March 15, 2005

15R O God to Whom in Ancient Time

Original Title: "O Thou to Whom in Ancient Time," John Pierpont (1824), LUTON, L.M., George Burder (1760); New Title: "O God to Whom in Ancient Time," rev. REH (2005), ST. BARTHOLOMEW, L.M., Ed­ward H. Thorne, Se­lect­ion of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1858). A Unitarian, Pierpont wrote this hymn for the dedication of the 1824 dedication of the In­de­pend­ent Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church in Bar­ton Square, Sa­lem, Mass­a­chu­setts. "[W]orship the Father in spirit and in truth," John 4:23. "Praise Him with the Lute and Harp," Psalm 150:3b. Genesis 26:15-18, Isaac re-digs Abraham's wells. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

ST. BARTHOLOMEW (L.M.)

1. O God to whom, in an-cient time,
the lyre of He-brews' bards was strung,
whom roy-als praised in song sub-lime,
and pro-phets praised with glow-ing tongue.

2. Not now in Zi-on's height a-lone
the fa-vored wor-ship-er may dwell,
nor where, at sul-try noon, thine own
sat wea-ry by the el-ders' well.


3. From eve-ry place be-low the skies,
the grate-ful song, the fer-vent prayer,
the in-cense of the heart, may rise
to heaven, and find ac-cep-tance there.

4. O God to whom, in an-cient time,
the lyre of pro-phet bards was strung,
to whom at last in ev-ery clime,
shall tem-ples rise and praise be sung!

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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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Downloads need to be changed to reflect changes in lyrics in verse 3.

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June 05, 2005

74R Behold a Sower!

Original Title: "Behold a Sower!," Washington Gladden (1897), ELLACOMBE, C.M.D., Gesangbuch der Herzogl. Wirtembergischen Katolischen Hofkapelle (1784); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Gladden was a Congregationalist minister, well known for his writings and lectures on social concerns during the 19th Century. Luke 8:11 (KJV), "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God," see also 1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 3:9. Matthew 13:3, "And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow," see also Matthew 13:32, 1 Corinthians 9:11. Job 4:8, "Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same," see also Hosea 10:12, Galatians 6:7-8. 2 Peter 1:19, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts," see also Daniel 2:22, John 8:12, John 12:46, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Corinthians 4:4. The hymn does not appear in either Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

ELLACOMBE (C.M.D.)

1. Be-hold a Sow-er! from a-far
who go-eth forth with might,
whose fur-rows are the roll-ing years,
and seeds, the grow-ing light;
For all the just the Word is sown,
it spring-eth up al-ways;
The tend-er blade is Hope's young dawn,
the harv-est, Love's new days.

2. O Life of life, to thee we lift
our hearts in praise for those,
thy pro-phets, who have shown thy gift
of grace that ev-er grows,
of truth that spreads from shore to shore,
of wis-dom's widen-ing ray,
of light that shin-eth more and more
un-to thy per-fect day.

3. Shine forth, O Light, that we may see,
with hearts all un-a-fraid,
the mean-ing and the mys-ter-y
of things that thou hast made;
Shine forth, and let the sha-dowed past
be-neath thy beam grow bright;
Shine forth, and touch the fu-ture vast
with thine un-troubl-ed light.

4. Light up thy word; the fet-tered page
from kill-ing bon-dage free;
Light up our way; lead forth this age
in Love’s large li-ber-ty.
O Light of light! with-in us dwell,
through us thy ra-diance pour,
that word and life thy truths may tell,
and praise thee ev-er-more.

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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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January 04, 2006

447R O God, Unseen

Original Title: "O God, Unseen But Ever Near," Edward Olser, Samuel Longfellow (1864), GRÄFENBURG, C.M., Johann Crüger (1653); New Title: "O God, Unseen," alt. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Exodus:16:3-4,"'If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness' . . . Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I am going to rain bread from heaven for you.'" "The invisible God," Colossians 1:15. John 6:48, 51, "I am the bread of life." "I cannot perceive [God]," Job 23:8. The hymn does not appear in either The New Century Hymnal nor Singing the Living Tradition.

GRÄFENBURG (C.M.)

1. O God, un-seen but ev-er near,
our bless-ed rest are thou;
and we, in love that has no fear,
take re-fuge with thee now.

2. All soiled with dust our pil-grim feet
and wea-ry with the way;
we seek thy shel-ter from the heat
and burd-en of the day.

3. O wel-come in the wil-der-ness
the sha-dow of thy love;
the stream that springs our thirst to bless,
the man-na from a-bove!

4. A-while be-side the fount we stay
and eat this bread of thine,
then go re-joic-ing on our way,
re-newed with strength di-vine.

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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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