Stay Awake - Music Notes

By Ellen Jackson

A word about Sunday’s organ music . . .

The prelude and postlude are based on a German hymn tune, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (Awake, a voice is calling), inspired by Pastor Mark’s scripture for this Sunday, Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the ten bridesmaids. The hymn appears in our hymnal (No. 720), but is not well known to most United Methodists.


The words and music were written by Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608), a German pastor, probably at a time when the plague was rampant. His window looked out on the church cemetery, where as many as 30 people per day were being buried. He wrote, “There seemed to me nothing more sweet, delightful and agreeable, than the contemplation of the noble, sublime doctrine of Eternal life.  . . . This I allowed to dwell in my heart day and night, and searched the Scriptures as to what they revealed on this matter.” He penned these words: “Oh, come, you Blessed One, Lord Jesus, God’s own Son. Sing hosanna! We go until the halls we view where you have bid us dine with you. . . . No eye has seen, no ear has yet been trained to hear, what joy is ours!”

So we watch and wait and stay awake for what God has in store for us, on earth or in heaven.

The organ arrangements are by two well-known organist/composers. The prelude is by Paul Manz (1919-2009), who led several hymn festivals in Oklahoma City and served Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. The postlude is arranged by Aaron David Miller (b. 1972), musician at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.