December 13, 2005

214R Rabbi and Worker of Years Past

Original Title: "O Master Workman of the Race," Jay Thomas Stocking (1912), OLD 137TH, C.M.D., One and Fiftie Psalms of David (1556); New Title: "Rabbi and Worker of Years Past," alt. REH (2005), same hymn tune. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition. Stocking was an American Congregationalist. The source of OLD 137TH is also thought to be John Day's Psalter (1553), although this is not what Hymns of the Spirit Two has to say on the matter. The disciples of Jesus called him "rabbi," translated as "magister" in Latin; this appears variously as master, teacher and rabbi in English versions of the Bible; all speak to Jesus' teaching ministry, but only the final designation in English makes clear his identity as a Jewish teacher. The lyrics seem to echo Luke 2:24b (NKJV): "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"

OLD 137TH (C.M.D.)

1. Rab-bi and Work-er of years past, the one from Gal-i-lee,
who with the mind of ear-ly youth sub-lime things did per-ceive,
we give thanks for a child-hood faith that shone a whole life through;
"Did you not know it is my work, and our God's work to do?"

2. O Car-pen-ter of Na-za-reth, Buil-der of life di-vine,
who shapes our lives to God’s own law, your own, the true de-sign,
build us a tower of Christ-like height, that we the land may view,
and, lo, like you, our nob-lest work, the Sove-reign's work to do.

3. O one who does the vi-sion send and ere gives each a task,
and with the task suf-fic-ient strength, show us your will, we ask;
Give us a cons-cience bold and good, give us a pur-pose true,
that it may be our high-est joy, our Sove-reign's work to do.

Word Score
PDF Score
Noteworthy Composer File

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