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April 19, 2005

41R O God, Your Wonders

Original Title: "Father, Thy Wonders Do Not Singly Stand," Jones Very (1839, 1846), OLD FIRST, 10.10.10.10., later form of melody in Genevan Psalter (1542); New Title: "O God, Your Wonders (Do Not Singly Stand)," rev. REH (2007), TOULON, 10.10.10.10., abridged from Genevan Psalter (1551). The hymn is based on two poems, both called "The Spirit-Land," one written in 1839 and which begins "Father, thy wonders do not singly stand; the second, written in 1846 of the same title, begins "Open our eyes . . ." Very was a Unitarian minister, and Transcendentalist poet, contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who is said to have "gone mad" at an early age. "Spirit land" seems to be an invocation (albeit infrequent) of heaven even in conventional Christian hymns. For example, Samuel Greg's 1854 hymn, "Stay, Master, Upon This Heavenly Hill," entreats Jesus to "let us linger a little longer . . . and catch a glimpse into spirit land." Very seems, by contrast, to place this spirit land not somewhere distant or obscure, but rather somewhere "richly . . . displayed," in an "enchanted land" that lies ever around us. God gave us inspiration and intuition; Very seems to tell us we should not waste these precious gifts that are "at hand;" that is, available to us. Such is the language Jesus used too in speaking of the Kingdom of God, in images so often misunderstood by his followers. Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15. "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?,” Mark 10:17. "When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him," Luke 5:11 (NRSV). The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal.

TOULON (10.10.10.10.)

1. O God! your won-ders do not sing-ly stand,
nor far re-moved where feet have sel-dom strayed;
A-round us ev-er lies th'en-chant-ed land;
Rich mar-vels to your child-ren thus dis-played.

2. In find-ing you are all things round us found;
In los-ing you are all things lost be-side;
Ears have we but in vain strange voic-es sound,
and to our eyes the vi-sion is de-nied.


3. O-pen our eyes that we that world may see,
o-pen our ears that we your voice may hear,
and in the spir-it-land may ev-er be,
and feel your pre-sence with us al-ways near.

Word Score
PDF Score
Noteworthy Composer File

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Posted by rehurst at April 19, 2005 10:50 PM

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