Archive for September 2010

All Creatures of Our God and King   4 comments

Above:  The Moon

Image Source = David Corby

Hymn Source = The Methodist Hymnal (1966), The Methodist Church

Original Latin Text by St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

English Translation (published in 1926) by William Henry Draper (1855-1226), a priest in The Church of England


1.  All creatures of our God and King,

Lift up your voice and with us sing

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2.  Thou rushing wind that art so strong,

Ye clouds that sail in heaven along,

O praise him! Alleluia!

Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,

Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

3.  Thou flowing water, pure and clear,

Make music for they Lord to hear,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou fire so masterful and bright,

Thou givest man both warmth and light!

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

4.  Dear mother earth, who day by day

Unfoldest blessings on our way,

O praise him! Alleluia!

The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,

Let them his glory also show!

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

5.  And all ye men of tender heart,

Forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye! Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

Praise God and on him cast your care!

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

6.  And thou, most kind and gentle death,

Waiting to hush our latest breath,

O praise him! Alleluia!

Thou leadest home the child of God,

And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

7.  Let all things their creator bless,

And worship him in humbleness,

O praise him! Alleluia!

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,

And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

O praise him, O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hymn of Promise   12 comments


Image Source = Wikipedia

Hymn Source = The United Methodist Hymnal:  Book of United Methodist Worship (1989), of The United Methodist Church

Words by Natalie Sleeth (1930-1992) in 1986


1.  In the bulb there is a flower;

in the seed, an apple tree;

in cocoons, a hidden promise:

butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter

there’s a spring that waits to be,

unrevealed until its season,

something God alone can see.

2.  There’s a song in every silence,

seeking word and melody;

there’s a dawn in every darkness,

bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future;

what it holds, a mystery,

unrevealed until its season,

something God alone can see.

3.  In our end is our beginning;

in our time, infinity;

in our doubt there is believing;

in our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection;

at the last, a victory,

unrevealed until its season,

something God alone can see.

For the Kingdom of God, by Walter Rauschenbusch   4 comments

Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918)

Image Source = Wikipedia

Prayer Source = Morgan Phelps Noyes, ed., Prayers for Services: A Manual for Leaders for Worship (New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934), p. 141

Walter Rauschenbusch, a liberal Northern Baptist minister, was a leading prophet of the Social Gospel.  For Rauschenbusch, addressing the concrete needs of people was an essential element of Christian faith.  He was correct in this conclusion.



We bless thee for the inspired souls of all ages who saw afar the shining city of God, and by faith left the profit of the present to follow their vision.  We rejoice that today the hope of these lonely hearts is becoming the clear faith of millions.  Help us, O Lord, in the courage of faith to seize what has now come so near, that the glad day of God may dawn at last.  Make us so determined to live by truth and not by lies, to found our common life on the eternal foundations of righteousness and love.  Help us to make the welfare of all the supreme law of our land, that so our commonwealth may be built strong and secure on the love of all its citizens.  Cast down the throne of Mammon who ever grinds the life of men, and set up thy throne, O Christ, for thou didst die that men might live.  Amen.

Posted September 28, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Church Militant/Kingdom of God 1900s

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Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee   2 comments

Christ Pantocrator

Image Source = Gun Powder Ma

Hymn Source = Common Service Book of the Lutheran Book (1917), of predecessor bodies of the United Lutheran Church in America (1918)

Tradition attributes this hymn, in the original Latin, to St. Bernard of Clarivaux (1090-1153).  There is much doubt about this attribution among scholars of hymnody, however.  (I have excluded Bernard from my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints, located at SUNDRY THOUGHTS, based on his involvement with Second Crusade, so I will be quite happy if he did not write this hymn.)  All agree, however, that what follows is the English translation by Edward Caswall (1814-1878), a Church of England priest who converted to Roman Catholicism during the time of the Oxford Movement.



1.  Jesus, the very thought of Thee

With sweetness fills the breast;

But sweeter far Thy face to see,

And in Thy presence rest.

2.  Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,

Nor can the memory find

A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,

O Saviour of mankind!

3.  O Hope of ev’ry contrite heart,

O Joy of all the meek,

To those who fall, how kind Thou art,

How good to those who seek!

4.  But what to those who find?  Ah, this

Nor tongue nor pen can show;

The love of Jesus, what it is,

None but His loved ones know.

5.  Jesus, our only Joy be Thou,

As Thou our Prize wilt be;

Jesus, be Thou our Glory now

And through eternity!

I Beg You, O Lord, by St. Francis of Assisi   1 comment

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Assisi, Italy

Image Source = Wikipedia

Prayer Source = The Communion of Saints:  Prayers of the Famous, Edited by Horton Davies (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1990), p. 44


I beg you, O Lord, that the fiery and sweet strength of your love may absorb my soul away from all things that are under heaven, that I may die for your love as you deigned to die for love of my love.

–St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Posted September 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Praise of God/Seeking God

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Lord, With Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee   Leave a comment

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)

Image Source = Wikipedia

Francis Scott Key, who was a practicing Episcopalian, is justly famous for a poem which is now the U.S. National Anthem.  We wrote much more than that, though.  The following hymn was one of these.



1.  Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise thee

For the bliss thy love bestows,

For the pardoning grace that saves me,

And the peace that from it flows.

Help, O God, my weak endeavor,

This dull soul to rapture raise;

Thou must light the flame, or never

Can my love be warmed to praise.

2.  Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,

Wretched wanderer, far astray;

Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee

From the paths of death away.

Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,

Him who saw thy guiltborn fear,

And, the light of hope revealing,

Bade the bloodstained Cross appear.

3.  Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling

Vainly would my lips express;

Low before thy suppliant’s prayer to bless;

Let thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,

Love’s pure flame within me raise;

And, since words can never measure,

Let my life show forth thy praise.

Hymn Source = Service Book and Hymnal (1958), of predecessor bodies of the American Lutheran Church (1960) and the Lutheran Church in America (1962)

O God of Wondrous Grace and Glory   1 comment

The Luther Rose

Image in the Public Domain

Luther D. Reed (1873-1972) was a scholar of Lutheran liturgics.  He wrote The Lutheran Liturgy (first edition, 1947; second edition, 1959).  The Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal of 1958 indicates that Reed composed the following hymn (words and music) for that volume.

Citation:  Aside from the Service Book and Hymnal, hymn #353, I cite The Oxford History of Christian Worship (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 729), edited by Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker.  Wainwright wrote the chapter that includes page 729.



1.  O God of wondrous grace and glory,

Whose law is love, Whose love is life;

We worship thee, we bow before thee

In days of calm, in hours of strife.

In thee we trust; bless thou our land;

Our times are in thy hand.

2.  Strong Son of God, who livest ever,

Whom death and hell could not contain,

Who stopped to serve, yet reignest ever;

Uphold the right; let truth remain.

Forgive our sins; our lives command;

Our times are in thy hand.

3.  O Holy Spirit, pure and mighty,

Whose breath revives the souls of men;

Cleanse thou our hearts, inspire us rightly

To live, and learn, and love again.

We would not build on sinking sand;

Our times are in thy hand.

4.  O God, whose grace and power supernal

Endure, though time itself decay;

Our strength renew, with life eternal

Crown all who seek and find the way.

Thy word, O God, the Spirit’s sword,

Give peace in our time, O Lord.

O God, Accept My Heart This Day   1 comment

My Confirmation Certificate, from December 22, 1991

Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) was an English poet and hymn writer.  Raised in the Church of England, he crossed the Tiber River under the influence of John Henry Newman.

Bridges wrote this lovely Confirmation hymn.  Confirmation is one of my favorite sacraments.  After my 1991 Confirmation at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia, I reaffirmed in 2003 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesboro, Georgia, and in 2008 at the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia.  An occasional reaffirmation is healthy.  I, being an observant Episcopalian, do this in the proscribed, ritualistic way.  This is good, for rituals help mark passages in life.



1.  O God, accept my heart this day,

And make it always thine,

That I from thee no more may stray,

No more from thee decline.

2.  Before the Cross of him who died,

Behold, I prostrate fall;

Let every sin be crucified,

And Christ be all in all.

3.  Anoint me with thy heavenly grace,

And seal me for thine own,

That I may see thy glorious face,

And worship at thy throne.

4.  Let every thought and work and word

To thee be ever given;

Then life shall be thy service, Lord,

And death the gate of heaven.

Posted September 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in Baptism and Confirmation 1800s

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Very Bread, Good Shepherd, Tend Us   13 comments

Good Shepherd Mosaic at Ravenna, Italy

Image in the Public Domain

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the original words in Latin.  The English words, appeared first in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1868).    (Thanks to The Hymnal 1982 Companion, Volume Two, and the Service Book and Hymnal (1958) for that information.)

Hymn Source = Service Book and Hymnal (1958), of predecessor bodies of the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America


1.  Very Bread, good shepherd, tend us,

Jesus, of thy love befriend us,

Thou refresh us, thou defend us,

Thine eternal goodness send us

In the land of life to see:

2.  Thou who all things canst and knowest,

Who on earth such food bestowest,

Grant us with thy saints, though lowest,

Where the heavenly feast thou showest,

Fellow heirs and guests to be.



1.  Whenever I see the abbreviation “alt.” applied to the words of a hymn, I wonder what the unaltered words were.  My sense of history compels me find the original text.  Understand me properly, please; I am neither an antiquarian nor a reactionary of any sort.  I am, in fact, quite the unapologetic progressive in almost all matters, to the point of identifying myself as a (gasp) liberal.  (Witness the prayers I have written and posted on this weblog, as well as those others have written and that I have chosen to post.)   But I am also a history buff, and that fact means that I like old things.  As an old joke goes, the archaeologist’s wife liked being married to an archaeologist; the older she got, the more interesting he found her.  I apply the same principle to hymns and hymnals.  So, as you read this blog and compare its hymn lyrics to those in some recent hymnals (if you do that), you will notice some differences between then and now.

2.  I am convinced that to partake of the Holy Eucharist in the form of bread and wine is to participate in the central act of Christian worship.  I cannot comprehend why more Christians do not want more frequent Eucharist, other than the fact that their tradition does not emphasize it.  This is the inertia argument:  we have never done it that way before.  As the laws of physics tell me, an object at rest will remain that way until or unless an outside force acts upon it.  So I encourage a more widespread reverence for Jesus, transubstantiated into bread and wine, and the corresponding demand for more frequent Eucharist.







A Prayer for Compassion   20 comments

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Image Source = Toby Hudson


Compassion is inherently active, and therefore evident or absent in deeds.



Passionate God of the Incarnation,

you have reminded us repeatedly

of how much you care for and about us,

and of what you expect of us.

We have heard the call to love one another as we love ourselves

and we have read the scriptural injunctions against economic injustice.

So why have not more of us heeded these calls more often?

Why do we support systems of economic injustice

and perpetuate racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry?

Forgive us, dear Lord.

And may we, by grace,

act compassionately and effectively to create

a beloved community of human justice founded on divine compassion,

so that we may revel in each other compassionately in this life

and glorify and enjoy you forever.