April 16, 2005

39R There Is a Book

Original Title: "There Is a Book (Who Runs May Read)," John Keble (1819), DEDHAM (C.M.), William Gardiner (1812); New Title: "There Is a Book (Which All May Read)," rev. REH and Jim Clark (2005), KINGSFOLD (8.6.8.6.), arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1906). Keble was English, an exponent of the Oxford Movement, an Anglo-Catholic current within the Church of England. Gardiner and Vaughan Williams were both English. The original line from the hymn "who runs may read," is nothing if not obscure to modern speakers of English; it comes from Habakkuk: "Yahweh answered me, 'Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it.'" Habakkuk 2:2. At least one modern reading renders it this way: "Then the Lord replied: 'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.'" The latter suggests that the purpose of running with the revelation in hand is so that the herald may read it to those whom he meets along the way; the lyrics here have been recast to capture this sense of the words in even broader terms-- that revelation is available to all, without mediation, and likewise may be interpreted by all. "The word of God is living and active," Hebrews 4:12. "They read from the book, from the law of God," Nehemiah 8:8 (NRSV). Those wishing to limit the hymn to singing about the Hebrew scriptures, given the grounding of the original quotation in Habakkuk, may wish to substitute "Christ" with "Love."

KINGSFOLD (8.6.8.6.)

1. There is a book, which all may read,
which heaven-ly truth im-parts;
and all the tools its read-ers need,
broad minds and lov-ing hearts.
The lives of proph-ets here be-low,
and works of Christ all 'round,
are pa-ges in that book to show
how God is free-ly found.

2. The glor-ious sky, em-brac-ing all,
is like the Mak-er's love,
en-com-pass-ing the great and small,
with-in and high a-bove.
The dew of heaven is like your grace,
it steals in si-lence down;
But where it lights the fa-vored place,
its rich fruits spell re-nown.


3. The rag-ing sea, the roar-ing wind,
your bound-less power dis-play.
But in the gent-ler breeze un-dinned:
your spir-it's free-ing way.
To us you give [the faith] to doubt,
and love this earth with care;
Give us a heart to seek you out,
and read you eve-ry-where.

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Downloads need to be changed to reflect changes in lyrics in verse 3.

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May 15, 2005

58R O Not In Far-Off Realms of Space

Original Title: "Go Not, My Soul, In Search of Him," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1879), first tune, OLD 137TH, C.M.D., One and fiftie Psalms of David (1556), second tune, STRACATHRO, C.M, Charles Hutcheson (1832); New Title: "O Not In Far-Off Realms of Space," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1879), alt. REH (2006), OLD 137TH, C.M.D. Hosmer, born 1840, was an American Unitarian minister, and graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Hosmer's "Go Not My Soul in Search of Him," as it is called in Hymns of the Spirit Two, does not seem to be casually matched with OLD 137TH, but instead seems to take Psalm 137 as a point of radical departure. While the psalm asks how the songs of Zion might be sung in the land of Babylon, in the land of the tormentors, Hosmer to the contrary responds "Soul with soul hath kin." While the original psalm speaks of the throne of Jerusalem as the only throne, Hosmer in dialogue seems again to suggest the contrary, instructing us that the throne of God is not anywhere else but in each soul. When the psalmist tell us that if Zion fades, the psalmist's own strength will fade, Hosmer teaches that the "inward sign" will herald the entire earth shining with "Deity." Rather than looking to Jerusalem, he would have us "repair" to the Jerusalem of the soul. See also Psalm 42:2 (NRSV) "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?" and ""Be still, and know that I am God!," Psalm 46:10. 'Thou hast visited the earth, thou hast watered it; thou greatly enrichest it," Psalm 65:9 (Darby). "All the earth is full of his glory," Isaiah 6:3 (KJV). "But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret," Matthew 6:6 (NRSV). Isaiah 40:22 (KJV), "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." Isaiah 54:2, "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal.

OLD 137TH (C.M.D.)

1. O not in far-off realms of space
the Spir-it has a throne;
But in each heart finds a true place,
yet wait-ing to be known.
Search not, my soul, a-far in vain:
you will not find God there;
Nor in the depths of sha-dows wane,
nor in the heights of air.

2. Thought ans-wer-ing a-lone to thought,
as Soul with soul has kin;
The out-ward God one rec-kons not
who finds not God with-in.
And if the vi-sion comes rich-ly
re-vealed by in-ward sign,
Earth will be full of De-i-ty
and with full glo-ry shine!

3. You shall not want for com-pa-ny,
nor pitch a tent a-lone;
Th'in-dwell-ing God will go free-ly,
and show you of Life's own.
Search not for God a-far in space,
but to your-self re-pair;
Wait then with-in that si-lent grace,
and you shall find Love there!

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All materials may be reproduced for non-profit local and congregational use. We request notification of use, in addition to notification of any changes made when materials are used so we might benefit from the insight of others. Any materials used or reproduced in any way must bear the notation "(c) 2006 Richard E. Hurst, for non-profit local and congregational use only, all other rights reserved."

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