April 27, 2005

47R Come Thou Almighty Will!

Original Title: "Come Thou Almighty Will," Hymns of the Spirit One (1864), ITALIAN HYMN, 6.6.4.6.6.4., adapted from Felice Giardini (1769); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Hymns of the Spirit One (1864) was edited by Samuel Longfellow. The hymn recites numerous names and titles for the spirit of God; "Almighty Will," echoing the spirit that blowest "where it listeth," John 3:8 (KJV); "Calm of faith's confidence," recalling the title "Comforter" from John 4:16 and John 15:26; "most Tender Love," suggesting the "Love of God" in 1 John 4:9 and the equivalence of "God is Love" from 1 John 14:16; see also Romans 5:5, "Light serene," remembering too that "God is light," 1 John 1:5; Psalm 27:1. "Quickener," as quicken is now in most translations "revive," suggests the "giver of life" from the historic creeds, or the "spirit of life," Romans 8:2 (NRSV); Revelations 11:11 (KJV) and the "breath of the almighty," Job 33:4. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

ITALIAN HYMN (6.6.4.6.6.6.4.)

1. Come, thou Al-might-y Will!
Our faint-ing bos-soms fill
with thy great power:
Strength of our good in-tents,
our tempt-ed hour's de-fense,
calm of faith's con-fi-dence,
come, in this hour!

2. Come, thou most ten-der Love!
With-in our spir-its move,
their sweet-est guest:
Ex-alt each low de-sire,
trans-form-ing pas-sion's fire,
to deeds of love in-spire,
Quicken-er and Rest!

3. Come, Light ser-ene and still!
Our gloom-y spir-its fill
with thy clear day:
Guide of the fee-ble sight,
Star of grief's low-est night,
re-veal the path of right,
show us thy way! A-men.


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June 06, 2005

75R Light of Ages and of Nations

Original Title: "Light of Ages and of Nations," Samuel Longfellow, AUSTRIA, 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7., Franz Joseph Haydn (1797); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2006), IN BABILONE, 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7., Traditional Dutch melody (c. 1710). The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but does appear in Singing the Living Tradition, to the tune AUSTRIA as no. 190 and IN BABILONE as no. 189. Colossians 3:11 (ESV), "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all." Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." 1 Corinitians 12:13, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit." Roman 10:12, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him;" see also Romans 3:9, 2:14-15, 1:14-16. Jeremiah 31:33 (NRSV), "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts." Psalms 27:1 (KJV), "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalms 36:9, "For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light." James 5:10, "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience," see also Luke 1:67, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Chronicles 33:18, Ezekiel 3:11, Luke 4:17, Acts 13:15.

IN BABILONE (8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7.)

1. Light of a-ges and of na-tions,
eve-ry race and eve-ry time
has re-ceived your in-spi-ra-tions,
glimp-ses of your truth sub-lime.
al-ways spir-its in rapt vi-sion
passed the heaven-ly veil with-in,
al-ways hearts bow-ed in con-tri-tion
found sal-va~tion from their sin.


2. Rea-son's no-ble as-pi-ra-tion
truth in grow-ing clear-ness saw;
Con-science spoke its con-dem-na-tion,
or pro-claimed th'e-ter-nal law.
While your in-ward re-ve-la-tions
told your saints their prayers were heard,
pro-phets to the guil-ty na-tions
spoke your ev-er-las-ting word.

3. Lo, that word a-bi-deth ev-er,
re-ve-la-tion is not sealed.
An-swering now to our en-dea-vor,
truth and right are still re-vealed.
That which came to an-cient sa-ges,
Greek, Bar-bar-ian, Ro-man, Jew,
writ-ten in the soul's deep pa-ges,
shines to-day, for-ev-er new!

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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 09, 2005

211R Not Long on Hermon's Holy Height

Original Title: "Not Long on Hermon's Holy Height," Theodore Claudius Pease (1891), ANGELUS, L.M., Cantica Spiritualia (1847), melody by Georg Joseph (1657); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Pease was a 19th Century American Congregationalist. Hermon is the name of a mountain, or chain of mountains, in northern Palestine, as in: "The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name," Psalm 89:12 (KJV). The location of the transfiguration in the New Testament is not explicit; see Matthew 17:1-6; Mark 9:1-8 and Luke 9:28-36; Origen (and other early Church scholars) believed that it occurred, in fact, on Mount Tabor (and close followers of Origen, an early Universalist, are welcome to substitute "Tabor" for "Hermon"). The hymn and the hymn tune do not appear in The New Century Hymnal nor in Singing the Living Tradition.

ANGELUS (L.M.)

1. Not long on Her-mon's ho-ly height,
the heaven-ly vi-sion fills our sight,
we may not breathe that pur-er air,
nor build our tab-er-nac-les there.

2. If with the Teach-er we would go,
our feet must thread the vale be-low,
where dim the lone-ly path-ways wind,
the gold-en glo-ry left be-hind.


3. Where hung-ry souls ask to be fed,
where wand-er-ers cry to be led,
where help-less hearts in chains are bound,
the One Be-loved is ev-er found.


4. There, bend-ing pa-tient o'er a task,
no rai-ment white our eyes shall ask,
con-tent while through each cloud we trace,
the glo-ry of the Rab-bi's face.


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December 14, 2005

215R Not Always on the Mount May We

Original Title: "Not Always On the Mount May We," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1912), TRANSYLVANIA, L.M., arranged from a 16th Century Hungarian Chorale, by Robert Levine Sanders; New Title: Same title, alt. REH (2005), same hymn tune. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but TRANSYLVANIA is paired therein with hymn no. 322, "Thanks Be for These," by the Gilberts. In some ways, the hymn in Singing the Living Tradition is a rewrite of the present hymn using more humanistic images (though not lacking suggestions of the Divine), for example substituting "the Spirit's tidal ebb and flow" with "moments of grief, days of delight, triumph and failure intertwine." Hosmer was an American Unitarian; Richard Seward Gilbert and Joyce Timmerman Gilbert are 20th Century Unitarian Universalists. It is worth pointing out that the earlier hymn fits into what must be an exceedingly limited collection of music, that being "hymns written by Unitarians in North America for Transfiguration Sunday" (the Sunday immediately prior to Ash Wednesday); See Luke 9:29-31.

TRANSYLVANIA (L.M.)

1. Not al-ways on the mount may we
rapt in the heaven-ly vi-sion be:
The shores of thought and feel-ing know
the Spir-it's ti-dal ebb and flow.

2. 'O it is good a-bid-ing here,'
We cry, the heaven-ly pre-sence near:
The vi-sion va-nish-es, our eyes
are lift-ed in-to va-cant skies.

3. Yet has one such ex-al-ted hour
up-on the soul re-deem-ing power,
and in its strength, through af-ter days,
we tra-vel our ap-poin-ted ways,

4. Till all the low-ly vale grows bright,
trans-fi-gured in re-mem-bered light,
and in un-ti-ring souls we bear
the fresh-ness of the up-per air.


5. The mount for vi-sion: but be-low
the paths of dai-ly du-ty go,
and no-bler life there-in shall own
the pat-tern on the moun-tain shown.


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