April 22, 2005

44R True Stewards, Earth

Original Title: "Thou, Earth, Art Ours, and Ours to Keep," Mary Howitt, GASTORIUS, 8.8.8.8.8., adapted from Severus Gastorius (1681); New Title: "True Stewards, Earth" rev. REH (2007), SUSSEX CAROL, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Traditional English melody, arranged by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1919). Mary Howitt was an English Quaker and poet, who wrote extensively on nature themes. Perhaps her best-known poem is "The Spider and the Fly." Here the lyrics clearly echo Genesis: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good," Genesis 1:11-22; see also Genesis 1:29, Genesis 8:22, Genesis 27:28. In the Christian scriptures, seed and harvest are sometimes metaphors for the God's word, e.g., Luke 8:11, Matthew 13:3, 32, John 12:24, see also Luke 13:6-9 (the parable of the fig treet). That the earth is "ours" is echoed in the Psalms, e.g., Psalm 115:16; the likeness of "darkness and light" in Psalm 139:12; God gives grain/corn in Psalm 65:9. Trees and wind are mentioned specifically in Isaiah 7:2; the first and latter rain in Deuteronomy 11:14. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

SUSSEX CAROL (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. True stew-ards, earth, we are for thee,
who in faith la-bor in thy reign;
the green-ing grass, the corn, the tree,
spring-time and har-vest come from thee,
the ear-ly and the lat-ter rain,
the ear-ly and the lat-ter rain.

2. O earth, the earth, thy sum-mer-time,
fresh with the dews, the sun-shine bright,
with gold-en clouds in eve-ning hours,
with sing-ing birds and fra-grant flowers,
crea-tures of beau-ty and de-light,
crea-tures of beau-ty and de-light.

3. Thou, earth, our earth, when light is dim,
and leaf-less stands the state-ly tree,
when from the north the fierce winds blow,
when fall-eth fast the mant-ling snow.
O earth, thou speak-est still to me,
O earth, thou speak-est still to me.

4. The earth is yours and mine, all life!
Ours is all worlds, all suns that shine,
sha-dow and light, and life and death,
what-e'er all space in-ha-bi-teth:
Life's im-age bears the true di-vine,
Life's im-age bears the true di-vine.

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May 20, 2005

61R Creator Spirit, By Whose Aid

Original Title: "Creator Spirit, By Whose Aid," attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856), translated by John Dryden (1693), LUCIS CREATOR, L.M., Angers Church Melody (circa 16th Century); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Original Latin lyrics have been added. "If anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him," Mark 11:23. Job 42:1-2, 8 (NRSV), "Then Job answered the Lord: 'I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted' . . . now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams . . . and my servant Job shall pray for you." The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but it does appear in a new translated version entitled "Creator Spirit, Come, We Pray," as no. 268 in The New Century Hymnal.

LUCIS CREATOR (L.M.)

1. Cre-a-tor Spir-it, by whose aid
the world's foun-da-tions first were laid,
come vi-sit eve-ry prayer-ful mind;
come, pour your joys on hu-man-kind.

2. O Source of un-cre-a-ted light,
the hea-ven's high-est help-er bright,
your ho-ly fount, your ho-ly fire,
our hearts with heaven-ly love in-spire.

3. Come, and your sa-cred unc-tion bring,
to sanc-ti-fy us while we sing;
from sin and sor-row set us free,
and may we tem-ples wor-thy be.

4. Plen-teous of grace, come from on high,
rich in your seven-fold en-er-gy;
may we e-ter-nal truths re-ceive,
and prac-tice all that we be-lieve.

a. Ve-ni, Cre-a-tor Spi-ri-tus,
men-tes tu-o-rum vi-si-ta,
im-ple su-per-na gra-ti-a,
quae tu cre-as-ti pec-to-ra.


b. Qui di-ce-ris pa-ra-cli-tus,
al-tis-si-mi do-num De-i,
fons vi-vus, i-gnis, ca-ri-tas,
et spi-ri-ta-lis unc-ti-o.

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May 24, 2005

67R O Thou Whose Power Over Moving Worlds Presides

Original Title: "O Thou Whose Power Over Moving World Presides," Boethius (480-525), trans. Samuel Johnson (1750), OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10), Genevan Psalter (1551); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Boethius was a Roman statesman; his most famous work was The Consolations of Philosophy. He has been thought both a Christian and indeed a Christian martyr, yet his most famous work does not mention Christ or the Christian religion, and seems in the eyes of some to speak only the language of neo-Platonism (in a narrow sense, "a philosophical dialogue modelled on strictly pagan productions"). Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), also the name of the Unitarian hymnwriter from the 19th century (see no. 219R), here refers instead to the Englishman from a century before. Johnson was the subject of perhaps the earliest and best-known biography in English, written by John Boswell. A stanza of Boethius' original Latin has been added. "legem pone mihi Domine in via tua et dirige me in semita recta propter inimicos meos," Pslam 26:11 (Vulgate); "But as for me, I will go on in my upright ways: be my saviour, and have mercy on me," Psalm 26:11 (BBE); see also Proverbs 15:24, 12:28. "Dominus solus dux eius fuit et non erat cum eo deus alienus," Deuteronomy 32:12 (Vulgate); "So the Lord only was his guide, no other god was with him," Deuteronomy 32:12 (BBE); Exodus 13:21, 15:13, Acts 1:16. "[T]imor Domini principium," Proverbs 1:7a (Vulgate); "Start with God- the first step in learning is bowing down to God," Proverbs 1:7a (The Message); see also Proverbs 4:7, Proverbs 9:10. "[Christ] is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead," Colossians 1:18a (YLT); "[] qui est principium primogenitus ex mortuis," Colossians 1:18a (Vulgate). Romans 11:33 (KJV), "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" 1 Corinthians 2:7 (KJV), "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory," see also 1 Corinthians 1:24. Psalms 104:24 (KVJ), "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom, hast thou made them all," see also Psalm 136:5, Proverbs 3:19. Jeremiah 10:12 (KJV), "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." Genesis 1:14, "And God said, let there be lights," see also Genesis 7:24. The hymn is not included in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10)

1. O Thou whose power o'er mov-ing worlds pre-sides,
whose voice cre-a-ted, and whose wis-dom guides,
On the dim earth in pure ef-ful-gence shine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine.

2. 'Tis thine a-lone to calm the re-verent breast,
with si-lent con-fi-dence and ho-ly rest;
from thee, great God! we spring, to thee we tend,
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!

a. Tu nam-que se-re-num,
Tu re-qui-es tran-quil-la pi-is.
Te cer-ne-re fi-nis,
Prin-ci-pi-um, Vec-tor, Dux,
Se-mi-ta, Ter-mi-nus, I-dem.

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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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