April 10, 2005

33R The Spacious Firmament On High

Original Title: "The Spacious Firmament On High," Joseph Addison (1712), CREATION, L.M.D., Franz Joseph Haydn (1798); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Paraphrase of Psalm 19:1-6. Addison was English and Anglican. The version of CREATION here is in a different key from the version in Hymns of the Spirit Two. The hymn appears in a version remarkably akin to this in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 283; it does not appear in The New Century Hymnal.

CREATION (L.M.D.)

1. The spa-cious fir-ma-ment on high,
with all the blue e-the-real sky,
and spang-led heavens, a shin-ing frame
their great O-rig-i-nal pro-claim.
Th’un-wea-ried sun, from day to day,
does its Cre-a-tor's power dis-play,
and pub-li-shes to eve-ry land
the work of an al-might-y hand.

2. Soon as the eve-ning shades pre-vail
the moon takes up the won-drous tale,
and night-ly to the liste-ning earth
re-peats the sto-ry of its birth;
While all the stars that round it burn
and all the pla-nets in their turn,
con-firm the ti-dings as they roll,
and spread the truth from pole to pole.

3. What though in sol-emn si-lence all
move round the dim ter-res-trial ball?
What though no re-al voice nor sound
a-mid the ra-diant orbs be found?
In rea-son's ear they all re-joice,
and ut-ter forth a glo-rious voice,
for-ev-er sing-ing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is di-vine."


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April 11, 2005

34R Heaven and Earth and Sea and Air

Original Title: "Heaven and Earth and Sea and Air," Joachim Neander (1680), trans. James Drummond Burns, POSEN, 7.7.7.7., Georg Christoph Strattner (1691); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), GOTT SEI DANK, 7.7.7.7., Johann A. Freylinghausen (1704). Psalm 57:7-11, 108:1-5; see also Psalm 19. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but it does appear in a version translated by Madeleine Forrell Marshall (1993) as no. 566, in five stanzas, also to the tune GOTT SEI DANK, in The New Century Hymnal. For Joachim Neander, see the entry under no. 7R.

GOTT SEI DANK (7.7.7.7.)

1. Heaven and earth, and sea and air,
all their mak-er’s praise de-clare;
Wake, my soul, a-wake and sing:
Now thy grate-ful prais-es bring.

2. See the glo-rious orb of day
break-ing through the clouds a-way;
Moon and stars with sil-very light
sing praise through the si-lent night.

3. O God's love hath eve-ry-where
made this earth so rich and fair;
hill and vale and fruit-ful land,
all life bears a ho-ly hand.

4. God, great won-ders work-est thou!
To thy sway all crea-tures bow;
Write thou deep-ly in my heart
what I am, and what thou art.


a. Him-mel, Er-de, Luft und Meer
zeu-gen von des Schöp-fers Ehr;
mei-ne See-le, sin-ge du,
bring auch jetzt dein Lob her-zu.


b. Seht das gro-ße Sonn-en-licht,
wie es durch die Wol-ken bricht;
auch der Mond, der Ster-ne Pracht
jauch-zen Gott bei still-er Nacht.

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April 15, 2005

38R The Harp at Nature's Advent Strung

Original Title: "The Harp at Nature's Advent Strung," John Greenleaf Whittier, EVAN, C.M., William Henry Havergal, arranged by Lowell Mason (1850); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), LLANGLOFLAN, 8.6.8.6., Welsh Hymn Melody. Whittier was an anti-slavery Quaker and poet, who was secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Though born in Boston, he lived in Philadelphia where he edited the Pennsylvania Freeman. The complete, original poem, called "The Worship of Nature" contains ten verses, rather than the six below, or the five in Hymns of the Spirit Two and the five in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 74 (It is not contained in The New Century Hymnal). Though anthologized in The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier, (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1894), the poem was first published in 1867. "All the earth . . . make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, . . . Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 98:4-7 "You have kept the good wine until now," John 2:10, Nehemiah 8:10.

LLANGLOFLAN (8.6.8.6.)

1. The harp at Na-ture's ad-vent strung
has never ceas-ed to play;
the song the stars of morn-ing sung
has ne-ver died a-way.
And prayer is made, and praise is given,
by all things near and far;
the o-cean look-eth up to heaven,
and mirr-ors eve-ry star.

2. Its waves are kneel-ing on the strand,
as kneels the hu-man knee,
their white locks bow-ing to the sand,
the priest-hood of the sea!
The green earth sends its in-cense up
from many a moun-tain shrine;
from fold-ed leaf and de-wy cup
and pours a sacr-ed wine.

3. The blue sky is the tem-ple's arch,
its tran-sept earth and air,
the mu-sic of its star-ry march
the cho-rus of a prayer.
So Na-ture keeps the re-verent frame
with which the years be-gan,
and all the signs and voi-ces shame
the prayer-less heart a-gain.

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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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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 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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June 26, 2005

95R O God, the Watches of the Night (Are O'er)

Original Title: "Father, the Watches of the Night Are O'er," Words: from the Disciples' Hymn-Book (c. 1855), rev. REH (2005); Music: BATTLE (10.10.10.10.), Henry Lawes (1638); alternate, Music: SKARA (10.10.10.10), Frank Sewall (c. 1910). Psalm 63:6 (NRSV), "I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;" see also Psalm 74:16, Psalm 19:2, Psalm 55:17, Psalm 104:23. The hymn does not appear in either Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

BATTLE (10.10.10.10.)

1. O God, the watch-es of the night are o'er;
To light and life the soul has risen once more;
Praised be, So-phi-a, who through help-less hours,
does keep in deep-est peace her slum-bering powers.

2. Fath-er, the watch-es of the day are here;
More than from those of night have we to fear;
By rude cares troub-led, by temp-ta-tions pressed,
through the day watch-es, dear God, give us rest!

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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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December 31, 2006

620R God of Queer, Transgressive Spaces

Title: "God of Queer, Transgressive Spaces," Edward Moran (2005), alt., CONVERSE, 8.7.8.7. D, C. C. Converse (1868). Moran is a Presbyterian who lives in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York; many of the lyrics of the hymns he has written can be found in the "Hymn Texts" section of the website run by The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Moran describes the work below as addressing "often-divisive issues of sexual diversity in the light of traditional images of Incarnation and Trinity." The lyrics have been edited lightly here. The second stanza originally read as a statement rather than a question, i.e., "Born of virgin, Word made flesh, dead and buried, still He rises!" The third stanza likewise read "Easter garments, at His order, Swaddle Her beloved One," without a question mark. Finally, the last stanza here reads "unbound God" in lieu of "Threesome God" as in Moran's original. The lyrics remain under copyright all the same, (c) Edward Moran 2006. They appear here by his kind permission. Users may wish to request permission to reproduce the hymn for local or congregational worship, or other purposes, by writing him at EMoran8688@aol.com. "Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart ... Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead," Deuteronomy 6:6, 8 (NRSV), see also Deuteronomy 11:18. "It is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil." Ecclesiastes 3:13. "My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away," Song of Songs 2:10. "Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt," 1 Samuel 18:3-4; see also 2 Samuel 1:26. "Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law," Romans 13:8, see also Romans 14:10, 12:4, 8:21. "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me," 1 Corinthians 11:24, see also 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 13:13. "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb," John 20:2. "She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger," Luke 2:7, John 1:1. "Thus says the Lord ... I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert," Isaiah 43:16, 19.

CONVERSE (ERIE) (WHAT A FRIEND)(8.7.8.7. D)

1. God of queer, trans-gress-ive spa-ces:
Lav-ish man-ger, emp-ty tomb,
wine-dark loaves and pre-cious gra-ces
bend our bar-ren lives to bloom.

2. God’s own de-vi-ance is Jes-us:
Born of vir-gin, word made flesh,
dead and bur-ied, and still ris-es?
What ab-norm-al world-li-ness!

3. Thank God for this grave dis-ord-er:
Shroud and sor-row fall un-done;
East-er gar-ments, at whose or-der,
swad-dle the be-lov-ed one?

4. Broth-ers, bind ye to each oth-er,
Sis-ters, too, and have no shame.
Sing with God our Fath-er-Moth-er,
Love that dares now speak its name.

5. With our un-bound* God con-fess-ing:
Turn all frac-ture in-to praise,
be-ne-dic-tion in-to bless-ing,
fab-u-lous and full of days.

* or 'threesome,' as in the original

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