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.

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April 27, 2005

47R Come Thou Almighty Will!

Original Title: "Come Thou Almighty Will," Hymns of the Spirit One (1864), ITALIAN HYMN, 6.6.4.6.6.4., adapted from Felice Giardini (1769); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Hymns of the Spirit One (1864) was edited by Samuel Longfellow. The hymn recites numerous names and titles for the spirit of God; "Almighty Will," echoing the spirit that blowest "where it listeth," John 3:8 (KJV); "Calm of faith's confidence," recalling the title "Comforter" from John 4:16 and John 15:26; "most Tender Love," suggesting the "Love of God" in 1 John 4:9 and the equivalence of "God is Love" from 1 John 14:16; see also Romans 5:5, "Light serene," remembering too that "God is light," 1 John 1:5; Psalm 27:1. "Quickener," as quicken is now in most translations "revive," suggests the "giver of life" from the historic creeds, or the "spirit of life," Romans 8:2 (NRSV); Revelations 11:11 (KJV) and the "breath of the almighty," Job 33:4. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

ITALIAN HYMN (6.6.4.6.6.6.4.)

1. Come, thou Al-might-y Will!
Our faint-ing bos-soms fill
with thy great power:
Strength of our good in-tents,
our tempt-ed hour's de-fense,
calm of faith's con-fi-dence,
come, in this hour!

2. Come, thou most ten-der Love!
With-in our spir-its move,
their sweet-est guest:
Ex-alt each low de-sire,
trans-form-ing pas-sion's fire,
to deeds of love in-spire,
Quicken-er and Rest!

3. Come, Light ser-ene and still!
Our gloom-y spir-its fill
with thy clear day:
Guide of the fee-ble sight,
Star of grief's low-est night,
re-veal the path of right,
show us thy way! A-men.


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May 19, 2005

60R O You Whose Presence Glows In All

Original Title: "O God, Whose Presence Glows in All," Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham (1828), O SALUTARIS HOSTIA, L.M., Abbè Duguet (1767), alternative tune, WAREHAM, L.M., William Knapp (1738); New Title: "O You Whose Presence Glows in All," rev. REH (2005), O SALUTARIS HOSTIA, L.M. Forthingham (1793-1870), was an American Unitarian and minister at First Church in Boston. The hymn appears in neither The New Century Hymnal nor in Singing the Living Tradition. "May your love and your truth always protect me," Psalm 40:10-11 (NIV), see also Psalm 26:3, 52:3. "Speaking the truth in love," Ephesians 4:15 (Webster's Bible), see also Colossians 1:5. 1 Corinthians 13:6 (NRSV), "[Love] does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth," see also 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:18, 2 John 1:3. "In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them," Isaiah 63:9.

O SALUTARIS HOSTIA (L.M.)

1. O You whose pre-sence glows in all,
with-in, a-round us, and a-bove,
your words we bless; your names we call,
your words are Truth; your names spell Love.

2. The truth be with the heart be-lieved,
of all who seek this sa-cred place,
with power pro-claimed, in peace re-ceived,
our spir-its light, your spir-it's grace.

3. May Love its ho-ly in-fluence pour
to keep us hum-ble; make us true;
and free us with its bless-ings more
round each with all, and all with You.

4. Send down Love's an-gel to our side,
send in Love's calm up-on the breast;
For we would know no oth-er guide;
We have no need of oth-er rest.

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June 06, 2005

75R Light of Ages and of Nations

Original Title: "Light of Ages and of Nations," Samuel Longfellow, AUSTRIA, 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7., Franz Joseph Haydn (1797); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2006), IN BABILONE, 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7., Traditional Dutch melody (c. 1710). The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but does appear in Singing the Living Tradition, to the tune AUSTRIA as no. 190 and IN BABILONE as no. 189. Colossians 3:11 (ESV), "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all." Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." 1 Corinitians 12:13, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit." Roman 10:12, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him;" see also Romans 3:9, 2:14-15, 1:14-16. Jeremiah 31:33 (NRSV), "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts." Psalms 27:1 (KJV), "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalms 36:9, "For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light." James 5:10, "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience," see also Luke 1:67, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Chronicles 33:18, Ezekiel 3:11, Luke 4:17, Acts 13:15.

IN BABILONE (8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7.)

1. Light of a-ges and of na-tions,
eve-ry race and eve-ry time
has re-ceived your in-spi-ra-tions,
glimp-ses of your truth sub-lime.
al-ways spir-its in rapt vi-sion
passed the heaven-ly veil with-in,
al-ways hearts bow-ed in con-tri-tion
found sal-va~tion from their sin.


2. Rea-son's no-ble as-pi-ra-tion
truth in grow-ing clear-ness saw;
Con-science spoke its con-dem-na-tion,
or pro-claimed th'e-ter-nal law.
While your in-ward re-ve-la-tions
told your saints their prayers were heard,
pro-phets to the guil-ty na-tions
spoke your ev-er-las-ting word.

3. Lo, that word a-bi-deth ev-er,
re-ve-la-tion is not sealed.
An-swering now to our en-dea-vor,
truth and right are still re-vealed.
That which came to an-cient sa-ges,
Greek, Bar-bar-ian, Ro-man, Jew,
writ-ten in the soul's deep pa-ges,
shines to-day, for-ev-er new!

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June 21, 2005

90R The Morning Hangs a Signal

Original Title: "The Morning Hangs a Signal," William Channing Gannett, MEIRIONYDD, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., William Lloyd (1840); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2007), same hymn tune. 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 while a pastor in Rochester, New York. "I appointed you a prophet to the nations . . . Now I have put my words in your mouth," Jeremiah 1:5, 9 (NRSV). "No prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown," Luke 4:24. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?," Psalm 27:1 (KJV). "But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings," Malachi 4:2 (NRSV); see also Psalm 19:5-6, 84:11, Matthew 13:43, Isaiah 58:8. "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star, Revelation 22:16 (KJV), see also Joel 2:2. "Is not my word like fire," Jeremiah 23:29 (NRSV); see also Jeremiah 5:14. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but it does appear in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 40, slightly modified from how it appears in Hymns of the Spirit Two, and in a form with minor differences from below.

MEIRIONYDD (7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6.)

1. The morn-ing hangs a sig-nal
up-on the moun-tain crest,
while all the sleep-ing val-leys
in sil-ent dark-ness rest;
From peak to peak it flash-es,
it laughs a-long the sky,
til glo-ry of the sun-light
on all the land doth lie.

2. A-bove the gen-er-a-tions,
the lone-ly proph-ets rise,
while truth flings dawn and day-star
with-in their glow-ing eyes;
And oth-er eyes, be-hold-ing,
are kind-led from that flame,
and dawn be-com-eth morn-ing,
as proph-ehts Love pro-claim.

3. The soul hath lift-ed mo-ments,
a-bove the drift of days,
when life's great mean-ing break-eth
in sun-rise on our ways;
Be-hold the ra-diant to-ken
of faith a-bove all fear;
Night soon shall end its splen-dor
that morn-ing shall ap-pear.

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December 10, 2005

212R Christ Calls 'Take Up the Cross'

Original Title: "Thou Say'st, 'Take Up Thy Cross,'" Francis Turner Palgrave (1865), ST. THOMAS, S.M., Aaron Williams (1763); New Title: "Christ Call 'Take Up the Cross,'", rev. REH (2005), OLD 134TH (S.M.), Genevan Psalter (1543), arr. William Crotch (1836). The tune is also known as ST. MICHAEL and CALVIN. The text resonantes with Matthew 4:19(b): "Jesus ... said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.'" Matthew 4:19b (NRSV); see also Luke 5:11. Palgrave was a English Anglican, and also held a chair as professor of poetry at Oxford. The hymn appears neither in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 134 (S.M.)

1. Christ calls: 'Take up the cross,
O friends, then fol-low me,'
the night is dim,
the soles worn thin,
yet we fol-low free-ly.

2. Come faint and far the voice,
from vales of Gal-i-lee;
Vi-sion ere fades
in an-cient shades;
how do we serve free-ly?

3. O hea-vy cross of faith,
in what we can-not see,
as once re-store
the self of yore
as we fol-low free-ly.

4. If not as once you came
in true hu-man-i-ty
come yet with-in
as guest a-gain
so we fol-low free-ly.


5. With-in our heart of hearts,
in near-est near-ness be:
Set up a throne
with-in your own,
Christ, we fol-low free-ly.

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