April 05, 2005

28R God of the Earth, the Sky, the Sea

Original Title: "God of the Earth, the Sky and the Sea," Samuel Longfellow (1864), WINCHESTER NEW, L.M., Hamburger Musikalisches Handbuch (1690); New Title: Same hymn title, alt. REH (2005), ST. CATHERINE, 8.8.8.8.8.8., Henri F. Hemy (1865). Psalm 24:1-2, "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains . . . For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers." Genesis 1:27, "[I]n the image of God . . . male and female [God] created them;" see also Genesis 9:6. "God's likeness," 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:49. The Indwelling God, John 15:4. The hymn is not contained in The New Century Hymnal, but is found in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 25, to the tune DUKE STREET, L.M.

ST. CATHERINE (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. God of the earth, the sky, the sea,
Mak-er of all a-bove, be-low,
cre-a-tion lives and moves in thee,
thy pre-sent life in all doth flow.
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

2. Thy love is in the sun-shine’s glow,
thy life is in the quick-ening air;
When light-ning flash-es and storm winds blow,
there is thy power; thy law is there.
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

3. We feel thy calm at even-ing’s hour,
thy grand-eur in the march of night;
And when thy morn-ing breaks in power,
we hear thy word, “Let there be light.”
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

4. But high-er far, and far more clear,
thee in our spir-its we be-hold;
Thine im-age and thy-self are there—
Th’in-dwell-ing God, pro-claimed of old!
We give thee thanks, thy name we sing;
O Ho-ly One, our praise we bring!

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April 22, 2005

44R Thou, Earth, Art Ours and Ours to Save

Origianl Title: "Thou, Earth, Art Ours, and Ours to Keep," Mary Howitt, GASTORIUS, 8.8.8.8.8., adapted from Severus Gastorius (1681); New Title: "Thou, Earth, Art Ours and Ours to Save," rev. REH (2005), 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. 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. Thou, earth,~art ours, and ours to save,
that we may la-bor not in vain;
Thou giv-est the grass, the corn, the tree,
seed time and har-vest come from thee,
the ear-ly and the lat-ter rain,
the ear-ly and the lat-ter rain.

2. Thou, earth,~art mine, thou sum-mer earth,
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,~art mine, when days are 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.
Thou, earth, be-long-est still to me,
thou, earth, be-long-est still to me.

4. The earth~is yours and mine, all beings!
Ours is all worlds, all suns that shine,
dark-ness and light, and life and death,
what-e'er all space in-ha-bi-teth:
All these are yours and all are mine,
all these are yours and all are mine.

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April 25, 2005

45R Morning, So Fair to See

Original Title: "Morning, So Fair to See," Vincent Brown Silliman (1934), ST. ELIZABETH, 6.6.9.6.6.8., Silesian Folksong; New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2006), same hymn tune. ST. ELIZABETH is also unhappily (albeit for fanciful reasons) known as CRUSADER'S HYMN. Silliman was a Unitarian and humanist, and one of the editors of the Hymns for the Celebration of Life, published in 1964, the first hymnal produced by the Unitarian Universalist Association after consolidation in 1961. As the giver of the "Berry Street Address" at UUA's 1977 General Assembly in Ithaca, Silliman said "hymn tinkering is a long-standing practice. Some tinkers have spread so widely that the original is all but forgotten." Another recast version of Silliman's hymn can be found in Singing the Living Tradition, at no. 42; it does not appear in The New Century Hymnal. Morning's beauty is a topic in Genesis; e.g., Genesis 1:5-31. Morning is a time when people went to the temple; e.g., Luke 21:38, John 8:2; morning also bespeaks glory; e.g., Song of Solomon 6:10 ("Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun"); see also Isaiah 58:8.

ST. ELIZABETH (6.6.9.6.6.8.)

1. Morn-ing, so fair to see,*
Night, veiled in mys-ter-y,
Glo-rious the earth and res-plen-dent skies!
Pil-grims, we march a-long,
Sing-ing our Pil-grim song,
As through an earth-ly par-a-dise.

2. Green are the grow-ing trees;
blue are the flash-ing seas;
Glo-rious each won-der the sea-sons bring.
Bright-er is faith's sur-mise
shin-ing in Pil-grims' eyes:
Bright-er the com-mon-weal we sing.

3. Age af-ter age we rise,
'Neath the e-ter-nal skies,
In-to the light from the sha-dowed past:
Still shall our Pil-grim song,
Bou-yant and brave and strong,
Re-sound while life and moun-tains last.

*Or 'shines so brightly.' A version of the hymn less reticient about the word "fair," and thus much closer to the original text, might read as follows:

1. Morn-ing, so fair to see,
Night, veiled in mys-ter-y,
Glo-rious the earth and res-plen-dent skies!
Pil-grims, we march a-long,
Sing-ing our Pil-grim song,
As through an earth-ly par-a-dise.

2. Fair are the verdant trees;
fair are the flash-ing seas;
Fair is each won-der the sea-sons bring.
Fair-er is faith's sur-mise
shin-ing in Pil-grims' eyes:
Fair-er the com-mon-weal we sing.

3. Age af-ter age we rise,
'Neath the e-ter-nal skies,
In-to the light from the sha-dowed past:
Still shall our Pil-grim song,
Bou-yant and brave and strong,
Re-sound while life and moun-tains last.

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April 26, 2005

46R God of All Majesty and Might

Original Name: "Lord of All Majesty and Might," George Wallace Briggs (1933), VATER UNSER, 8.8.8.8.8.8., later form of melody in V. Schumann’s Gesangbuch (1539), harmony by J.S. Bach; New Name: "God of All Majesty and Might," rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Briggs was an English Anglican priest, born in 1875. The title echoes "In thine hand is power and might," 1 Chronicles 29:12; the "unfathomed deep" of the lyrics seems to correlate with Psalm 95:4, "In [God's] hand are the deep places of the earth." The last verse seems to take from Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:9, "for we know in part, and we prophesy in part." The Imago Dei is echoed in verse four, from Genesis 1:27. The discussion of wisdom in verse 2 resonantes with the passages "Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom," Job 36:5 and "God only wise," Romans 16:27a. The hymn appears in neither Singing the Living Tradition nor The New Century Hymnal.

VATER UNSER (8.8.8.8.8.8.)

1. God of all maj~es-ty and might,
Whose pres-ence fills th'un-fathom-ed deep,
Where-in un-count-ed worlds of light
through count-less a-ges vi-gil keep;
E-ter-nal One, can such as we,
Frail mor-tal souls, know aught of thee?

2. Be-yond all know~ledge thou art wise,
With wis-dom that trans-cends all thought;
Yet still we seek with strain-ing eyes,
Yea, seek as our an-ces-tors sought;
Nor will we from the quest de-part,
Til we shall know thee as thou art.


3. Frail though our form,~and brief our day,
Our mind has bridged the gulf of years,
Our pu-ny ba-lan-ces can weigh,
The mag-ni-tude of star-ry spheres:
With-in us is e-ter-ni-ty;
Whence come this, O God, but from thee?


4. For when thy wond~rous works we scan,
And mind gives ans-wer back to mind,
Thine im-age shines in the hu-man;
And seek-ing we shall sure-ly find.
Mor-tals, our her-i-tage we claim;
Shall not thy child-ren know thy name?


5. We know in part;~e-nough we know
to walk with thee, and walk a-right;
And thou shalt guide us as we go,
And lead us in-to full-er light,
Til when we stand be-fore thy throne,
We know at last as we are known. 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. 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. "timor 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."

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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