May 24, 2005

67R O Thou Whose Power Over Moving Worlds Presides

Original Title: "O Thou Whose Power Over Moving World Presides," Boethius (480-525), trans. Samuel Johnson (1750), OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10), Genevan Psalter (1551); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Boethius was a Roman statesman; his most famous work was The Consolations of Philosophy. He has been thought both a Christian and indeed a Christian martyr, yet his most famous work does not mention Christ or the Christian religion, and seems in the eyes of some to speak only the language of neo-Platonism (in a narrow sense, "a philosophical dialogue modelled on strictly pagan productions"). Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), also the name of the Unitarian hymnwriter from the 19th century (see no. 219R), here refers instead to the Englishman from a century before. Johnson was the subject of perhaps the earliest and best-known biography in English, written by John Boswell. A stanza of Boethius' original Latin has been added. "legem pone mihi Domine in via tua et dirige me in semita recta propter inimicos meos," Pslam 26:11 (Vulgate); "But as for me, I will go on in my upright ways: be my saviour, and have mercy on me," Psalm 26:11 (BBE); see also Proverbs 15:24, 12:28. "Dominus solus dux eius fuit et non erat cum eo deus alienus," Deuteronomy 32:12 (Vulgate); "So the Lord only was his guide, no other god was with him," Deuteronomy 32:12 (BBE); Exodus 13:21, 15:13, Acts 1:16. "[T]imor Domini principium," Proverbs 1:7a (Vulgate); "Start with God- the first step in learning is bowing down to God," Proverbs 1:7a (The Message); see also Proverbs 4:7, Proverbs 9:10. "[Christ] is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead," Colossians 1:18a (YLT); "[] qui est principium primogenitus ex mortuis," Colossians 1:18a (Vulgate). Romans 11:33 (KJV), "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" 1 Corinthians 2:7 (KJV), "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory," see also 1 Corinthians 1:24. Psalms 104:24 (KVJ), "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom, hast thou made them all," see also Psalm 136:5, Proverbs 3:19. Jeremiah 10:12 (KJV), "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." Genesis 1:14, "And God said, let there be lights," see also Genesis 7:24. The hymn is not included in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10)

1. O Thou whose power o'er mov-ing worlds pre-sides,
whose voice cre-a-ted, and whose wis-dom guides,
On the dim earth in pure ef-ful-gence shine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine.

2. 'Tis thine a-lone to calm the re-verent breast,
with si-lent con-fi-dence and ho-ly rest;
from thee, great God! we spring, to thee we tend,
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!

a. Tu nam-que se-re-num,
Tu re-qui-es tran-quil-la pi-is.
Te cer-ne-re fi-nis,
Prin-ci-pi-um, Vec-tor, Dux,
Se-mi-ta, Ter-mi-nus, I-dem.

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January 01, 2006

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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June 14, 2006

607R O Blessed Seekers

Title: "O Blessed Seekers," United Presbyterian Psalter (1887), Psalm 1, adapted by REH (2007), ST. CATHERINE, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Henri F. Hemy (1865). Psalm 1 is a Revised Common Lectionary text for Epiphany 6C, Proper 18C/Ordinary 23C, Proper 20B/Ordinary 25B, Easter 7B and Proper 25A/Ordinary 30A. SUSSEX CAROL and FOLKINGHAM are alternative hymn tunes.

ST. CATHERINE (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. O bless-ed seek-ers do not stray
on smooth stones laid to tempt our feet,
nor fol-low down a thought-less way,
nor sit up-on the cyn-ic's seat:
But on the Tor-ah take de-light,
and med-i-tate both day and night.

2. They shall be like tall trees in spring
where clear, clean wat-ers gent-ly mist,
which dark-blue ber-ries count-less bring,
and ev-er green the leaves per-sist:
Thus shall pros-per-i-ty re-vive
the good, green Earth, and all hearts thrive.

3. Not so the self-ish lot, for they
as dust, in heat and wind, are spent;
they plun-der through each judg-ment day,
and do not dance through life con-tent:
God's Earth sus-tains a good, green trail;
des-truc-tive ways shall not pre-vail.

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