March 13, 2005

13R Rejoice, You Pure In Heart

Original Title: "Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart," Edward Hayes Pulmptre (1865), MARION, 6.6.8.6.4.6., Arthur Henry Messiter (1883); New Title: "Rejoice You Pure in Heart," rev. REH (2006), ICH HALTE TREULICH STILL, S.M.D., attributed to Bach (1736). The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but does appear in revised form as "Rejoice, You Pure in Heart," as no. 55 to MARION and as no. 71 to VINEYARD HAVEN in The New Century Hymnal. Pulmptre was a 19th century English Anglican. One hears Psalm 20 in lyrics about the "festal banner," the first line of Psalm 147 in the refrain, and Phillipians 4:4 in the title line and the refrain, "Rejoice . . . rejoice."

ICH HALTE TREULICH STILL (S.M.D.)

1. Re-joice, you pure in heart,
re-joice give thanks and sing;
your fes-tal ban-ner wave on high--
the cross of Christ rais-ing.

Refrain.
Re-joice, give thanks and sing; Re-joice, give thanks and sing;
Re-joice, re-joice, re-joice, and sing; Re-joice, give thanks and sing!

2. With all the an-gel choirs,
with all the saints of earth,
pour out the strains of joy and bliss,
true rap-ture, nob-lest mirth. Refrain.


3. Your clear ho-san-nas raise;
And al-le-lu-ias loud;
While an-swer-ing ech-oes up-ward float,
like wreaths of incense cloud. Refrain.

4. With voice as full and strong
as o-cean’s surg-ing praise,
send forth the hymns an-ces-tors loved,
the psalms of an-cient days. Refrain.

5. At last the toil shall end,
the wear-ied ones shall rest,
the pil-grims find the ho-ly home,
where saints are tru-ly blest. Refrain.

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March 17, 2005

17R Holy, Holy, Holy

Original Title: "Holy, Holy, Holy, (Lord God Almighty)," Reginald Heber (arr.)(1826), NICAEA, 11.12.12.10, John Bacchus Dykes (1861); New Title: "Holy, Holy, Holy," arr., same hymn tune. Heber was an Anglican bishop, and the hymn tune name, NICAEA, gives a clue as to the trinitarian impulses of his original words. Unitarians have rearranged his words, omitting references to the Trinity, since at least 1848. Even the 1917 Universalist hymnal, Hymns of the Church, includes, as does Hymns of the Spirit Two, only three verses of Heber's original, with no trinitarian references. Singing the Living Tradition recasts the same three verses as no. 26, "Holy, Holy, Holy, (Author of Creation)," while The New Century Hymnal in four verses gives us "Holy, Holy, Holy, (God the Almighty). The verse regarding "cherubim and seraphim," excised from Unitarian and Universalist hymnody for centuries now, has been restored here. "Holy, holy, holy," are words addressed above in Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8, and in communion prayers in many settings.

NICAEA (11.12.12.10)

1. Ho-ly, ho-ly, ho-ly! O God Al-migh-ty!
Ear-ly in the morn-ing our song shall rise to thee;
Ho-ly, ho-ly, ho-ly, mer-ci-ful and migh-ty!
Per-fect in power, in love, and pu-ri-ty.

2. Ho-ly, ho-ly, ho-ly! All the saints a-dore thee,
Cast-ing down their gol-den crowns a-round the glass-y sea;
Che-rub-im and se~raph-im fall-ing down be-fore thee,
Who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be.

3. Ho-ly, ho-ly, ho-ly! though the night-fall hide thee,
hin-dered by our va-ni-ties we have not eyes to see;
On-ly thou art ho-ly; there is none be-side thee,
Per-fect in power, in love, and pu-ri-ty!

4. Ho-ly, ho-ly, ho-ly! O God Al-migh-ty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Ho-ly, ho-ly, ho-ly; mer-ci-ful and migh-ty!
Who was, and is, and ev-er-more shall be.

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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

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 14, 2006

611R Mary, First One to the Tomb

Title: 'Mary, First One to the Tomb," John Newton (1779), rev. REH (2006), GOTT SEI DANK, 7.7.7.7., Johann A. Freylinghausen (1704). Newton's orignal title was "Mary, to her Savior's Tomb." Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-9, Luke 24:10, John 20:1 (KJV), "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre," see also John 20:1-18. The "feast day" of Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Magdala, is July 22, in Roman Catholic and other more "liturgical" churches. All the same, many in the free church sometimes choose to celebrate this woman of vision and courage as a pioneer of faith.

GOTT SEI DANK (7.7.7.7.)

1. Ma-ry, first one to the tomb,
swift-ly at the ear-ly dawn;
spice she brought, and sweet per-fume;
The Be-lov-ed One was gone.


2. The Mag-da-lene weep-ing stood,
struck with sor-row and sur-prise;
shed-ding tears, a plen-teous flood,
for the heart sup-plied her eyes.

3. Jes-us, as if al-ways near,
though too oft-en un-per-ceived,
came, a true lead-er to cheer,
asked to her soul, why she grieved?


4. What a change liv-ing words make,
turn-ing our nights in-to day!
All who e'er weep for Life’s sake,
Love will wipe your tears a-way.

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Many will find that the following version matches the meter better:

1. Ma-ry, first one to the tomb,
Swift-ly at the ear-ly dawn;
Spice she brought, and sweet per-fume;
The Be-loved One had ere gone.

2. There she of Mag-da-la stood,
Struck with sor-row and sur-prise;
Shed-ding tears, a plen-teous flood,
For the heart sup-plied her eyes.

3. Jes-us, as if al-ways near,
Though too oft-en un-per-ceived,
Came, a lead-er true to cheer,
Asked to her soul, why she grieved?

4. What a change di-vine words make,
Turn-ing our nights in-to day;
All who e'er weep for Life’s sake,
Love will wipe your tears a-way!

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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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January 08, 2007

621R In Love I Put My Highest Trust

Title: In Love I Put My Highest Trust, Psalm 71:1-6, from The New Verson, Brady and Tate (1698), adapted REH (2007); OLD 29TH, C.M.D., Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1556), harmony, Scottish Psalter (1635). Alternative (and perhaps better known) hymn tunes to consider include Vaughn Williams' KINGSFOLD, C.M.D., and FOREST GREEN, C.M.D., both of which may be found in Singing the Living Tradition and in The New Century Hymnal. Psalm 71 is an appointed Revised Common Lectionary reading for Epiphany 4C and Proper 16C/Ordinary 21C, as well as for the Tuesday during Holy Week. The lyrics also echo Psalm 139:13 (NRSV), "You knit me in my mother's womb." The lyrics address, in a broad way, the often unchurchly topic of bullying, an area of resurgent concern for young men and women in the Internet age. Advice to bullies and their victims might include: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all," Romans 12:19; see also Proverbs 24:7. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you," Luke 6:27-28. This ode to Love echoes too the Greek Testament, in words that have come to us as "Deus caritas est," or "God is Love," words of particular significance for many Universalists. 1 John 4:16

OLD 29TH (C.M.D.)

1. In Love I put my high-est trust,
de-fend-ing hearts from chains;
And who but you can save my soul
as I cry out your names?
You are the strong and sweet-est place,
to which all souls re-sort;
And Love's de-mands do keep me safe;
they are my rock and port.

2. From cru-el taunt and cru-el word,
from earl-iest days of youth,
my heart you ev-er soothed, O God;
My life still lives in you.
Love's tough-ened care did safe-ly guard
my ten-der school-yard days;
You knit me deep with-in your womb;
Now life is con-stant praise!

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