Main | Sunday, January 22, 2006 »

January 07, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Second Sunday after Epiphany (Year B)
January 15, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
(celebrated Monday, January 16, 2006)

The National Council of Churches in Christ, USA, representing more than 37 denominations, is sponsoring "Living Wage Days" in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noting that the minimum wage currently places workers more than five thousand dollars below the official poverty line. Religious leaders call this state of affairs a "moral outrage," given that one in six children in the United States lives in poverty, the majority in working families. King placed the abolition of poverty in his lifetime high amongst his many goals. One event in "Living Wage Days" will be held at the historic United First Parish Church (Unitarian) in Quincy, Massachusetts (the so-called "Church of the Presidents," as it was the home church of John Adams, amongst others), where members of Congress and others from more than 50 faith communities are to speak about how it is that in the wealthiest country on earth, those who work for a living full-time might still live in poverty. See the press release from the National Council of Churches.

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"Ring Out, Wild Bells" No 149R
"O Pure Reformers, Not in Vain" No. 328R

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" No. 149
"We Shall Overcome" No. 169
"Oh, Freedom" No. 156
"Precious Lord, Take My Hand" No. 199

The Tennyson hymn "Ring Out, Wild Bells" No 149R, though technically a hymn for the New Year, boasts lyrics that speak of the dying year, and the coming of the new, which might be seasonal enough; they might be seen as well as a metaphor of a new age of which King spoke, and thus appropriate for the holiday. Most on point are the lyrics, notable considering these were written in 1849, that speak of ringing out "false pride in blood and place, the civic slander and the spite." Some in more pluralist settings may find the substitution of the word "Love" in the last line helpful.

Retired United Methodist pastor John Middleton's hymn for King Day, entitled "Come, Let Us Dream (God's dream again)," many may find appopriate for post-modern worship. It is set to the tune GIFT OF LOVE (L.M.), which is found in Singing the Living Tradition to the well-known hymn "Though I May Speak With Bravest Fire," at no. 34. Permission for local church worship has been granted; the hymn may be found here: "Come, Let Us Dream"

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" No. 126
"Be Thou My Vision" No. 20

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"Now Thank We All Our God" No. 262R
"Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" No. 30R
"Praise Be to God, the Almighty" No. 7R

None of these hymns, properly speaking, squarely takes on Psalm 139; however, the following hymn from The Psalter (1912), with minor revisions, accompanied by the 2005 hymn tune GUTERHIRT (C.M.) composed by Michael Lonneke, released into the public domain, does:

O Love, my in-most heart and thought
thy search-ing eye doth see;
Wher-e'er I rest, wher-e'er I go,
my ways are known to thee.

Each spok-en word, each si-lent thought,
thou, God, dost un-der-stand;
Be-fore me and be-hind art thou,
sus-tain-ing by thy hand.

If I the wings of morn-ing take
to some re-mot-est land,
still I shall be up-held by thee
and guid-ed by thy hand.

From thee, O God, I can-not hide
though night-time cov-er me;
The even-ing and the light of day
are both a-like to thee.

Search me, O Truth, and know my heart,
try me, my thoughts to know;
O lead me, if aim-less I stray,
in paths of life to go.

Though not included in Hymns of the Spirit Two, it is included in Hymns of the Spirit Three, as "O Love, My Inmost Heart" No. 601R . Lonneke was the found­ing pre­si­dent of the Lou­doun, Vir­gin­ia, Sym­pho­ny, and serves as or­gan­ist for the Ang­li­can Church of the Good Shep­herd and for Trin­i­ty United Meth­od­ist Church, both in Par­is, Vir­gin­ia, near Washington, DC.

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"The Lone, Wild Bird" No. 15

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"Holy Spirit, Love Divine" No. 68R
"Pues Si Vivimos" No. 600R

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"Come Down, O Love Divine" No. 271

"Pues Si Vivimos" No. 600R is an easy Mexican folk hymn, one stanza in Spanish, one in English. Congregations and congregants with even rudimentary skills should be able to make their way through these brief, simple and powerful lyrics. Guitar chords provide alternative ways for congregational singing, although the hymn is suitable for traditional hymn singing as well. Additional Spanish and English lyrics, subject to copyright, are available in other hymnals.

John 1:43-51

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"O Teacher, Let Me Walk With You" 208R

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder" No. 211
& "We Are Dancing Sarah's Circle" No. 212
"Forward Through the Ages" No. 114

Three hymns to the tune ST. GERTRUDE are included in Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937), including "Forward Through the Ages" by Arthur Seymor Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) as no. 329, the only one of the three to merit placement by the editors directly under the hymn tune. Also included are "Hail the Hero Workers" by Anna Garlin Spencer at no. 330, and lastly "Onward, Christian Soliders," by Sabine Baring-Gould, with alterations even in the 1937 collection, at no. 331. No. 330, an interesting historical piece, has not survived; nor of course has "Onward, Christian Soldiers," not merely is it absent from Singing the Living Tradition, but from many of the current hymnals published by the so-called "mainstream" Protestant churches (that it is absent from the hymnals of Catholic and Orthodox churches, perhaps to their credit, goes without saying). None of the hymns tied to the tune ST. GERTRUDE are yet included in Hymns of the Spirit Three; the question is how no. 331 should be treated therein, or even whether the hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" is subject to "rehabilitation" for progressive or post-liberal worship. Perhaps the passage of time will effect its own rehabilitation, but that might be a long time indeed. Readers are welcome to share their opinions and suggestions.

Copyright © 2006 Richard E. Hurst,
This listing and other materials above may be printed, copied, distributed, reprinted in church or local group bulletins or newsletters, or otherwise used for nonprofit local worship or education with the inclusion of the copyright citation and the website as its source. It may not be used for profit or republication without prior permission (

Posted by rehurst at January 7, 2006 04:36 AM


Post a comment

Remember Me?