April 08, 2005

31R Thou Art O God the Life and Light

Original Title: "Thou Art, O God, the Life and Light," Thomas Moore (1816), MACH'S MIT MIR, GOTT, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Johann Hermann Schein (1645), harmony by J. S. Bach; New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), OLD 113TH, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Matthäus Greiter (1500-1552). Thomas Moore was a Roman Catholic and Irish Nationalist. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal. "With thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light," Psalm 36:9. "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come," The Song of Songs 2:12. "Clouds of heaven," Daniel 7:13, Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62.

OLD 113TH (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. Thou art, O God, the Life and Light
of all this won-drous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night,
are but re-flec-tions caught from thee;
Wher-e'er we turn, thy glo-ries shine:
all things beau-teous and bright are thine.

2. When day, with fare-well beam, de-lays
a-mong the open-ing clouds of even,
and we can al-most think we gaze
through gold-en vis-tas in-to heaven,
those hues, that make the sun's de-cline
so soft, so ra-diant, God, are thine.

3. When budd-ing spring a-round us breathes
thy spir-it warms a fra-grant sigh,
and eve-ry flower the sum-mer wreathes
is born be-neath that kind-ling eye--
Wher-e'er we turn, thy glo-ries shine:
all things beau-teous and bright are thine.

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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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