April 26, 2005

46R God of All Majesty and Might

Original Name: "Lord of All Majesty and Might," George Wallace Briggs (1933), VATER UNSER, 8.8.8.8.8.8., later form of melody in V. Schumann’s Gesangbuch (1539), harmony by J.S. Bach; New Name: "God of All Majesty and Might," rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Briggs was an English Anglican priest, born in 1875. The title echoes "In thine hand is power and might," 1 Chronicles 29:12; the "unfathomed deep" of the lyrics seems to correlate with Psalm 95:4, "In [God's] hand are the deep places of the earth." The last verse seems to take from Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:9, "for we know in part, and we prophesy in part." The Imago Dei is echoed in verse four, from Genesis 1:27. The discussion of wisdom in verse 2 resonantes with the passages "Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom," Job 36:5 and "God only wise," Romans 16:27a. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

VATER UNSER (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. God of all maj~es-ty and might,
Whose pres-ence fills th'un-fathom-ed deep,
Where-in un-count-ed worlds of light
through count-less a-ges vi-gil keep;
E-ter-nal One, can such as we,
Frail mor-tal souls, know aught of thee?

2. Be-yond all know~ledge thou art wise,
With wis-dom that trans-cends all thought;
Yet still we seek with strain-ing eyes,
Yea, seek as our an-ces-tors sought;
Nor will we from the quest de-part,
Til we shall know thee as thou art.


3. Frail though our form,~and brief our day,
Our mind has bridged the gulf of years,
Our pu-ny ba-lan-ces can weigh,
The mag-ni-tude of star-ry spheres:
With-in us is e-ter-ni-ty;
Whence come this, O God, but from thee?


4. For when thy wond~rous works we scan,
And mind gives ans-wer back to mind,
Thine im-age shines in the hu-man;
And seek-ing we shall sure-ly find.
Mor-tals, our her-i-tage we claim;
Shall not thy child-ren know thy name?


5. We know in part;~e-nough we know
to walk with thee, and walk a-right;
And thou shalt guide us as we go,
And lead us in-to full-er light,
Til when we stand be-fore thy throne,
We know at last as we are known. A-men.

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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 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 04, 2005

206S Oh Dios, pedimos que nos des

Título original: "Oh nuestro Padre, nuestro Dios," Autor desconocido, ST. AGNES, 8.6.8.6., John Bacchus Dykes (1866); Título nuevo: "Oh Dios, pedimos que nos des," alterado REH (2005), misma tonada.

The hymn "Oh nuestro Padre, nuestro Dios," appears in the United Methodist hymnal Mil voces para celebrar as no. 368, originally with four stanzas, as a hymn for New Years', with no known author, and without copyright. Here the first stanza has been removed (along with any gender references to God), the remaining stanzas re-arranged, as a general-use hymn. Though it was written to ST. AGNES, it is not a translation of 206R herein, direct or otherwise. A relatively close English translation follows, which is meant to give an idea of the Spanish lyrics, but which is not meant to be sung. The lyrics echo the "powers and principalities" language of Paul in Colossians 2:15; there is also a hint of the third petition of the Lord's pray or the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 6:10. A living faith, firm hope, and burning love also suggest St. Paul. Colossians 1:5-8, 1 Corithians 13:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Likewise the passing away of time and goods suggest the passing away of the "temporal" and the persistence of the "eternal" alluded to in 2 Corinthians 4:18.

ST. AGNES (8.6.8.6.)

1. Oh Dios, pe-di-mos que nos des
en tu ser-vi-cio ar-dor;
fir-me es-pe-ran-za,
vi-va fe y más ar-dien-te a-mor.

2. Haz-nos sen-tir la va-ni-dad
de cuan-to e-xis-te a-quí;
gran-de-zas, bie-nes, po-tes-tad
pe-re-ce-rán al fin.


3. El cie-lo, el or-be, el mun-do es-tán
di-cien-do tu bon-dad;
la vi-da, el tiem-po pa-sa-rán
se-gún tu vo-lun-tad. A-mén.

Translation of the Spanish (not to be sung):

1. O God, we ask that you give us
in your most burning service
firm hope, a living faith,
and more ardent love.

2. Make known to us the vanity
of so much that exists here;
Majesty, goods, power
will perish in the end.


3. The heavens, the globe, the world,
are speaking your goodness;
Life and time will pass
according to your will. Amen.

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206R O Love! O Light!

Original Title: "O Love! O Light!", John Greenleaf Whittier (1866), ST. AGNES, C.M., John Bacchus Dykes (1866); New Title: "O Love! O Light!," rev. REH (2005), Same hymn tune. The hymn is not included in either Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal, but the tune does appear as no. 281 and nos. 507-08 in the latter. Whittier was an 19th Century American Quaker poet, and a well-known advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The biblical sources of the names used in the hymn are numerous; John 13:13, John 1:1, John 15:15. Also there is a resonance of St. Paul's hymn that speak of peering "through a glass, darkly." 1 Corinthians 13:12. The feast of Transfiguration is again a topic here.

ST. AGNES (C.M.)

1. O Love! O Life! Our faith and sight
your pres-ence now makes one,
as through trans-fig-ured clouds of white
we trace the noon-day sun.

2. So, to our mor-tal minds sub-dued,
flesh-veiled, but not con-cealed,
we know in you the par-ent-hood
and heart of God re-vealed.


3. We faint-ly know, dim-ly per-ceive,
in dif-fering phrase we pray;
In you, dim or clear, we own free
the Light, the Truth, the Way!


4. To do your will is more than praise,
as words are less than deeds;
and sim-ple trust can find your ways
we miss with chart of creeds.

5. Our friend, our kind-red, and our word,
What may your ser-vice be?
Nor name, nor form, nor ri-tual heard,
but fol-low-ing free-ly.


6. Your li-ta-nies, sweet of-fi-ces
of love and gra-ti-tude;
your sa-cred, di-vine li-tur-gies,
the joy of do-ing good.

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December 14, 2005

219R All My Hope On God Is Founded

Originally set to MEINE HOFFNUNG in Hymns of the Spirit Two at no. 219 under the name "All My Hope on God is Founded;" under the same name it appears as no. 408 in The New Century Hymnal to the tune MICHAEL. The hymn echoes Pslam 62; to some extent 71 and others. "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord," Jeremiah 17:7 (NRSV)

ALBERT (8.7.8.7.7.7.)

1. All my hope on God is found-ed
who does still my trust re-new,
I through change and chance am guid-ed,
on-ly good and on-ly true.
Deep un-known, who a-lone,
calls my heart to be God's own.

2. Our pride and our earth-ly glo-ry,
sword and crown be-tray-ing trust;
what with care and toil we've built up,
tower and tem-ple fall to dust.
But God's power, hour by hour,
is my tem-ple and my tower.

3. God's great good-ness e'er en-dur-ing;
Holy wis-dom pass-ing thought:
Splen-dor, light and life at-tend-ing,
beau-ty that springs out of naught.
Ev-er-more from God's store
new-born worlds rise and a-dore.


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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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January 08, 2007

621R In Love I Put My Highest Trust

Title: In Love I Put My Highest Trust, Psalm 71:1-6, from The New Verson, Brady and Tate (1698), adapted REH (2007); OLD 29TH, C.M.D., Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1556), harmony, Scottish Psalter (1635). Alternative (and perhaps better known) hymn tunes to consider include Vaughn Williams' KINGSFOLD, C.M.D., and FOREST GREEN, C.M.D., both of which may be found in Singing the Living Tradition and in The New Century Hymnal. Psalm 71 is an appointed Revised Common Lectionary reading for Epiphany 4C and Proper 16C/Ordinary 21C, as well as for the Tuesday during Holy Week. The lyrics also echo Psalm 139:13 (NRSV), "You knit me in my mother's womb." The lyrics address, in a broad way, the often unchurchly topic of bullying, an area of resurgent concern for young men and women in the Internet age. Advice to bullies and their victims might include: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all," Romans 12:19; see also Proverbs 24:7. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you," Luke 6:27-28. This ode to Love echoes too the Greek Testament, in words that have come to us as "Deus caritas est," or "God is Love," words of particular significance for many Universalists. 1 John 4:16

OLD 29TH (C.M.D.)

1. In Love I put my high-est trust,
de-fend-ing hearts from chains;
And who but you can save my soul
as I cry out your names?
You are the strong and sweet-est place,
to which all souls re-sort;
And Love's de-mands do keep me safe;
they are my rock and port.

2. From cru-el taunt and cru-el word,
from earl-iest days of youth,
my heart you ev-er soothed, O God;
My life still lives in you.
Love's tough-ened care did safe-ly guard
my ten-der school-yard days;
You knit me deep with-in your womb;
Now life is con-stant praise!

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