March 10, 2005

10R Ruler and Power On High

Original Title: "Come, Thou Almighty King," Anonymous (before 1757), ITALIAN HYMN, 6.6.4.6.6.6.4., Felice Giardini (1769); New Title: "Ruler and Power on High," rev. REH (2007), same hymn tune. The hymn first appeared in George Whitefield's Collection of Hymns for Social Worship (1757); some attribute the hymn to Charles Wesley. The tune ITALIAN HYMN was written specifically for the hymn. "God reigneth over the nations; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness." Psalm 47:8; see also Revelation 19:6, Isaiah 52:7. "Wisdom has built her house . . .She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town," Proverbs 9:1-3. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but it does appear in The New Century Hymnal as "Come Now, Almighty God," as no. 275.

ITALIAN HYMN (6.6.4.6.6.6.4.)

1. Rul-er and power on high,
to you our prais-es fly;
Your name we raise,
Fa-ther all-glo-ri-ous,
Mo-ther vic-to-ri-ous,
come and reign o-ver us,
An-cient of Days.

2. Come now all-gra-cious Lord,
by heaven and earth a-dored;
our prayer at-tend;
Wis-dom, your chil-dren bless,
give your good word suc-cess;
Make your own ho-li-ness
on us des-cend.

3. Ne-ver from us de-part,
but rule in ev-ery heart;
hence, e-ver-more.
Your sove-reign ma-jes-ty
may we in glo-ry see,
and to e-ter-ni-ty,
love and a-dore. A-men.

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May 15, 2005

58R O Not In Far-Off Realms of Space

Original Title: "Go Not, My Soul, In Search of Him," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1879), first tune, OLD 137TH, C.M.D., One and fiftie Psalms of David (1556), second tune, STRACATHRO, C.M, Charles Hutcheson (1832); New Title: "O Not In Far-Off Realms of Space," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1879), alt. REH (2006), OLD 137TH, C.M.D. Hosmer, born 1840, was an American Unitarian minister, and graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Hosmer's "Go Not My Soul in Search of Him," as it is called in Hymns of the Spirit Two, does not seem to be casually matched with OLD 137TH, but instead seems to take Psalm 137 as a point of radical departure. While the psalm asks how the songs of Zion might be sung in the land of Babylon, in the land of the tormentors, Hosmer to the contrary responds "Soul with soul hath kin." While the original psalm speaks of the throne of Jerusalem as the only throne, Hosmer in dialogue seems again to suggest the contrary, instructing us that the throne of God is not anywhere else but in each soul. When the psalmist tell us that if Zion fades, the psalmist's own strength will fade, Hosmer teaches that the "inward sign" will herald the entire earth shining with "Deity." Rather than looking to Jerusalem, he would have us "repair" to the Jerusalem of the soul. See also Psalm 42:2 (NRSV) "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?" and ""Be still, and know that I am God!," Psalm 46:10. 'Thou hast visited the earth, thou hast watered it; thou greatly enrichest it," Psalm 65:9 (Darby). "All the earth is full of his glory," Isaiah 6:3 (KJV). "But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret," Matthew 6:6 (NRSV). Isaiah 40:22 (KJV), "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." Isaiah 54:2, "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 137TH (C.M.D.)

1. O not in far-off realms of space
the Spir-it has a throne;
But in each heart finds a true place,
yet wait-ing to be known.
Search not, my soul, a-far in vain:
you will not find God there;
Nor in the depths of sha-dows wane,
nor in the heights of air.

2. Thought ans-wer-ing a-lone to thought,
as Soul with soul has kin;
The out-ward God one rec-kons not
who finds not God with-in.
And if the vi-sion comes rich-ly
re-vealed by in-ward sign,
Earth will be full of De-i-ty
and with full glo-ry shine!

3. You shall not want for com-pa-ny,
nor pitch a tent a-lone;
Th'in-dwell-ing God will go free-ly,
and show you of Life's own.
Search not for God a-far in space,
but to your-self re-pair;
Wait then with-in that si-lent grace,
and you shall find Love there!

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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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