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 04, 2005

206R O Love! O Light!

Original Title: "O Love! O Light!", John Greenleaf Whittier (1866), ST. AGNES, C.M., John Bacchus Dykes (1866); New Title: "O Love! O Light!," rev. REH (2005), Same hymn tune. The hymn is not included in either Singing the Living Tradition nor in The New Century Hymnal, but the tune does appear as no. 281 and nos. 507-08 in the latter. Whittier was an 19th Century American Quaker poet, and a well-known advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The biblical sources of the names used in the hymn are numerous; John 13:13, John 1:1, John 15:15. Also there is a resonance of St. Paul's hymn that speak of peering "through a glass, darkly." 1 Corinthians 13:12. The feast of Transfiguration is again a topic here.

ST. AGNES (C.M.)

1. O Love! O Life! Our faith and sight
your pres-ence now makes one,
as through trans-fig-ured clouds of white
we trace the noon-day sun.

2. So, to our mor-tal minds sub-dued,
flesh-veiled, but not con-cealed,
we know in you the par-ent-hood
and heart of God re-vealed.


3. We faint-ly know, dim-ly per-ceive,
in dif-fering phrase we pray;
In you, dim or clear, we own free
the Light, the Truth, the Way!


4. To do your will is more than praise,
as words are less than deeds;
and sim-ple trust can find your ways
we miss with chart of creeds.

5. Our friend, our kind-red, and our word,
What may your ser-vice be?
Nor name, nor form, nor ri-tual heard,
but fol-low-ing free-ly.


6. Your li-ta-nies, sweet of-fi-ces
of love and gra-ti-tude;
your sa-cred, di-vine li-tur-gies,
the joy of do-ing good.

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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 02:50 AM | Comments (0)