April 02, 2005

25R Sovereign and Transforming Grace

Original Title: "Sovereign and Transforming Grace," Frederic Henry Hedge (1829), ORIENTIS PARTIBUS, 7.7.7.7., Pierre de Corbeil (died 1222) (second tune GOTTSHALK, 7.7.7.7., (adapted from Louis Moreau Gottshalk)); New Title: Same hymn name, rev. REH (2005), ORIENTIS PARTIBUS. Hedge served as the President of the American Unitarian Association, and edited the 1853 Unitarian hymnal, Hymns for the Church of Christ (Boston). He wrote this hymn for the ordination of a friend. "[J]ust as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion . . . leading to eternal life," Romans 5:21. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God." Romans 12:2. The hymn appears in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 33 and in The New Century Hymnal as no. 512, both to the tune MANTON.

ORIENTIS PARTIBUS (7.7.7.7.)

1. Sove-reign and trans-form-ing grace,
we in-voke your quick-ening light;
Reign the spir-it of this place,
bless the pur-pose of this hour.

2. Ho-ly and cre-a-tive light,
we in-voke your kind-ling ray;
Dawn up-on our spir-its' night,
as the dark-ness turns to day.


3. To the anx-ious soul im-part
hope, all o-ther hopes a-bove;
Stir the dull and hard-ened heart
with a long-ing and a love.

4. Work in all; In all re-new
day by day the life di-vine.
All our wills to you sub-due,
all our hearts to you in-cline. A-men


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May 24, 2005

67R O Thou Whose Power Over Moving Worlds Presides

Original Title: "O Thou Whose Power Over Moving World Presides," Boethius (480-525), trans. Samuel Johnson (1750), OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10), Genevan Psalter (1551); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. Boethius was a Roman statesman; his most famous work was The Consolations of Philosophy. He has been thought both a Christian and indeed a Christian martyr, yet his most famous work does not mention Christ or the Christian religion, and seems in the eyes of some to speak only the language of neo-Platonism (in a narrow sense, "a philosophical dialogue modelled on strictly pagan productions"). Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), also the name of the Unitarian hymnwriter from the 19th century (see no. 219R), here refers instead to the Englishman from a century before. Johnson was the subject of perhaps the earliest and best-known biography in English, written by John Boswell. A stanza of Boethius' original Latin has been added. "legem pone mihi Domine in via tua et dirige me in semita recta propter inimicos meos," Pslam 26:11 (Vulgate); "But as for me, I will go on in my upright ways: be my saviour, and have mercy on me," Psalm 26:11 (BBE); see also Proverbs 15:24, 12:28. "Dominus solus dux eius fuit et non erat cum eo deus alienus," Deuteronomy 32:12 (Vulgate); "So the Lord only was his guide, no other god was with him," Deuteronomy 32:12 (BBE); Exodus 13:21, 15:13, Acts 1:16. "[T]imor Domini principium," Proverbs 1:7a (Vulgate); "Start with God- the first step in learning is bowing down to God," Proverbs 1:7a (The Message); see also Proverbs 4:7, Proverbs 9:10. "[Christ] is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead," Colossians 1:18a (YLT); "[] qui est principium primogenitus ex mortuis," Colossians 1:18a (Vulgate). Romans 11:33 (KJV), "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" 1 Corinthians 2:7 (KJV), "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory," see also 1 Corinthians 1:24. Psalms 104:24 (KVJ), "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom, hast thou made them all," see also Psalm 136:5, Proverbs 3:19. Jeremiah 10:12 (KJV), "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." Genesis 1:14, "And God said, let there be lights," see also Genesis 7:24. The hymn is not included in Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 124TH (10.10.10.10)

1. O Thou whose power o'er mov-ing worlds pre-sides,
whose voice cre-a-ted, and whose wis-dom guides,
On the dim earth in pure ef-ful-gence shine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine,
and cheer the cloud-ed mind with light di-vine.

2. 'Tis thine a-lone to calm the re-verent breast,
with si-lent con-fi-dence and ho-ly rest;
from thee, great God! we spring, to thee we tend,
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!
Path, Mo-tive, Guide, O-rig-i-nal, and End!

a. Tu nam-que se-re-num,
Tu re-qui-es tran-quil-la pi-is.
Te cer-ne-re fi-nis,
Prin-ci-pi-um, Vec-tor, Dux,
Se-mi-ta, Ter-mi-nus, I-dem.

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December 02, 2005

204R Strong Son of God, Immortal Love

Original Title: "Strong Son of God, Immortal Love," Alfred Tennyson, SONG FIVE, L.M., First Tune in Hymns of the Spirit Two, Orlando Gibbons (1623), ERNAN, L.M., Second Tune in Hymns of the Spirit Two, Lowell Mason; New Title: "One Born of God, Immortal Love," alt. REH (2005), hymn tune: SONG FIVE, L.M., (1623). Neither the hymn nor the tune appears in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal, but the hymn does appear in The Hymnal (1940) of the (then thusly named) Protestant Episcopal Church, and other hymnals published throughout the Anglican Communion. Alfred Tennyson was a 19th Century English Anglican and British Poet Laureate from 1850 until his death; his most famous work was perhaps The Charge of the Light Brigade. One hears in the lyrics, "for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NRSV). Also implicit therein is an answer to the question of Jesus, "who do they say I am?" Matthew 16:13.

SONG FIVE (L.M.)

1. Strong Son of God*, im-mor-tal love,
whom we, that have not seen thy face,
by faith, and faith a-lone, em-brace,
be-liev-ing where we can-not prove.

2. Thou seem-est hu-man and di-vine,
the high-est, hol-iest hu-man, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Ours wills are ours, to make them thine.

3. Our lit-tle sys-tems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be;
They are but bro-ken lights of thee,
And thou, O Love, art more than they.

*or 'Thou born of God'

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July 24, 2006

613R Behold, O My Whole Heart

Title: "Behold, O My Whole Heart," Brady & Tate (1696), Psalm 138, adapted by REH (2007), MORNING SONG (CONSOLATION), C.M.D., Repository of Sacred Music (1813). Psalm 138 is a lectionary reading for Epiphany 5C, Proper 12C/Ordinary 17C, Proper 16A/Ordinary 21A, Proper 5B/Ordinary 10B. Most English versions translate the Hebrew in the first verse as "gods," though it equally means "goddess;" this is reflected in the lyrics below. Alternative hymn tunes include OLD 29TH, C.M.D., ALL SAINTS NEW, C.M.D., ST. THEODULPH, C.M.D.

MORNING SONG (CONSOLATION)(C.M.D.)

1. Be-hold, O my whole heart I'll bring,
and praise to God pro-claim;
be-fore the Queen of life I'll sing,
and bless the liv-ing name.
I'll cel-e-brate the sa-cred lights,
where-ev-er Love is found,
and bow my heart toward ho-ly sites,
where Wis-dom's words a-bound.

2. O God, you lend a lis-tening ear
when I cry out my heart;
and when my strength lies stuck in fear,
Love makes my dread de-part.
When lead-ers Wis-dom do pur-sue:
their hearts shall shout out praise.
Souls sing-ing of a king-dom true
shall show us of Love's ways.

3. The Most High treats the proud with scorn;
the poor, God tends their way:
And when in life as dan-gers warn,
grant safe-ty, come what may!
O Love whose pur-pos-es do last,
shall be my dwell-ing place;
And, mind-ful of each pro-mise past:
O Love, fill Earth and space.

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August 03, 2006

617R If God Had Not Been On Our Side

Title: "If God Had Not Been On On Our Side," Martin Luther (1524), translation of "Wär’ Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit," composite translators, rev. REH (2006), WÄR’ GOTT NICHT MIT UNS, 8.7.8.7.8.8.7., Gesangbuch (Wittenberg: 1537). Paraphrase of Psalm 124, a lectionary reading for Proper 16A/Ordinary 21A and Proper 21B/Ordinary 26B.

WÄR’ GOTT NICHT MIT UNS (8.7.8.7.8.8.7.)

1. If God had not been on our side
and had not come to aid us,
would our foes with their power and pride
then sure-ly have dis-mayed us?
Would we, God's flock, then have to fear
the threats of those both far and near
who act in might a-gainst us?

2. Such wrath, dear God, do not per-mit,
it sure-ly would con-sume us
and as a deep and yawn-ing pit
with life and limb en-tomb us.
Like those o’er whom deep wa-ter rolls,
that wrath then would en-gulf our souls
and, like a flood, o’er-whelm us.

3. Bless A-do-nai, who foils our threats
that they might not de-vour us.
Our souls, like birds, es-cape their nets,
they could not ov-er-power us.
The snare is brok-en; we are free!
Our help is ev-er, God, in thee,
who made the earth and heav-en.

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December 31, 2006

620R God of Queer, Transgressive Spaces

Title: "God of Queer, Transgressive Spaces," Edward Moran (2005), alt., CONVERSE, 8.7.8.7. D, C. C. Converse (1868). Moran is a Presbyterian who lives in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York; many of the lyrics of the hymns he has written can be found in the "Hymn Texts" section of the website run by The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Moran describes the work below as addressing "often-divisive issues of sexual diversity in the light of traditional images of Incarnation and Trinity." The lyrics have been edited lightly here. The second stanza originally read as a statement rather than a question, i.e., "Born of virgin, Word made flesh, dead and buried, still He rises!" The third stanza likewise read "Easter garments, at His order, Swaddle Her beloved One," without a question mark. Finally, the last stanza here reads "unbound God" in lieu of "Threesome God" as in Moran's original. The lyrics remain under copyright all the same, (c) Edward Moran 2006. They appear here by his kind permission. Users may wish to request permission to reproduce the hymn for local or congregational worship, or other purposes, by writing him at EMoran8688@aol.com. "Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart ... Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead," Deuteronomy 6:6, 8 (NRSV), see also Deuteronomy 11:18. "It is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil." Ecclesiastes 3:13. "My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away," Song of Songs 2:10. "Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt," 1 Samuel 18:3-4; see also 2 Samuel 1:26. "Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law," Romans 13:8, see also Romans 14:10, 12:4, 8:21. "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me," 1 Corinthians 11:24, see also 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 13:13. "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb," John 20:2. "She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger," Luke 2:7, John 1:1. "Thus says the Lord ... I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert," Isaiah 43:16, 19.

CONVERSE (ERIE) (WHAT A FRIEND)(8.7.8.7. D)

1. God of queer, trans-gress-ive spa-ces:
Lav-ish man-ger, emp-ty tomb,
wine-dark loaves and pre-cious gra-ces
bend our bar-ren lives to bloom.

2. God’s own de-vi-ance is Jes-us:
Born of vir-gin, word made flesh,
dead and bur-ied, and still ris-es?
What ab-norm-al world-li-ness!

3. Thank God for this grave dis-ord-er:
Shroud and sor-row fall un-done;
East-er gar-ments, at whose or-der,
swad-dle the be-lov-ed one?

4. Broth-ers, bind ye to each oth-er,
Sis-ters, too, and have no shame.
Sing with God our Fath-er-Moth-er,
Love that dares now speak its name.

5. With our un-bound* God con-fess-ing:
Turn all frac-ture in-to praise,
be-ne-dic-tion in-to bless-ing,
fab-u-lous and full of days.

* or 'threesome,' as in the original

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