Jesus then prays for His disciples of all ages, that the Father will keep them in His name and make them one just as He and the Father are one. The depth of this timeless prayer is translated into the confident certainty of the unity for which He prayed.


Responsive Chorale

    In Your name, in Your name, Father keep them in Your Name.
    I have glorified Your name, and will glorify Your name. Father, glorify Your name.

    In Your name, In Your name, Father keep them in Your Name.
    So that they may all be one, just as You and I are one, I in them and Thou in me.

    [John 17:1-23]


12. The Cup

Composer's notes

The Son proceeds to the garden called Gethsemane where He must take from His own Father ‘the cup’ of the sin of mankind. ‘If it be possible...’ He cries, but ‘nevertheless...I’ll take the cup’. Thus commences His solemn anguish.

Narration

    In anguish to the garden now - to pray, to ask the Father now - to take the cup.

    In anguish to the Father now - All things are possible to You - if it be possible for You - Nevertheless, I’ll take the cup.

    Sleep on, I go to be the offering now. To trial and cruel death. Alone I go.

    [Mark 14: 34-36, 41]


15. O Lamb, most pure

Composer's notes

As an elegy for Christ’s death, the soloist laments the death of the Saviour of the world. The spotless Lamb of God is lifted up; now we see His face and adore Him, with a humility and reverence echoed in the ‘consummation’ harp postlude.

Elegy

    As the swifts fly over the walls, and the walls are alive with the echo of violent cries, and the cries are alive with the torment and pain of mankind; there the Lord is crucified.


Adoration hymn

    O Lamb, most pure,
    Your face of light brings all my darkness to Your sight,
    For You alone are wholly right.
    Your blood, Your blood, O Lamb of God, can make me holy white.


18. The Consolation

Composer's notes

The faith of His commitment to the Father, and the ecstacy of His consolation in the Father’s bosom are expressed in both the arioso and the chorale ‘Into Your Hands I commit My Spirit’.


Arioso - Ladies

    He drew me out of many waters,
    receiving Me into his bosom,
    therefore I say:

Solo

    Into Your hands I commit My spirit, into Your arms I commit My soul,
    for You are my rock, Jehovah, provider,
    You are my rock, El Shaddai, My hiding place.

Arioso

    Mercy and truth have met together,
    peace and righteousness have kissed each other,
    therefore I say:

Chorale

    Into Your hands I commit My spirit,
    Into Your arms I commit My soul,
    For You are my rock, Jehovah, provider,
    You are My rock, El Shaddai, My hiding place.

    (Amen Chorus is not sung)



Participation (not in every presentation)

further Composer's notes

Having passed through the agony of accepting 'the cup' of mankind's sin, and then being forsaken by the Father, Jesus committed Himself in faith to the Father, and found peace and consolation in His bosom [Luke 23:46].

Here too is the hope of believers, the consolation for all those in grief or suffering, for in the expression of commitment to the Father's will, there comes the eternal consolation of relationship with Him.

Participation

    Into Your hands I commit My spirit, Into Your arms I commit My soul, For You are my rock, Jehovah, provider, You are My rock, El Shaddai, My hiding place

    [Psalm 18:16, 85:10; Luke 23:46]



Part 2
THE NEW JERUSALEM


24. My Body: My People
25. Where are the eagles?

Composer's notes

Where is the body? Where is His temple? What is the New Jerusalem? For whom has He wept and cried? In the soliloquy, the violin reflects on the themes and leads us to the answer - His people, the eagles. Eagles are used in the scriptures as symbolic of believers. The fact that they are creatures of vision that feed on a slain body, provides the background to the poetic question 'where are the eagles?' The narrator declares that 'eagles' know where the body of Christ is. It is to be found where believers gather as the living body to partake of the broken body of Christ. 'Where are the eagles?' .... where are those whose instinct is to gather in unity as the body of Christ; why don't they see and fly home?

Narration

    I said before, that men would look to find Me here, and some would search the desert near, or wait inside the temple here.

    I said before that you would know, and do you know where the body is?

    I said before, where my body is, there the eagles will gather together. For My body is where the eagles are, eating and drinking, gathered as one; and there am I, in the midst of them.

    Here is my body, where are the eagles?


Chorale

    Where are the eagles? Where are the eagles? Why don't they hear, why don't they see? And why don't they fly home?

    Make your flight in the summer, make your flight before the winter, before iniquity makes love of many cold. Make it right with your brother before the night hour is over, before the lightning flash when the Son will then appear. Some will say 'here', some will say 'there', only a few will say 'prepare' Now is the end, the time it is near, nations are failing now for fear.

    There’s an Eagle, there's a Man, there's a Lion, there's a Lamb, there’s a body gathered here, but where, Lord... Where are the eagles, where are the eagles? Why don't they hear, why don't they see? And why don't they fly home?

    No, He is not in the desert, No He will not come to the temple, but where the body is found - there will eagles fly! Those who are there, He will gather; those who are not, He will scatter, before the lightning flash when the Son will then appear.

    There's an Eagle, there's a Man, there's a Lion, there's a Lamb, there's a body gathered here but where, Lord? ... aaah... Why don't they fly home? Why don't they fly home?

    Young men be swift, old men be strong, knowing the time is not too long. All men repent, all men believe, come with the eagles, come receive. Oo oo oo oo........

    [Matt 24:12, 20, 23; 24:26, 27, 28; Lk 21:26; Rev 4:7; Rev 5:5,6]


26. Gather Now
27. Hope of Unity

Composer's notes

It is the time for God’s people to come together and express the unity of the body of Christ. The chorale declares the certain hope of such a unity.


Narration

    Young men be swift, old men be strong, knowing the time is not too long. All men repent, all men believe, come with the eagles, Come receive.

    The poet said, ‘There’s a time for this, and a time for that’... But now it’s time to gather. It’s time to hope, it’s time to love. It’s time to believe and cleave together - to be the body, to be the eagles.

    The time has come to leave all else. The time has come to lay it down. No price is too great, No enemy too strong.

    The time is short, the time has come, to gather now, together now. As one.


Aria - Baritone and Contralto duet

    Gather now, together now, to the throne of My great power. Here is My body, the cup of blessing; take it now, drink it now, all together.

    This is My body, My broken body, This is My body broken for you.


Chorale

    O how I love - the Spirit from above is planting deeply in me the hope of unity.

    O how I love, O how I love, the hope of unity is planted deeply within me. O how I love - the Spirit from above is planting deeply in me the hope of unity. O how I love, O how I love, the hope of unity is planted deeply within me.

    The hope of unity is planted deeply within me. Aaaaah.



Participation (not in every presentation)

further Composer's notes

As expressed in the previous songs, the promise of the good shepherd in John 10, the prayer of Christ in John 17, and the offer of His body and blood as a communion with Him and in Him, all combine to plant within us a compelling vision for the visible unity of His people, and draw forth a cry of commitment to love one another.

Participation

    O how I love - the Spirit from above is planting deeply in me the hope of unity. O how I love, O how I love, the hope of unity is planted deeply within me. O how I love - the Spirit from above is planting deeply in me the hope of unity. O how I love, O how I love, the hope of unity is planted deeply within me. The hope of unity is planted deeply within me.



Closing comments

At this point, one of the group may share a few thoughts that are pertinent to the moment, often relating to the work as a whole and its message of "hope" to all.



31. Communion Chorus

Composer's notes

In the certain hope of Christian unity, this celebration anthem looks forward to when believers will be able to eat and drink at one table of friends; no longer divided by separate doctrinal distinctions and traditional divisions; whereupon the blood of Christ, the royal blood, will be able to flow and bring life to the world.

Celebration Anthem - Tenor and harmonies

    I'll meet you here at one table of friends, we’ll meet at last at one table of friends.

    Where there once were many, let there now be one, and let the royal blood begin to flow.

    And I exchange the betrayer’s kiss, and I exchange my denying lips, for a mouth filled with praise and a heart filled with love.


The End


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Updated 29th October 2000