March 08, 2005

8R Bring, O Morn, Your Music

Original Title: "Bring, O Morn, Thy Music," William Channing Gannett (1893), NICAEA, John Bacchus Dykes (1861); New Title: "Bring, O Morn, Your Music," rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. William Channing Gannett, born in Boston, served Unity Church (Unitarian) in St. Paul, and the Unitarian Church in Rochester, where Susan B. Anthony was amongst his congregants. The last line of each verse echoes Revelations 1:8 (which see), but the hymn as a whole personifies and praises nature, bordering on panentheism (although the lyrics textually have nature worshiping God as well, as "Our Creator" and "Mighty Giver"). See also Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-14, "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist." Gannett wrote the hymn as a summary of the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. It appears in Singing the Living Tradition as "Bring, O Morn, Thy Music, as no. 39, but does not appear in The New Century Hymnal. This version of NICAEA is in F-sharp, although NICAEA in Hymns of the Spirit Two is in E-flat. See No. 17R herein for a version of NICAEA in E-flat.

NICAEA (12.13.12.10.)

1. Bring, O Morn, your mus-ic! Night,~your star-lit si-lence!
O-ceans, laugh the rap-ture to the storm winds cours-ing free!
Suns and pla-nets cho-rus: you are our Cre-a-tor,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!

2. Life and death, your crea-tures, praise~you, Migh-ty Gi-ver!
Praise and prayer are ris-ing in your beast and bird and tree:
Lo! they praise and van-ish, van-ish at your bidd-ing,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!


3. Light us! lead us! love us! cry~your grop-ing na-tions,
speak-ing in a thou-sand tongues, your name a-lone the plea;
weav-ing free-ly out your ho-ly, hap-py pur-pose,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be!


4. Life nor death can part us, you~O Love E-ter-nal,
shep-herd of the wan-dering star and souls that way-ward flee!
Home-ward draws the spir-it to your spir-it yearn-ing,
who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be! A-men.

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March 12, 2005

12R We Lift Our Hearts In Thanks Today

Original Title: "We Lift Our Hearts in Thanks Today," Percival Chubb (1860-1960), PRAETORIUS, C.M., Harmoniae Hymnorum Scholae Gorlicensis (1599); New Title: Same hymn title, ELLACOMBE, 7.6.7.6. D, Gesangbuch der Herzogl W. k. Hofkapelle (Wurttemberg 1784). Percival Chubb was an English Ethical Culturist who later moved to the United States. The hymn appears as no. 355 in Singing the Living Tradition, but does not appear in The New Century Hymnal.

ELLACOMBE (7.6.7.6. D).

1. We lift our hearts in thanks~to-day
for all the gifts of life;
And, first, for peace that turns~a-way
the en-mi-ties of strife.
And, next, the beau-ty of~the earth
its flowers and love-ly things,
the spring's great mir-a-cle~of birth
with sound of songs and wings.

2. Then, har-vests of its teem~ing soil
in or-chard, croft and field;
But, more, the ser-vice and~the toil
of those who helped them yield.
And, most, the gifts of hope~and love,
of wis-dom, truth and right,
the gifts that shine like stars~a-bove
to chart the world by night.

3. As we re-ceive, so let~us give
with rea-dy, gene-rous hand;
rich fruit-age from the lives~we live
to bless our home and land.
We lift our hearts in thanks~to-day
for all the gifts of life;
And e'er for peace that turns~a-way
the en-mi-ties of strife.

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April 19, 2005

41R O God, Your Wonders

Original Title: "Father, Thy Wonders Do Not Singly Stand," Jones Very (1839, 1846), OLD FIRST, 10.10.10.10., later form of melody in Genevan Psalter (1542); New Title: "O God, Your Wonders (Do Not Singly Stand)," rev. REH (2007), TOULON, 10.10.10.10., abridged from Genevan Psalter (1551). The hymn is based on two poems, both called "The Spirit-Land," one written in 1839 and which begins "Father, thy wonders do not singly stand; the second, written in 1846 of the same title, begins "Open our eyes . . ." Very was a Unitarian minister, and Transcendentalist poet, contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who is said to have "gone mad" at an early age. "Spirit land" seems to be an invocation (albeit infrequent) of heaven even in conventional Christian hymns. For example, Samuel Greg's 1854 hymn, "Stay, Master, Upon This Heavenly Hill," entreats Jesus to "let us linger a little longer . . . and catch a glimpse into spirit land." Very seems, by contrast, to place this spirit land not somewhere distant or obscure, but rather somewhere "richly . . . displayed," in an "enchanted land" that lies ever around us. God gave us inspiration and intuition; Very seems to tell us we should not waste these precious gifts that are "at hand;" that is, available to us. Such is the language Jesus used too in speaking of the Kingdom of God, in images so often misunderstood by his followers. Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15. "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?,” Mark 10:17. "When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him," Luke 5:11 (NRSV). The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal.

TOULON (10.10.10.10.)

1. O God! your won-ders do not sing-ly stand,
nor far re-moved where feet have sel-dom strayed;
A-round us ev-er lies th'en-chant-ed land;
Rich mar-vels to your child-ren thus dis-played.

2. In find-ing you are all things round us found;
In los-ing you are all things lost be-side;
Ears have we but in vain strange voic-es sound,
and to our eyes the vi-sion is de-nied.


3. O-pen our eyes that we that world may see,
o-pen our ears that we your voice may hear,
and in the spir-it-land may ev-er be,
and feel your pre-sence with us al-ways near.

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May 23, 2005

63R Mysterious Presence, Source of All

Original Title: "Mysterious Presence, Source of All," Seth Curtis Brooks (1866), WAREHAM, L.M., William Knapp (1736); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), LUCIS CREATOR, L.M., Angers Church Melody. Seth Curtis Beach was an American Unitarian. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." James 1:17 (KJV). Psalm 36:6, "Thy judgments are a great deep." Psalm 73:16, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me." Psalm 77:19, "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known." Romans 11:33, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unserachable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" "God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," Genesis 2:7 (NRSV); see also Genesis 1:30, 6:17, 7:15. "For with you is the fountain of life," Psalm 36:9, see also Psalm 68:26, Proverbs 5:18, 13:14, 14:17, 16:22, 18:4. "They have forsaken the fountain of the living water, the Lord," Jeremiah 17:13. Ezekiel 37:9, "Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy . . . and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." John 3:8 (KJV), "The wind bloweth where it listeth . . . so is everyone that is born of the spirit." Acts 2:2, "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven of a rushing mighty wind." The hymn appears in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 92, to WAREHAM, using thee/thou. It does not appear in The New Century Hymnal.

LUCIS CREATOR (L.M.)

1. Mys-ter-ious Pre-sence, Source of all;
The world with-out, the soul with-in,
Foun-tain of life, O hear our call,
and pour your liv-ing wat-ers in!

2. You breathe with-in the rush-ing wind;
Your Spir-it stirs in leaf and flower;
Nor will you from the will-ing mind
with-hold your light and love and power.


3. Your hand un-seen to ac-cents clear
a-woke the psal-mist’s tremb-ling lyre,
and touch-ed the lips of holy seer
with flame from your own al-tar fire.

4. That touch di-vine, ev-er im-part;
Still give the pro-phets' burn-ing word;
And, vo-cal in each wait-ing heart,
let liv-ing psalms of praise be heard.

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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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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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January 05, 2006

531S Psalm 67: Bless Us, O God

Original Title: "God Be Merciful Unto Me," Anonymous, first setting, Anonymous, second setting, William Croft; New Title: "Psalm 67: Bless Us, O God," Christine Robinson (2006), arranged by REH (2006), first setting, Anonymous. Christine Robinson is a minister at First Unitarian Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico; her adaptation of the psalms has been part of her daily spiritual exercises since 2003. During a sabbatical from parish ministry, she began to write these psalms on a blog entitled Psalms for a New World, an adaptation using "inclusive language and through modern lenses of ecological awareness, Taoist sensibilites, and post-modern theology." Though the style of these adaptations would generally not be suited for metrical psalms or "four-square" hymn paraphrases, Hymns of the Spirit Two does contain a few Anglican-style plainchants that do not require rigorous rhyming or metrical schemes. This is one of those selections, and the Reverend Robinson's work has been adopted for inclusion here. She has graciously granted permission for same. The normal copyright restrictions on local and congregational use apply as noted below. Psalm 67 is the revised common lectionary psalm for Proper 15A/Ordinary 20A/Pentecost 13A and Easter 6C.

PSALM 67 (Chant)

1. Bless us, O God; whisper~in~our hearts and light our times.
2. Help~us~to~understand~your~love and your law; and~bring~them~to bear on the world’s ills.
3. Let~all~the~people~of~the earth praise you with~all their di-verse voi-ces.
4. Let~them~call~out~the~ten thou-sand names; let~all~nations~praise~you~with the best of their ways.
5. Let~the~peoples~of~the~earth bless the earth and~heal~earth~together;~let~us~all~enjoy each oth-er’s wis-dom.
6. Bless~us,~O~God,~with~your~presence in our hearts; and~in~the~soul~of our na-tion. A-men.

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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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June 14, 2006

607R O Blessed Seekers

Title: "O Blessed Seekers," United Presbyterian Psalter (1887), Psalm 1, adapted by REH (2007), ST. CATHERINE, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Henri F. Hemy (1865). Psalm 1 is a Revised Common Lectionary text for Epiphany 6C, Proper 18C/Ordinary 23C, Proper 20B/Ordinary 25B, Easter 7B and Proper 25A/Ordinary 30A. SUSSEX CAROL and FOLKINGHAM are alternative hymn tunes.

ST. CATHERINE (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. O bless-ed seek-ers do not stray
on smooth stones laid to tempt our feet,
nor fol-low down a thought-less way,
nor sit up-on the cyn-ic's seat:
But on the Tor-ah take de-light,
and med-i-tate both day and night.

2. They shall be like tall trees in spring
where clear, clean wat-ers gent-ly mist,
which dark-blue ber-ries count-less bring,
and ev-er green the leaves per-sist:
Thus shall pros-per-i-ty re-vive
the good, green Earth, and all hearts thrive.

3. Not so the self-ish lot, for they
as dust, in heat and wind, are spent;
they plun-der through each judg-ment day,
and do not dance through life con-tent:
God's Earth sus-tains a good, green trail;
des-truc-tive ways shall not pre-vail.

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July 29, 2006

616R O Heart of Fire

Title: "O Heart of Fire," John Henry Newman (1833), from his Hymns (New York: 1896), arr. REH (2006), LUX VERA, 10.6.10.6., John Bacchus Dykes (1870). Newman wrote of the love between "David and Jonathan" in a work of that name, with the epigraph to the poem "Thy love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women," 2 Samuel 1:26 (KJV). Newman (1801-1890) was a British clergyman and leader in the Anglo-Catholic "Oxford Movement," who eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, and became a cardinal; the "cause" of his sainthood in the Roman sense is pending (though all are free to assume that he is already a saint-- an example of faith-- in the best and broadest sense of the word). He is buried in same grave as his companion, Ambrose St. John. See also "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved," John 13:23 (KJV); "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us," Romans 8:34. "For righteousness is immortal," Wisdom of Solomon 1:15.

LUX VERA (10.6.10.6.)

1. O heart of fire, mis-judged by wil-ful gain,
the flower of Jes-se's race!
What woe you had when you and Jon-a-than
last greet-ed face to face

2. One doomed to die, and on us to im-press
a heart-felt hol-i-ness;
yet all was well for you, mid cares of rule,
and crime's en-circ-ling pool.

3. A spell was o'er you, zeal-ous one, to chide,
your word-ly, roy-al pride;
with bat-tle-scene and pa-geant, soon to end
the pale calm of a friend.

4. Had the friend lived, be-fore your throne to stand,
your spir-it keen and free,
would love have then sur-vived, a slend-er band,
so dear in mem-o-ry?

5. Paul, of the com-rade reft, the bless-ing gives:
a life re-mem-bered lives;
O heart of fire, come greet us face to face,
O flower of love's long race!

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