April 17, 2005

40R Seek Not Afar For Beauty

Original Title: "Seek Not Afar For Beauty," Minot Judson Savage, LANGRAN, 10.10.10.10, James Langran (1863); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), YORKSHIRE, 10.10.10.10.10.10., John Wainwright (1750). Langran and Wainwright were both English Anglicans; Savage was a 19th Century American, associated at various times with Congregational and Unitarian churches. The world-weary Hebrew prophet Ecclesiastes is faintly echoed here, the idea being that there is "nothing new under the sun," such that it is in life's simple pleasures where we might find meaning and transcendence: "What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity." Ecclesiastes 2:2-23. "He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil." Ecclesiastes 3:11-13. Three verses make up a version that appears to COOLINGE in Singing the Living Tradition; the hymn does not appear in The New Century Hymnal.

YORKSHIRE (10.10.10.10.10.10)

1. Seek not a-far for beau-ty. Lo! it glows
in dew-wet grass-es all a-bout your feet;
in birds, in sun-shine, child-ren's fac-es sweet,
in stars and moun-tain sum-mits topped with snows.
Go not a-broad for hap-pi-ness. For see,
it is a flow-er that here blooms free-ly.


2. Bring love and jus-tice home, and then no more
will you won-der where peace and joy are taught.
Dream not of no-ble ser-vice else-where wrought.
The sim-ple du-ty now waits at your door;
God's voice speaks ev-er hol-i-er com-mands:
Life's saint-ly deeds are done by com-mon hands.

3. In won-der-work-ings, or some bush a-flame,
we look for Truth, and fan-cy it con-cealed;
But in earth's com-mon things, Life stands re-vealed,
while grass and flowers and stars spell out God's Name.
Seek not a-far for beau-ty. Lo! for see
it is a flow-er that here blooms free-ly.

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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 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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