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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April 04, 2005

27R Where Ancient Forests Round Us Spread

Original Title: "Where Ancient Forests Widely Spread," Andrews Norton (1833), WAINWRIGHT, L.M., Richard Wainwright; New Title: "Where Ancient Forests Round Us Spread," rev. REH (2005), AGINCOURT (DEO GRATIAS), Traditional English Melody (1415). Andrews Norton, an American Unitarian, is famous for having said that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s [Harvard] Divinity School Address represented "the newest form of infidelity." As beloved a figure as Emerson is for many, Norton's provocation takes nothing away from his own place in Unitarian Universalist hymnody. The full form of the hymn was anthologized in 1900 by Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833-1908) in his An American Anthology 1787-1900, as no. 51, where it is called "Hymn for the Dedication of a Church." In that collection, it began "Where ancient forests round us spread," as does the revised version here. Compare 2 Kings 19:22-24. Genesis 28:17, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." The Universe is filled by God, in God "we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28.; see also Psalm 84. "The Lord has blessed the household of Obededom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God," 2 Samuel 6:12, suggesting, as in the lyrics, there are places where "human thought burns clearer" given their chosen status. Tradition has it that the AGINCOURT was written to laud the victory of the English at Normandy. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition, nor in The New Century Hymnal.

AGINCOURT (DEO GRATIAS) (L.M.)

1. Where an-cient for-ests round us spread,
where bends~the cat'-ract's o-cean fall,
on the lone moun-tain's si-lent head,
there are your tem-ples, God of all!

2. Be-neath the dark-blue, mid-night arch,
whence my~riad suns pour down their rays,
where pla-nets trace their cease-less march,
O Life! we praise you as we gaze.

3. All space is ho-ly, for all space
is filled~by you; And hu-man thought
burns clear-er in some chos-en place,
where your own words of love are taught.

4. May we be taught, and may we know
a faith~your ser-vants knew of old
which on-ward bears through weal and woe,
till Death the gates of heaven un-fold.

5. Nor we a-lone, may those whose brow
shows yet~no trace of hu-man cares,
here-aft-er stand where we do now,
and raise to you still hol-ier prayers!


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April 22, 2005

44R True Stewards, Earth

Original Title: "Thou, Earth, Art Ours, and Ours to Keep," Mary Howitt, GASTORIUS, 8.8.8.8.8., adapted from Severus Gastorius (1681); New Title: "True Stewards, Earth" rev. REH (2007), SUSSEX CAROL, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Traditional English melody, arranged by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1919). Mary Howitt was an English Quaker and poet, who wrote extensively on nature themes. Perhaps her best-known poem is "The Spider and the Fly." Here the lyrics clearly echo Genesis: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good," Genesis 1:11-22; see also Genesis 1:29, Genesis 8:22, Genesis 27:28. In the Christian scriptures, seed and harvest are sometimes metaphors for the God's word, e.g., Luke 8:11, Matthew 13:3, 32, John 12:24, see also Luke 13:6-9 (the parable of the fig treet). That the earth is "ours" is echoed in the Psalms, e.g., Psalm 115:16; the likeness of "darkness and light" in Psalm 139:12; God gives grain/corn in Psalm 65:9. Trees and wind are mentioned specifically in Isaiah 7:2; the first and latter rain in Deuteronomy 11:14. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

SUSSEX CAROL (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. True stew-ards, earth, we are for thee,
who in faith la-bor in thy reign;
the green-ing grass, the corn, the tree,
spring-time and har-vest come from thee,
the ear-ly and the lat-ter rain,
the ear-ly and the lat-ter rain.

2. O earth, the earth, thy sum-mer-time,
fresh with the dews, the sun-shine bright,
with gold-en clouds in eve-ning hours,
with sing-ing birds and fra-grant flowers,
crea-tures of beau-ty and de-light,
crea-tures of beau-ty and de-light.

3. Thou, earth, our earth, when light is dim,
and leaf-less stands the state-ly tree,
when from the north the fierce winds blow,
when fall-eth fast the mant-ling snow.
O earth, thou speak-est still to me,
O earth, thou speak-est still to me.

4. The earth is yours and mine, all life!
Ours is all worlds, all suns that shine,
sha-dow and light, and life and death,
what-e'er all space in-ha-bi-teth:
Life's im-age bears the true di-vine,
Life's im-age bears the true di-vine.

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November 17, 2005

198R All Creatures of the Earth and Sky/Oh, criaturas del buen Dios

Original Title: "All Creatures of Our God and King," Francis of Assisi (1225), trans. W H. Draper, LASST UNS ERFERUEN, 8.8.4.4.8.8.3.3.4.4.4., Geistliche Kirchengesänge (Cologne 1623); New Title: "All Creatures of the Earth and Sky," recast from Umbrian REH (2005), Spanish J. Miguez Bonino, same hymn tune. Under the latter title it appears to LASST UNS ERFERUEN in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 203, albeit with only five stanzas; with even more changes it appears recast by Miriam Therese Winter as no. 17 in The New Century Hymnal as "To You, O God, All Creatures Sing." An abbreviated adaption by Sharon Anway is included in the UUA's Singing the Journey as No. 1066 to the tune YE BANKS AND BRAES under the name "O Brother Sun," to good reviews. The hymn is sometimes perceived as a take on Psalm 148; there are echoes of other psalms as well (such as Psalm 69); however, it most strongly echoes Psalm 100. The Spanish version, originally entitled "Oh, criaturas del Señor," as no. 22, in Mil Voces para celebrar. The redemption, and in some senses, personalization of Nature by St. Francis has a hint of natural theism about it, which no doubt explains the placement of the no. 1066 in the "Earth-Centered Traditions" section of Singing the Journey; that Christianity in some guises might count amongst such traditions ought not be discounted (as the editors seem to recognize implicitly), given the stewardship of the Earth that Genesis 2 bestows upon humankind.

LASST UNS ERFERUEN (8.8.4.4.8.8.3.3.4.4.4.)

1. All crea~tures~of the earth and sky,
Lift up your voice to heaven on high,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
O ra-diant sun with splen~did beam,
O pre-cious moon with sof-ter gleam!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!

2. O rush~ing~wind that blows so strong,
And storms that sail in skies a-long,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
O cher-ished air, in praise~re-joice,
with stars of even-ing, find a voice!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!

3. O use~ful~wat-er, pure and clear,
Make hum-ble sounds for all to hear,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
O fire so spir-it-ful~and bright,
That gives to us both warmth and light!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!

4. Dear kind~red~earth, who day by day,
Un-folds e'er bless-ings on our way,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
The flowers and fruits that in~you grow,
They ho-ly glo-ry a-lso show!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!


5. And all~dear~souls of ten-der heart,
For-giv-ing oth-ers, take your part,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
All who long pain and sor~row bear,
To the Most Ho-ly cast your care!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!

6. And you~most~kind and gent-le Death,
Wait-ing to hush our lat-est breath,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
Who leads to home the child~of God,
Death's Re-deem-er a way has trod!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!

7. Let all~things~the A-noin-ted bless,
And wor-ship God in hum-ble-ness,
Sing prais-es! Al-le-lu-ia!
O praise the Most High, let~praise ring,
Lift up your voice and with all sing!
Sing prais-es, Sing prais-es,
Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia, Al-le-lu-ia!


a. Oh, cri-a~tu-ras del buen Dios,
can-tad con me-lo-dio-sa voz:
¡A-la-bad-le! ¡A-le-lu-_ya!
Ar-dien-te sol con tu ful-gor;
oh, lu-na de sua-ve~es-plen-dor:
¡A-la-bad-le! ¡A-la-bad-le!
¡A-le-lu-ya! ¡A-le-lu-ya! ¡A-le-lu-ya!


b. Vien-to ve~loz, po-ten-te~a-lud,
nu-bes en cla-ro cie-lo~a-zul:
¡A-la-bad-le! ¡A-le-lu-ya!
Sua-ve, do-ra~ado a-ma-ne-cer;
tu, man-to, no-che~al ex-ten-der:
¡A-la-bad-le! ¡A-la-bad-le!
¡A-le-lu-ya! ¡A-le-lu-ya! ¡A-le-lu-ya!


c. Fuen-tes de~a-gua de cris-tal,
a vues-tro cre-a-dor can-tad:
¡A-la-bad-le! ¡A-le-lu-ya!
Oh, fue-go,~e-le-va tu lo-or,
tú que nos da luz y ca-lor:
¡A-la-bad-le! ¡A-la-bad-le!
¡A-le-lu-ya! ¡A-le-lu-ya! ¡A-le-lu-ya!

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December 05, 2005

207R When Love's Sovereign Sojourned (Here)

Original Title: "When the Lord of Love Was Here," Stopford Augustus Brooke (1881), MISERICORDE (7.7.5.7.7.5.), Robert L. Sanders (1932); New Title: "When Love's Sovereign Sojourned (Here)," rev. REH (2005), Same hymn tune. Neither hymn nor tune appears in either Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal. Brooke was a 19th Century Irish writer and churchman, first ordained in the Church of England, but later he officiated as a Unitarian minister at Bedford chapel, Bloomsbury. The hymn recollects the words of Jesus that we are to "love God," and "love our neighbors" (even our enemies) as ourselves, and that all the law and prophets rest on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27. Also echoed in the hymn is 1 John 4:19-21, which records that Jesus "loved us" before we loved him. The "parables of God" of which Brooke speaks are found through out the gospels, but above all in Mark, chapter 4:1-20, in a series of stories regarding seeds, birds, soil, and the transforming and self-producing power of the earth. "The outcasts" thronging to the Healer bring to mind the story of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:26-30, who, comparing herself with a "dog," argues with Jesus that he heal her daughter as even "dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs;" Jesus agrees. The UUA's Skinner House advises that it considers MISERICORDE to be in the public domain.

MISERICORDE (7.7.5.7.7.5.)

1. When Love's Sove-reign so-journed here,
hap-py hearts grew ev-er near,
though one heart was sad;
Worn and lone-some for our sake,
yet still turned a-side to make
all the wea-ry glad.

2. One who walked the fields, and drew
from the flowers and birds and dew
pa-ra-bles of God;
For with-in that heart of love
all the souls on earth did move,
God had an a-bode.

3. All the out-casts thronged to hear,
all the sor-row-ful drew near
to the Hea-ler's care;
deep and ear-thy were the ways
from which lov-ing grew to praise,
and from giv-ing, prayer.

4. O, be ours that power to keep
in the ver-y heart of grief,
and in tri-al, love;
In our weak-ness to be wise,
and through sor-rows to a-rise
to our God a-bove. A-men.

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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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July 12, 2006

608R Soon God's Redeeming Grace Will Come

Title: "Soon God's Redeeming Grace Will Come," Anonymous, rev. REH (2006), WINCHESTER NEW, L.M., Musikalisches Handbuch (1690). Based on Psalm 85:9-13. The original hymn, which does not appear in Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937), is entitled "Lord, Thou Hast Greatly Blessed Our Land," Anonymous, REPENTANCE, L.M., Theodore E. Perkins (1831-1912). Psalm 85, or parts thereof, constitutes a lectionary reading for Proper 14A/Ordinary 19A, Advent 2B, Proper 10B/Ordinary 15B, and Proper 12C/Ordinary 17C.

WINCHESTER NEW (L.M.)

1. Soon God's re-deem-ing grace will come;
all souls new-mind-ed will be-come;
and glo-ry through our land shall dwell,
when we do heed Love's teach-ings well.

2. Now truth a-grees with mer-cy's bliss;
the law and peace come forth to kiss;
be-hold the truth from earth a-rise,
with jus-tice shin-ing from the skies.

3. The Ho-ly will send bles-sings down;
green har-vests all the land shall crown;
wide whole-some-ness be-fore us lies;
our sure foot-steps are Life's sur-mise. A-men.

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