January 07, 2006

556R There's a Wideness in God's Mercy

Original Title: "Souls of Men! Why Will Ye Scatter," Frederick William Faber (1854), WESTON, 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7., John E. Roe; New Title: "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," rev. REH (2007), ST. MABYN, 8.7.8.7. D, Arthur Henry Brown (1889). "Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you," Luke 13:4-5a (NRSV). "His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation,” Luke 1:50. Zechariah 13:17 (ESV), "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." Isaiah 60:20 (KJV), "Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended." Luke 15:4-5, "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing." Psalm 119:96 (ESV), "I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad." 1John 5:3 (NRSV), "For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome;" see also Romans 7:12. The hymn appears as no. 213 with three stanzas (from stanza one below, and the first half of stanza three) to the tune CHARLESTON, 8.7.8.7., in Singing the Living Tradition. It also appears as no. 23 in The New Century Hymnal to the tune IN BABILONE, 8.7.8.7.D, with two stanzas, with HOLY MANNA as an alternate.

ST. MABYN (8.7.8.7. D)

1. There's a wide-ness in God's mer-cy,
like the wide-ness of the sea;
there's a kind-ness in true jus-tice,
which is more than lib-er-ty.
For the love di-vine is broad-er
than the mea-sure of our mind;
and the heart of the E-ter-nal
is most won-der-ful-ly kind.

2. Souls on earth, why do you scat-ter
like a crowd of count-ing sheep?
Lone-some hearts, why do you wan-der
from a love so true and deep?
Do you know a kind-er shep-herd
half as gen-tle, half as sweet,
as the Sove-reign who would have us
turn to heav-en's mer-cy seat?

3. O we make love's law too nar-row
by false li-mits of our own;
and we mag-ni-fy God's strict-ness
with a zeal not heav-en's own.
If our lives were but more sim-ple,
we should live them in God's love;
then our lives would all be sun-shine
with a sweet-ness from a-bove.

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January 17, 2006

605R Love Alone is the Worthy Law

Title: "Love Alone is the Worthy Law," Christina Rossetti (1893), rev. REH (2006), LANGRAN, 10.10.10.10., James Langran (1863). English poet Christina Rossetti, born in 1830 of Italian parents living in exile in England, Anglican and much influenced by the Oxford Movement to return to more "Anglo-Catholic" modes of worship, wrote Victorian verse that described intense religious experiences. The words below appear in her poem "Quinquagesima," Latin for 50 (days before Easter), or the Sunday before Ash Wednesday (technically Transfiguration Sunday); depending on when Easter fell, this might well be within the approximate time of St. Valentine's Day. St. Valentine, by legend, married Roman soldiers when they were prohibited from doing so. See also Ephesians 2:15, "[Christ] has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace."

LANGRAN (10.10.10.10.)

1. Love a-lone is the wor-thy law of love:
All oth-er laws have pre-sup-posed a taint:
Love is the law from kind-led saint to saint,
from lamb to lamb, from dove to answe-ring dove.


2. Love is the mo-tive of all things that move,
har-mon-ious by free will with-out con-straint:
Love learns and teach-es: love shall us ac-quaint
with all we lack, and all we lack is love.

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July 29, 2006

616R O Heart of Fire

Title: "O Heart of Fire," John Henry Newman (1833), from his Hymns (New York: 1896), arr. REH (2006), LUX VERA, 10.6.10.6., John Bacchus Dykes (1870). Newman wrote of the love between "David and Jonathan" in a work of that name, with the epigraph to the poem "Thy love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women," 2 Samuel 1:26 (KJV). Newman (1801-1890) was a British clergyman and leader in the Anglo-Catholic "Oxford Movement," who eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, and became a cardinal; the "cause" of his sainthood in the Roman sense is pending (though all are free to assume that he is already a saint-- an example of faith-- in the best and broadest sense of the word). He is buried in same grave as his companion, Ambrose St. John. See also "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved," John 13:23 (KJV); "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us," Romans 8:34. "For righteousness is immortal," Wisdom of Solomon 1:15.

LUX VERA (10.6.10.6.)

1. O heart of fire, mis-judged by wil-ful gain,
the flower of Jes-se's race!
What woe you had when you and Jon-a-than
last greet-ed face to face

2. One doomed to die, and on us to im-press
a heart-felt hol-i-ness;
yet all was well for you, mid cares of rule,
and crime's en-circ-ling pool.

3. A spell was o'er you, zeal-ous one, to chide,
your word-ly, roy-al pride;
with bat-tle-scene and pa-geant, soon to end
the pale calm of a friend.

4. Had the friend lived, be-fore your throne to stand,
your spir-it keen and free,
would love have then sur-vived, a slend-er band,
so dear in mem-o-ry?

5. Paul, of the com-rade reft, the bless-ing gives:
a life re-mem-bered lives;
O heart of fire, come greet us face to face,
O flower of love's long race!

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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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