April 04, 2005

27R Where Ancient Forests Round Us Spread

Original Title: "Where Ancient Forests Widely Spread," Andrews Norton (1833), WAINWRIGHT, L.M., Richard Wainwright; New Title: "Where Ancient Forests Round Us Spread," rev. REH (2005), AGINCOURT (DEO GRATIAS), Traditional English Melody (1415). Andrews Norton, an American Unitarian, is famous for having said that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s [Harvard] Divinity School Address represented "the newest form of infidelity." As beloved a figure as Emerson is for many, Norton's provocation takes nothing away from his own place in Unitarian Universalist hymnody. The full form of the hymn was anthologized in 1900 by Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833-1908) in his An American Anthology 1787-1900, as no. 51, where it is called "Hymn for the Dedication of a Church." In that collection, it began "Where ancient forests round us spread," as does the revised version here. Compare 2 Kings 19:22-24. Genesis 28:17, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." The Universe is filled by God, in God "we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28.; see also Psalm 84. "The Lord has blessed the household of Obededom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God," 2 Samuel 6:12, suggesting, as in the lyrics, there are places where "human thought burns clearer" given their chosen status. Tradition has it that the AGINCOURT was written to laud the victory of the English at Normandy. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition, nor in The New Century Hymnal.

AGINCOURT (DEO GRATIAS) (L.M.)

1. Where an-cient for-ests round us spread,
where bends~the cat'-ract's o-cean fall,
on the lone moun-tain's si-lent head,
there are your tem-ples, God of all!

2. Be-neath the dark-blue, mid-night arch,
whence my~riad suns pour down their rays,
where pla-nets trace their cease-less march,
O Life! we praise you as we gaze.

3. All space is ho-ly, for all space
is filled~by you; And hu-man thought
burns clear-er in some chos-en place,
where your own words of love are taught.

4. May we be taught, and may we know
a faith~your ser-vants knew of old
which on-ward bears through weal and woe,
till Death the gates of heaven un-fold.

5. Nor we a-lone, may those whose brow
shows yet~no trace of hu-man cares,
here-aft-er stand where we do now,
and raise to you still hol-ier prayers!


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April 05, 2005

28R God of the Earth, the Sky, the Sea

Original Title: "God of the Earth, the Sky and the Sea," Samuel Longfellow (1864), WINCHESTER NEW, L.M., Hamburger Musikalisches Handbuch (1690); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2005), ST. CATHERINE, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Henri F. Hemy (1865). Psalm 24:1-2, "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains . . . For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers." Genesis 1:27, "[I]n the image of God . . . male and female [God] created them;" see also Genesis 9:6. "God's likeness," 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:49. The Indwelling God, John 15:4. Proverbs 22:2, "The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all." The hymn is not contained in The New Century Hymnal, but is found in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 25, to the tune DUKE STREET, L.M.

ST. CATHERINE (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. God of the earth, the sky, the sea,
Mak-er of all a-bove, be-low,
cre-a-tion lives and moves in thee,
thy pre-sent life in all doth flow.
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

2. Thy love is in the sun-shine’s glow,
thy life is in the quick-ening air;
When light-ning flash-es and storm winds blow,
there is thy power; thy law is there.
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

3. We feel thy calm at even-ing’s hour,
thy grand-eur in the march of night;
And when thy morn-ing breaks in power,
we hear thy word, “Let there be light.”
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

4. But high-er far, and far more clear,
thee in our spir-its we be-hold;
Thine im-age and thy-self are there—
Th’in-dwell-ing God, pro-claimed of old!
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

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May 24, 2005

65R You Whose Spirit Dwells In All

Original Title: "Thou Whose Spirit Dwells In All," John White Chadwick (1890), UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, 7.7.7.7., Henry John Gauntlett (1852); New Title: "You Whose Spirit Dwells In All," alt. REH (2006), same hymn tune. "For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same . . . They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals," Ecclesiastes 3:19 (NRSV). Genesis 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," Genesis 7:15, "And [the animals] went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life." "You own the cosmos-you made everything in it, everything from atom to archangel," Psalm 89:11 (The Message); "The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: The world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them," Psalm 89:11 (ASV). "Behold, the nations are esteemed as a drop of the bucket, and as the fine dust on the scales; behold, he taketh up the isles as an atom," Isaiah 40:15 (The Darby Translation); Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust," Isaiah 40:15 (ESV). "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?," 1 Corinthians 3:16 (KJV). "[Christ] has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth," Ephesians 1:9-10. "God [is] All in All," 1 Corinthians 15:28. Love is as strong as death," Song of Solomon 8:6. "Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!," Numbers 11:29 (RSV). For an alternate tune for this hymn, see no. 35 herein, VIENNA, 7.7.7.7. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (7.7.7.7.)

1. You whose spir-it dwells in all,
pri-mal source of life and mind,
through-out earth and in each soul,
ev-er full and un-con-fined!

2. What shall sep-a-rate from you?
None of earth's cre-a-ted things!
Joy and sor-row, good and ill,
each from you its es-sence brings.

3. Yours, the at-om's faint-est thrill;
Yours, the humb-lest crea-ture's breath;
Pro-phet soul in eve-ry kind,
yearn-ing still through life and death.

4. Yearn-ing for the crown-ing race:
We, in whom at last un-fold
all your se-crets strange and sweet
from the farth-est days of old.

5. Se-crets too of things to be,
in the cy-cles on be-fore:
Love that strong-er is than death,
Life with you for-ev-er-more.


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Change tune to VIENNA (no. 35)

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January 04, 2006

431R All Souls, O God, Are Thine

Original Title: "All Souls, O Lord, Are Thine," Epes Sargent (1813-1880), LANGRAN, 10.10.10.10., James Langran (1863); New Title, "All Souls, O God, Are Thine," rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Sargent was a Universalist minister in the United States. "[Christ] has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth," Ephesians 1:9-10. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man," Hebrews 2:9. "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," 1 John 2:2. "The Savior of all, especially those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10. "God [is] All in All," 1 Corinthians 15:28. The hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal nor (astonishingly) in Singing the Living Tradition.

LANGRAN (10.10.10.10.)

1. All souls, O God, are thine, as-sur-ance blest!
Thine, not our own to rob of help di-vine;
not ours to doom by an-y hu-man test,
but thine, O gra-cious God, and on-ly thine.

2. Thine, by thy va-rious dis-ci-plines, to lead
to heights where heaven-ly truths im-mort-al shine,
truths none e-ter-nal-ly shall fail to heed;
for all, O God, are thine, for-ev-er thine.

3. For-give the thought, that ev-er-last-ing ill
to a-ny can be part of thy de-sign;
fi-nite, im-per-fect, er-ring, guil-ty-- still
all souls, great God, are thine-- and mer-cy thine. A-men.

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January 05, 2006

546R Faith of the Martyrs, Living Still

Original Title: "Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still," adapted from Frederick William Faber (1849), ST. CATHERINE, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Henri Frederick Hemi (1865); New Title: "Faith of the Martyrs," rev. REH (2006), same hyme tune. Though the son of an Anglican cleric, Faber was a Roman Catholic priest. The hymn speaks of the persecution of Catholics in Britain; the original spoke of "Mary's prayers" that would set Britain free. Its position in Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937) is of note; as no. 546, it is the first hymn in the section marked "SUPPLEMENT." Many of these hymns were reckoned to be tunes of lesser quality, popular with the more rural Universalists. Oddly, however, "Faith of Our Fathers" does not appear in the prior hymnal published by the Universalists, Hymns of the Church (Boston: 1917) (though Reginald Heber's "Forth From the Dark and Stormy Sky" appears therein to ST. CATHERINE, a tune which does not appear anywhere other than at no. 546 in Hymns of the Spirit Two). It may be that its Catholic pedigree (Universalists were generally less anti-Catholic than Unitarians and other Protestants of the day) and the theme of persecution made the hymn appropriate for the "Universalist" section. In New England, the Unitarians were originally part of the "Standing Order" of (state-supported) Puritan/Congregational churches until in some cases the middle part of the 19th century; such standing did not apply to the (relatively speaking, persecuted) Universalists. The lyrics echo Hebrews 11:1-2 (NRSV), "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval." They also obliquely refer to the story in Mark regarding John the Baptist, "she rushed back to the king and requested, 'I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter,' . . . Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter," Mark 6:25-28. One too is reminded of Job in the Hebrew Bible, "But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold," Job 23:10. "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: . . . Gird up your loins . . . I will question you, and you shall declare to me," Job 38:1-3. "Then Job answered the Lord: 'I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted,'" Job 42:1-2. The hymn's lyrical change to "Faith of Our Mothers" is more than fanciful political correction; while the Congregational Church claims the first woman ordained to Christain ministry in the United States, the Universalists claim the first woman approved to the ministry at the denominational level, in the person of Olympia Brown. In the Midwest, female preaching "circuit riders" (including the celebrated Iowa Sisterhood) famously spread the liberating gospel of the faith. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but does appear as "Faith of the Martyrs, Living Still," as no. 381, in The New Century Hymnal.

ST. CATHERINE (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. Faith of the mar-tyrs, liv-ing still,
in spite of dun-geon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
when-e'er we hear that glo-rious word!
Faith of the mar-tyrs, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

2. Faith of our fa-thers, we will strive
to dwell with all souls peace-ful-ly;
and through the truth that comes from God,
we all shall then be tru-ly free.
Faith of our fa-thers, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

3. Our for-bears chained in pri-son dim
were still in heart and con-science free;
and blessed would be our own lives' fate
if we, like them, should live for thee.
Faith of our for-bears, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

4. Faith of our mo-thers, we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife;
and preach thee, too, as love knows how
by kind-ly words and vir-tuous life.
Faith of our mo-thers, ho-ly faith!
We will be true through life and death.

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July 12, 2006

608R Soon God's Redeeming Grace Will Come

Title: "Soon God's Redeeming Grace Will Come," Anonymous, rev. REH (2006), WINCHESTER NEW, L.M., Musikalisches Handbuch (1690). Based on Psalm 85:9-13. The original hymn, which does not appear in Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937), is entitled "Lord, Thou Hast Greatly Blessed Our Land," Anonymous, REPENTANCE, L.M., Theodore E. Perkins (1831-1912). Psalm 85, or parts thereof, constitutes a lectionary reading for Proper 14A/Ordinary 19A, Advent 2B, Proper 10B/Ordinary 15B, and Proper 12C/Ordinary 17C.

WINCHESTER NEW (L.M.)

1. Soon God's re-deem-ing grace will come;
all souls new-mind-ed will be-come;
and glo-ry through our land shall dwell,
when we do heed Love's teach-ings well.

2. Now truth a-grees with mer-cy's bliss;
the law and peace come forth to kiss;
be-hold the truth from earth a-rise,
with jus-tice shin-ing from the skies.

3. The Ho-ly will send bles-sings down;
green har-vests all the land shall crown;
wide whole-some-ness be-fore us lies;
our sure foot-steps are Life's sur-mise. A-men.

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