March 08, 2005

8R Bring, O Morn, Your Music

Original Title: "Bring, O Morn, Thy Music," William Channing Gannett (1893), NICAEA, John Bacchus Dykes (1861); New Title: "Bring, O Morn, Your Music," rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. William Channing Gannett, born in Boston, served Unity Church (Unitarian) in St. Paul, and the Unitarian Church in Rochester, where Susan B. Anthony was amongst his congregants. The last line of each verse echoes Revelations 1:8 (which see), but the hymn as a whole personifies and praises nature, bordering on panentheism (although the lyrics textually have nature worshiping God as well, as "Our Creator" and "Mighty Giver"). See also Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-14, "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist." Gannett wrote the hymn as a summary of the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. It appears in Singing the Living Tradition as "Bring, O Morn, Thy Music, as no. 39, but does not appear in The New Century Hymnal. This version of NICAEA is in F-sharp, although NICAEA in Hymns of the Spirit Two is in E-flat. See No. 17R herein for a version of NICAEA in E-flat.

NICAEA (12.13.12.10.)

1. Bring, O Morn, your mus-ic! Night,~your star-lit si-lence!
O-ceans, laugh the rap-ture to the storm winds cours-ing free!
Suns and pla-nets cho-rus: you are our Cre-a-tor,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!

2. Life and death, your crea-tures, praise~you, Migh-ty Gi-ver!
Praise and prayer are ris-ing in your beast and bird and tree:
Lo! they praise and van-ish, van-ish at your bidd-ing,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!


3. Light us! lead us! love us! cry~your grop-ing na-tions,
speak-ing in a thou-sand tongues, your name a-lone the plea;
weav-ing free-ly out your ho-ly, hap-py pur-pose,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!


4. Life nor death can part us, you~O Love E-ter-nal,
shep-herd of the wan-dering star and souls that way-ward flee!
Home-ward draws the spir-it to your spir-it yearn-ing,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be! A-men.

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April 08, 2005

31R Thou Art O God the Life and Light

Original Title: "Thou Art, O God, the Life and Light," Thomas Moore (1816), MACH'S MIT MIR, GOTT, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Johann Hermann Schein (1645), harmony by J. S. Bach; New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), OLD 113TH, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Matthäus Greiter (1500-1552). Thomas Moore was a Roman Catholic and Irish Nationalist. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal. "With thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light," Psalm 36:9. "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come," The Song of Songs 2:12. "Clouds of heaven," Daniel 7:13, Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62.

OLD 113TH (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. Thou art, O God, the Life and Light
of all this won-drous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night,
are but re-flec-tions caught from thee;
Wher-e'er we turn, thy glo-ries shine:
all things beau-teous and bright are thine.

2. When day, with fare-well beam, de-lays
a-mong the open-ing clouds of even,
and we can al-most think we gaze
through gold-en vis-tas in-to heaven,
those hues, that make the sun's de-cline
so soft, so ra-diant, God, are thine.

3. When budd-ing spring a-round us breathes
thy spir-it warms a fra-grant sigh,
and eve-ry flower the sum-mer wreathes
is born be-neath that kind-ling eye--
Wher-e'er we turn, thy glo-ries shine:
all things beau-teous and bright are thine.

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January 01, 2006

327R All Blessings Are Scattered

Original Title: "The Lord, In His Righteousness," Katharine Huntington Annin (1923), NETHERLANDS FOLKSONG, Irregular, Traditional Melody; New Title: "All Blessings Are Scattered," rev. REH (2006), DOWN AMPNEY, 6.6.11.6.6.11., Ralph Vaughn Williams (1906). Annin was an American Congregationalist. The revised version switches the position of stanzas one and two; thus the wholly dissimiliar names. "And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness,'" Jeremiah 23:6. Luke 4:14-18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free;" see also Isaiah 61:1. The hymn does not appear in either Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

DOWN AMPNEY (6.6.11.6.6.11.)

1. All bles-sings are scat-tered like rains from high~est heav-ens;
like dews on the fields when the grass is new mown;
peace is de-scend-ing, a~bun-dant, nev-er en-ding;
pris-oners and op-pressed are count-ed as God's own.

2. Sove-reign of right-eous-ness judg-eth all with~all jus-tice,
the moun-tains and hills by God's reign are se-cure;
peo-ples of all~na-tions through-out ge-ne-ra-tions
shall sing praise as long as the Sun shall en-dure.

3. From sea to sea shall be Love's true do-min-ion spread,
from the ends of the Earth to where riv-ers run;
the isles of deep~o-ceans shall of-fer de-vo-tions,
Ru-lers shall bow down, and all lands pray as one.

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328R O Pure Reformers, Not in Vain

Original Title: "O Pure Reformers, Not in Vain," John Greenleaf Whittier (1843), COVENTRY, C.M., Samuel Howard (c. 1762); New Title: same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), ST. ANNE, C.M., William Croft (1708). Whittier was an 19th Century American Quaker poet, and a well-known advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, nor in The New Century Hymnal. Though the hymn predates both his ministry and the holiday, many may find it appropriate to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The lyrics speak most directly to Ephesians 4:11-16, which tells of prophets and teachers sent to "equip the saints" so that we might not be like children "tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine." Also notable are echoes of the conflict between "lies" and "truth" in the gospel of John, see John 17:17, John 8:44.

ST. ANNE (C.M.)

1. O pure re-form-ers! not in vain,
your trust in hu-man-kind;
the good which blood-shed could not gain,
your peace-ful zeal shall find.


2. The truths you urge are borne a-broad
by eve-ry wind and tide;
the voice of na-ture and of God
speaks out up-on your side.

3. The wea-pons which your hands have found
are those which heaven has wrought,
light, truth, and love; your bat-tle ground,
the free, broad field of thought.

4. O may no self-ish pur-pose break
the beau-ty of your call,
no lie from throne or al-tar shake
your stead-y faith in all.


5. Press on! and if we may not share
the glo-ry of your cry,
we'll ask at least, in earn-est prayer,
that your dreams may not die. A-men.

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342R Turn Back

Original Title: "Turn Back, O Man, Forswear Thy Foolish Ways," Clifford Bax, OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10), Genevan Psalter (1551); New Title: "Turn Back," rev. REH (2008), same hymn tune. Ezekiel 18:32 (NRSV), "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live;" 2 Samuel 1:7-8, "Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad?" 2 Samuel 7:10, "And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more;" 2 Samuel 18:7-8, "The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country;" 2 Samuel 23:3-4, "One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning." See also Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4. The hymn appears in Singing the Living tradition as hymn no. 120 also as "Turn Back;" it differs from the words here inasmuch as the SLT version assigns earth definitively to the "neutral" pronoun "it," rather than leaving earth's gender ambiguous as here. The words below likewise do not make use of the adjective "fair" in describing the earth, unlike in SLT and in the original version.

OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10)

1. Turn back, turn back, for-swear thy fool-ish ways;
Old now is earth, and none may count the days;
Yet thou, earth's child, whose head is crowned with flame;
Still wilt not hear thine in-ner God pro-claim,
"Turn back, turn back, for-swear thy fool-ish ways."

2. Earth might be free; all peo-ple glad and wise;
Age after age our tra-gic em-pires rise;
Built while we dream, and in that dream-ing weep:
Would we but wake from out our haunt-ed sleep;
Earth might be free; all peo-ple glad and wise.

3. Earth shall be free, and all earth's peo-ple one:
Nor till that hour shall God's whole will be done.
Now, even now, once more from earth to sky;
Peals forth in joy the old un-daunt-ed cry:
"Earth shall be free and all earth's folk be one!"

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