Excerpts from John 17 (King James Version)
…Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
A few years ago my mom went to her hometown of Beaver, Pennsylvania. Upon returning from her trip, she told me how she was looking through some of my Grandpa’s old things tucked away in the attic when she found something that she wanted me to have: a well-worn King James Bible.
I don’t remember much about my Grandpa because he died when I was four, but as I opened the Bible I was amazed to find a few passages marked by old newspaper clippings. As I flipped to the marked pages, I felt close to my Grandpa knowing I was reading the same passages he had read years ago. What most amazed me was that I had already written a theme for a choir piece and had been looking for a text to go with it. As I read John 17:9, I came to Jesus saying, “I pray for them” and stopped. These words fitted perfectly with the music playing in my head and I realized the text I had been looking for had dropped into my lap.
What follows is John 17, one of the passages my Grandpa had marked in his Bible. In this chapter, Jesus is praying before his crucifixion. While I wanted to put entire chapter to music, it was too long so instead I took excerpts from the three main sections in which Jesus prays for himself, for the apostles, and for all believers.
I usually have to do a lot of searching to find a meaningful reason to write a piece. This one found me. It moved me and I hope it moves you too.
- Performance: 1st United Methodist Church Choir, Denton, TX, May 2013.
- Performance: Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers (CFAMC) 2013 National Conference, March 2013.
- Performance: New Voices Festival 2013 at the Catholic University of America, March 2013.
- Premiere: Trinity University Senior Composition Recital, Trinity University Chamber Singers, April 6, 2010