March 11, 2005

11R Our Mothering Father

Original Title: "Our Father, Unto Thee," Byron G. Russell, OLIVET, 6.6.4.6.6.6.4., New Title, "Our Mothering Father," rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Russell was a 19th century Universalist minister, born in 1850. The hymn in some respects represents a reworking of the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4. The hymn appears in neither Hymns of the Spirit Two nor in The New Century Hymnal. "Mothering" in the revised hymn title is a translation of what is normally translated from the Hebrew as "merciful," or literally "womb-like." The phrase occurs in a number of hymns in the various versions of Music For Liturgy and other elements of worship produced by St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church (typically for unrestricted local reproduction) in San Francisco, California.

OLIVET (6.6.4.6.6.6.4.)

1. Our Mothe-ring Fa-ther be
with us now joy-ous-ly,
as voi-ces raise
for all your love has wrought,
our lives with bless-ings fraught
trans-cend-ing all our thought,
we speak your praise.

2. O God, no lips a-lone
could our joy-ful-ness own,
and wor-ship you,
but may our lives ex-press
that which our hearts con-fess,
and we in ho-li-ness
our souls re-new.


3. And may our hands reach out
to those who round a-bout
de-mand our love.
In ev-ery hour of need
may we their plead-ings heed,
til earth be-comes in-deed
like heaven a-bove. A-men.


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June 04, 2005

73R Shekinah In Her Holy Place

Original Title: "The Lord Is In His Holy Place," William Channing Gannett (1873), ST. BERNARD, C.M., Tochter Sion (1741); New Title: "Shekinah In Her Holy Place," rev. REH (2005), RESIGNATION, C.M.D., Traditional American; Southern Harmony (1835). 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. Though "Shekinah" does not appear in the original title of the hymn, it does occur as a reference to the glory of God in the lyrics of the first stanza (itself remarkable for a hymn composed in 1873). The reference to Exodus 40:35 is likewise original to Gannett. The word "Shekinah" does not appear as such in the Bible, but it does appear in Talmudic literature; e.g., "Whenever ten are gathered for prayer, there Shekinah rests," Talmud Sanhedrin 39a. A feminine word in Hebrew, many have suggested that the name Shekinah represents the female attributes of the presence or glory of God (though there would seem to be some competition with Wisdom/Sophia and the Spirit/Ruah, also feminine in Hebrew, or perhaps even St. Julian of Norwich's views on the mothering qualities of Christ). "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail," Job 38:22 (NRSV). "If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents," Song of Songs 1:8 (KJV); see also Jeremiah 6:3. "Gethsemane," Matthew 26:36, Mark 14:32. "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you?," Acts 3:12 (NIV). "Do not I fill heaven and earth?, declares the Lord," Jeremiah 23:24. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymn nor in Singing the Living Tradition.

RESIGNATION (C.M.D.)

1. She-ki-nah* in her ho-ly place,
in all things, near and far;
She-ki-nah of the snow-flake, too,
finds glo-ry in the star.
She finds her-self with-in the love
of those whom we love best;
the smiles and tones that make our homes
are shrines by her poss-essed.

2. Our art may build its house of God,
our feet on Si-nai stand,
but ho-li-est of ho-lies knows
no tread, no touch of hand.
She tents with-in the lone-ly heart
and shep-herds eve-ry thought;
We find her not by seek-ing long,
we lose her not, un-sought.

3. The liste-ning soul makes Si-nai still
wher-ev-er we may be,
and in the vow "Thy will be done,"
lies all Geth-se-ma-ne.
O eve-ry-where her ho-ly place,
if love un-seals the eyes,
and eve-ry-where the wait-ing face
to wel-come and sur-prise!

* Shekinah, the visible glory of God; see, e.g., Exodus 40:35

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June 07, 2005

76R It Sounds Along the Ages

Original Title: "It Sounds Along the Ages," William Channing Gannet, alt. (1937), CRÜGER, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., arranged by W. H. Monk from J. Crüger's Neues Wolllkömiisches Gesangbuch (1640); New Title: Same hymn title, BRITISH GRENADIERS, 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6., Traditional English Melody. It would seem that Gannett entitled the piece "The Word of God." 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. "Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit," 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV); see also 1 Corinthians 12:17, Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28. "The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything," John 14:26 (NRSV); see also John 16:13. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal, but does appear in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 187, to the tune FAR OFF LANDS, 7.6.7.6. D, Melody of the Bohemian Brethren, Rock Island, Illinois (1892).

BRITISH GRENADIERS (7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6.)

1. It sounds a-long the a-ges,
soul an-swer-ing to soul;
It kin-dles on the pa-ges
of eve-ry Bi-ble scroll;
The psalm-ist heard and sang it,
from mar-tyr lips it broke,
and pro-phet tongues out-rang it
till sleep-ing na-tions woke.

2. From Si-nai's cliffs in ech-oed,
it breathed from Bud-dha's tree,
it charmed in Ath-en's mar-ket,
it hal-lowed Gal-i-lee;
The ham-mer stroke of Lu-ther,
the Pil-grims' sea-side prayer,
the or-a-cles of Con-cord:
one ho-ly Word de-clare.

3. It calls, and lo, new Jus-tice!
It speaks, and lo, new Truth!
In ev-er no-bler sta-ture
and un-ex-haus-ted youth.
For-ev-er on it sound-eth,
knows naught it-self of time,
our laws but catch the mus-ic
of its e-ter-nal chime.

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July 28, 2005

129S O Mothering Father, God in Heaven

"O Mothering Father, God in Heaven," from the Lord's Prayer, rev. REH (2005), THIS ENDRIS NIGHT (C.M.D.), English carol (15th Cent.), arr. R. V. Williams (1906). Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4. The traditional version versus the lyrics here are compared below:

"Our Father, who art in Heaven" O Mothering Father, God in heaven
"Hallowed be thy Name" All hallowed be The Name
"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" May Love's reign come, God's will be done, on earth ever the same
"Give us this day our daily bread" O Holy One give humankind in every place its bread; it is from Life's bounty each day that all souls should be fed
"And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" Forgive our transgressions, and teach compassion so we know that wholeness comes forgiving sins of each and every foe
"And lead us not into temptation" And lead us not into evil
"But deliver us from evil" And save us from all sin
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen" That glory, reign and power be, for endless worlds; Amen

THIS ENDRIS NIGHT (C.M.D.)

1. O Mothe-ring Fa-ther, God in heaven, all hal-lowed be The Name;
May Love's reign come, God's will be done, on earth ev-er the same;
O Ho-ly One give hu-man-kind in eve-ry place its bread;
It is from Life's boun-ty each day that all souls should be fed.

2. For-give our trans-gres-sions, and teach com-pas-sion so we know
that whole-ness comes for-giv-ing sins of each and eve-ry foe;
And lead us not in-to ev-il, and save us from all sin;
That glo-ry, reign and pow-er be, for end-less worlds; A-men

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