December 14, 2005

215R Not Always on the Mount May We

Original Title: "Not Always On the Mount May We," Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1912), TRANSYLVANIA, L.M., arranged from a 16th Century Hungarian Chorale, by Robert Levine Sanders; New Title: Same title, alt. REH (2005), same hymn tune. The hymn does not appear in Singing the Living Tradition, but TRANSYLVANIA is paired therein with hymn no. 322, "Thanks Be for These," by the Gilberts. In some ways, the hymn in Singing the Living Tradition is a rewrite of the present hymn using more humanistic images (though not lacking suggestions of the Divine), for example substituting "the Spirit's tidal ebb and flow" with "moments of grief, days of delight, triumph and failure intertwine." Hosmer was an American Unitarian; Richard Seward Gilbert and Joyce Timmerman Gilbert are 20th Century Unitarian Universalists. It is worth pointing out that the earlier hymn fits into what must be an exceedingly limited collection of music, that being "hymns written by Unitarians in North America for Transfiguration Sunday" (the Sunday immediately prior to Ash Wednesday); See Luke 9:29-31.

TRANSYLVANIA (L.M.)

1. Not al-ways on the mount may we
rapt in the heaven-ly vi-sion be:
The shores of thought and feel-ing know
the Spir-it's ti-dal ebb and flow.

2. 'O it is good a-bid-ing here,'
We cry, the heaven-ly pre-sence near:
The vi-sion va-nish-es, our eyes
are lift-ed in-to va-cant skies.

3. Yet has one such ex-al-ted hour
up-on the soul re-deem-ing power,
and in its strength, through af-ter days,
we tra-vel our ap-poin-ted ways,

4. Till all the low-ly vale grows bright,
trans-fi-gured in re-mem-bered light,
and in un-ti-ring souls we bear
the fresh-ness of the up-per air.


5. The mount for vi-sion: but be-low
the paths of dai-ly du-ty go,
and no-bler life there-in shall own
the pat-tern on the moun-tain shown.


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Posted by rehurst at 02:38 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2005

211R Not Long on Hermon's Holy Height

Original Title: "Not Long on Hermon's Holy Height," Theodore Claudius Pease (1891), ANGELUS, L.M., Cantica Spiritualia (1847), melody by Georg Joseph (1657); New Title: Same hymn title, rev. REH (2005), same hymn tune. Pease was a 19th Century American Congregationalist. Hermon is the name of a mountain, or chain of mountains, in northern Palestine, as in: "The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name," Psalm 89:12 (KJV). The location of the transfiguration in the New Testament is not explicit; see Matthew 17:1-6; Mark 9:1-8 and Luke 9:28-36; Origen (and other early Church scholars) believed that it occurred, in fact, on Mount Tabor (and close followers of Origen, an early Universalist, are welcome to substitute "Tabor" for "Hermon"). The hymn and the hymn tune do not appear in The New Century Hymnal nor in Singing the Living Tradition.

ANGELUS (L.M.)

1. Not long on Her-mon's ho-ly height,
the heaven-ly vi-sion fills our sight,
we may not breathe that pur-er air,
nor build our tab-er-nac-les there.

2. If with the Teach-er we would go,
our feet must thread the vale be-low,
where dim the lone-ly path-ways wind,
the gold-en glo-ry left be-hind.


3. Where hung-ry souls ask one to feed,
where wander-ers cry for one to lead,
where help-less hearts in chains are bound,
the Auth-or of Faith still be found.


4. There, bend-ing pa-tient o'er a task,
no rai-ment white our eyes shall ask,
con-tent while through each cloud we trace,
the glo-ry of the Rab-bi's face.


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Posted by rehurst at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2005

204S Strong Son of God, Maternal Love

Original Title: "Strong Son of God, Immortal Love," Alfred Tennyson, SONG FIVE, L.M., First Tune in Hymns of the Spirit Two, Orlando Gibbons (1623), ERNAN, L.M., Second Tune in Hymns of the Spirit Two, Lowell Mason; New Title: "Strong Son of God, Maternal Love," alt. REH (2005), hymn tune: SONG FIVE, L.M., (1623). Neither the hymn nor the tune appears in Singing the Living Tradition or in The New Century Hymnal, but the hymn does appear in The Hymnal (1940) of the (then thusly named) Protestant Episcopal Church, and other hymnals published throughout the Anglican Communion. Alfred Tennyson was a 19th Century English Anglican and British Poet Laureate from 1850 until his death; his most famous work was perhaps The Charge of the Light Brigade. One hears in the lyrics, "for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NRSV). Also implicit therein is an answer to the question of Jesus, "who do they say I am?" Matthew 16:13. Unlike 204R, this version is "gender inclusive," rather than "gender neutral," using the image of Jesus as our "Mother," as imagined by St. Julian of Norwich, as well as the very language of Luke 13:31-34, in which Jesus describes himself as a mother hen brooding over her chicks.

SONG FIVE (L.M.)

1. Strong Son of God, maternal love,
whom we, that have not seen thy face,
by faith, and faith a-lone, em-brace,
be-liev-ing where we can-not prove.

2. Thou seem-est hu-man and di-vine,
the high-est, hol-iest hu-man, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Ours wills are ours, to make them thine.

3. Our lit-tle sys-tems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be;
They are but bro-ken lights of thee,
And thou, O Love, art more than they.

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All materials may be reproduced for non-profit local and congregational use. We request notification of use, in addition to notification of any changes made when materials are used so we might benefit from the insight of others. Any materials used or reproduced in any way must bear the notation "(c) 2005 Richard E. Hurst, for non-profit local and congregational use only, all other rights reserved."

Posted by rehurst at 02:57 AM | Comments (0)