April 16, 2005

39R There Is a Book

Original Title: "There Is a Book (Who Runs May Read)," John Keble (1819), DEDHAM (C.M.), William Gardiner (1812); New Title: "There Is a Book (Which All May Read)," rev. REH and Jim Clark (2005), KINGSFOLD (8.6.8.6.), arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1906). Keble was English, an exponent of the Oxford Movement, an Anglo-Catholic current within the Church of England. Gardiner and Vaughan Williams were both English. The original line from the hymn "who runs may read," is nothing if not obscure to modern speakers of English; it comes from Habakkuk: "Yahweh answered me, 'Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it.'" Habakkuk 2:2. At least one modern reading renders it this way: "Then the Lord replied: 'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.'" The latter suggests that the purpose of running with the revelation in hand is so that the herald may read it to those whom he meets along the way; the lyrics here have been recast to capture this sense of the words in even broader terms-- that revelation is available to all, without mediation, and likewise may be interpreted by all. "The word of God is living and active," Hebrews 4:12. "They read from the book, from the law of God," Nehemiah 8:8 (NRSV). Those wishing to limit the hymn to singing about the Hebrew scriptures, given the grounding of the original quotation in Habakkuk, may wish to substitute "Christ" with "Love."

KINGSFOLD (8.6.8.6.)

1. There is a book, which all may read,
which heaven-ly truth im-parts;
and all the tools its read-ers need,
broad minds and lov-ing hearts.
The lives of proph-ets here be-low,
and works of Christ all 'round,
are pa-ges in that book to show
how God is free-ly found.

2. The glor-ious sky, em-brac-ing all,
is like the Mak-er's love,
en-com-pass-ing the great and small,
with-in and high a-bove.
The dew of heaven is like your grace,
it steals in si-lence down;
But where it lights the fa-vored place,
its rich fruits spell re-nown.


3. The rag-ing sea, the roar-ing wind,
your bound-less power dis-play.
But in the gent-ler breeze un-dinned:
your spir-it's free-ing way.
To us you give [the faith] to doubt,
and love this earth with care;
Give us a heart to seek you out,
and read you eve-ry-where.

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May 06, 2005

52R O Thou Whose Spirit Witness Bears

Original Title: "O Thou Whose Spirit Witness Bears," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1891), STRACATHRO, C.M., alterantive tune, ST. AGNES (not shown), CHARLES HUTCHESON (1832); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2005), STRACATHRO, C.M. Frederick Lucian Hosmer was a Unitarian minister in the United States and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Romans 8:2 (NIV), "the Spirit of life set me free." "The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God," Romans 8:16 (KJV). "The written code killeth, but the Spirit giveth life," 2 Corinthians 3:6 (RSV) "We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe," 1 Timothy 4:10. 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now there doth remain faith, hope, love -- these three; and the greatest of these is love." Galatians 5:1, 5-6, "For freedom Christ has set us free . . . For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness . . . the only thing that counts is faith working through love." Ephesians 4:25, 5:2, "Let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors . . . and live in love." The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal (though it should, on both counts).

STRACATHRO (C.M.)

1. O Thou whose Spir-it wit-ness bears
with-in our spir-its free,
that we thy chil-dren are and heirs
of thine e-ter-ni-ty.


2. Here may this sim-ple faith sub-lime,
o’er-arch us like the sky;
Se-cure be-low the drift of time
its firm foun-da-tions lie.


3. Our thought o’er-flows each writ-ten scroll,
our creeds a-rise and fall;
The life of God with-in the soul
lives and out-lasts them all.


4. Here may that wit-ness clear-er grow,
each wait-ing heart with-in
the way of fil-ial du-ty show
and glad o-be-dience win.


5. Here be life’s sor-row sanc-ti-fied,
here truth its ra-diance pour;
While hope and faith and love a-bide
for-ev-er more and more! A-men.

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May 07, 2005

52S O You Whose Spirit Witness Bears

Original Title: "O Thou Whose Spirit Witness Bears," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1891), STRACATHRO, C.M., alterantive tune, ST. AGNES (not shown), CHARLES HUTCHESON (1832); New Title: "O You Whose Spirit Witness Bears," rev. REH (2005), NORWICH (OLD 137TH), C.M.D., Daye's Psalter (1563). Frederick Lucian Hosmer was a Unitarian minister in the United States and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Romans 8:2 (The Message), "The Spirit of life . . . like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from . . . brutal tyranny." "God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are," Romans 8:16. "The plan wasn't written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit," 2 Corinthians 3:6. "We're banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers," 1 Timothy 4:10. 1 Corinthians 13:13, "Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." Galatians 5:1, 5-6, "Christ has set us free to live a free life . . . We expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit . . . neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love." Ephesians 4:25, 5:2 (NRSV) "Let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors . . . and live in love." The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal (though it should, on both counts).

NORWICH (OLD 137TH)(C.M.D.)

1. O You whose Spir-it wit-ness bears
with-in our spir-its free,
that we your chil-dren are and heirs
of your e-ter-ni-ty.
Here may this sim-ple faith sub-lime,
shel-ter us like the sky;
Se-cure be-low the drift of time
its firm foun-da-tions lie.

2. Our thoughts flood out each writ-ten scroll,
our creeds a-rise and fall;
The life of God with-in the soul
lives and out-lasts them all.
Here may that wit-ness clear-er grow
each wait-ing heart with-in,
the way of ci-vic du-ty show
and faith-ful liv-ing win.

3. May life’s sor-rows be sanc-ti-fied,
may truth its ra-diance pour,
while hope and faith and love a-bide
for-ev-er more and more.
O You whose Spir-it wit-ness bears
with-in our spir-its free,
that we your chil-dren are and heirs
of your e-ter-ni-ty!

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June 05, 2005

74R Behold a Sower!

Original Title: "Behold a Sower!," Washington Gladden (1897), ELLACOMBE, C.M.D., Gesangbuch der Herzogl. Wirtembergischen Katolischen Hofkapelle (1784); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Gladden was a Congregationalist minister, well known for his writings and lectures on social concerns during the 19th Century. Luke 8:11 (KJV), "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God," see also 1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 3:9. Matthew 13:3, "And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow," see also Matthew 13:32, 1 Corinthians 9:11. Job 4:8, "Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same," see also Hosea 10:12, Galatians 6:7-8. 2 Peter 1:19, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts," see also Daniel 2:22, John 8:12, John 12:46, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Corinthians 4:4. The hymn does not appear in either Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

ELLACOMBE (C.M.D.)

1. Be-hold a Sow-er! from a-far
who go-eth forth with might,
whose fur-rows are the roll-ing years,
and seeds, the grow-ing light;
For all the just the Word is sown,
it spring-eth up al-ways;
The tend-er blade is Hope's young dawn,
the harv-est, Love's new days.

2. O Life of life, to thee we lift
our hearts in praise for those,
thy pro-phets, who have shown thy gift
of grace that ev-er grows,
of truth that spreads from shore to shore,
of wis-dom's widen-ing ray,
of light that shin-eth more and more
un-to thy per-fect day.

3. Shine forth, O Light, that we may see,
with hearts all un-a-fraid,
the mean-ing and the mys-ter-y
of things that thou hast made;
Shine forth, and let the sha-dowed past
be-neath thy beam grow bright;
Shine forth, and touch the fu-ture vast
with thine un-troubl-ed light.

4. Light up thy word; the fet-tered page
from kill-ing bon-dage free;
Light up our way; lead forth this age
in Love’s large li-ber-ty.
O Light of light! with-in us dwell,
through us thy ra-diance pour,
that word and life thy truths may tell,
and praise thee ev-er-more.

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June 07, 2005

76R It Sounds Along the Ages

Original Title: "It Sounds Along the Ages," William Channing Gannet, alt. (1937), CRÜGER, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., arranged by W. H. Monk from J. Crüger's Neues Wolllkömiisches Gesangbuch (1640); New Title: Same hymn title, BRITISH GRENADIERS, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., Traditional English Melody. It would seem that Gannett entitled the piece "The Word of God." William Channing Gannett (1840-1923) was an American Unitarian minister, particularly active within the Western Unitarian Conference. He was author of a document of great historical importance to the WUC entitled "Things Commonly Believed Among Us". He played a particularly important role in the women's suffrage movement in the United States; Susan B. Anthony was amongst his congregants. "Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit," 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV); see also 1 Corinthians 12:17, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28. "The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything," John 14:26 (NRSV); see also John 16:13. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but does appear in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 187, to the tune FAR OFF LANDS, 7.6.7.6. D, Melody of the Bohemian Brethren, Rock Island, Illinois (1892).

BRITISH GRENADIERS (7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6.)

1. It sounds a-long the a-ges,
soul an-swer-ing to soul;
It kin-dles on the pa-ges
of eve-ry Bi-ble scroll;
The psalm-ist heard and sang it,
from mar-tyr lips it broke,
and pro-phet tongues out-rang it
till sleep-ing na-tions woke.

2. From Si-nai's cliffs in ech-oed,
it breathed from Bud-dha's tree,
it charmed in Ath-en's mar-ket,
it hal-lowed Gal-i-lee;
The ham-mer stroke of Lu-ther,
the Pil-grims' sea-side prayer,
the or-a-cles of Con-cord:
one ho-ly Word de-clare.

3. It calls, and lo, new Jus-tice!
It speaks, and lo, new Truth!
In ev-er no-bler sta-ture
and un-ex-haus-ted youth.
For-ev-er on it sound-eth,
knows naught it-self of time,
our laws but catch the mus-ic
of its e-ter-nal chime.

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January 02, 2006

349R Eternal Ruler of the Ceaseless (Round)

Original Title: "Eternal Ruler, of the Ceaseless Round," John White Chadwick (1864), first tune, SONG 1, 10.10.10.10.10.10., (alternative FFIGYSBREN), Orlando Gibbons (1623), second tune STOCKPORT (YORKSHIRE), 10.10.10.10.10.10., John Wainwright (1750); New Title: "Eternal Ruler, of the Ceaseless (Round)," rev. REH (2006), STOCKPORT (YORKSHIRE), 10.10.10.10.10.10. Chadwick was a 19th Century American Unitarian minister, who was graduated from Harvard Divinity in 1864, and ordained at Second Unitarian in Brooklyn; he wrote for both the AUA publication The Christian Register and Harper's. The New Century Hymnal and Singing the Living Tradition do not contain the hymn. "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one," John 17:22 (KJV). Ephesians 2:17-19 (NRSV), "So [Christ] came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God." "Then [Jesus] got into the boat with them and the wind ceased," Mark 6:51," compare "let wind or weather be" in the last verse. 2 Corinthians 5:18, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation."

STOCKPORT (YORKSHIRE)(10.10.10.10.10.10.)

1. E-ter-nal Ru-ler of the cease-less round
of circ-ling pla-nets sing-ing on their way,
Guide of the na-tions from the night pro-found
in-to the glo-ry of the per-fect day;
rule in our hearts, that we may ev-er be
guid-ed and held by you and loved free-ly.


2. We are all yours, the chil-dren of your love,
the kind-red of your long-ex-pect-ed child;
des-cend, O ho-ly spir-it, like a dove
in-to our hearts, that we be re-con-ciled;
as one with you, to whom we ev-er tend;
as one with your be-lov-èd, our true friend.

3. We would be one in ha-tred of all wrong,
one in our love of all things sweet with care;
one with the joy that e'er breaks in-to song,
one with the grief that tremb-les in-to prayer,
one in the power that makes your chil-dren free
to fol-low truth, ev-er in li-ber-ty.

4. O clothe us with your heaven-ly ar-mor too,
your trus-ty shield, your sword of ho-ly love;
our in-spir-a-tion be your known word's due;
we ask no vic-tor-ies not from a-bove;
give or with-hold, let wind or wea-ther be,
e-nough to know that we do serve free-ly.

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