Archive for December 2015

O God, Above the Drifting Years   1 comment

John Wright Buckham

Above:  John Wright Buckham

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), Congregational Christian Churches

Text (1916) by John Wright Buckham (1864-1945), for the fiftieth anniversary of the Pacific Theological Seminary, the Pacific School of Religion since 1916


O God, above the drifting years,

The shrines our fathers founded stand,

And where the higher gain appears,

We trace the working of thy hand.


From out their tireless prayer and toil

Emerge the gifts that time has proved,

And seed laid deep in sacred soil

Yields harvests rich in lasting good.


The torch to their devotion lent,

Lightens the dark that round us lies;

Help us to pass it on unspent,

Until the dawn lights up the skies.


Fill thou our hearts with faith like theirs,

Who served the days they could not see;

And give us grace, through ampler years,

To build the Kingdom yet to be.

The Sacrifice of Praise/For the Beauty of the Earth   1 comment

Church of the Advent, Madison, GA

Above:  Episcopal Church of the Advent, Madison, Georgia, December 6, 2015

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Hymn Source = Lyra Eucharistica:  Hymns and Verses on the Holy Communion, Ancient and Modern; with Other Poems, Second Edition, by Orby Shipley, M.A. (1864), pages 340-342

Text (1864) by Folliot Sandford Pierpoint (1835-1917)

The original version of this Anglican Eucharistic hymn follows.  Most versions of the text are abbreviated and rewritten, dropping the references to Mary, the martyrs, prophets, and confessors.  Even the version of it in four Roman Catholic hymnals (Worship II, 1975; Worship III, 1986; Gather Comprehensive, 1994; and Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition, 2004) I consulted is altered and abbreviated (albeit longer than in most Protestant hymnals), minus Mary, the martyrs, prophets, and martyrs.

The original name of the hymn was “The Sacrifice of Praise.”

These days the standard refrain has changed from

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise


Lord of all, to Thee we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise.

A slightly modified version of the hymn, one nearly identical to Pierpoint’s original, appears in The English Hymnal (1906), of The Church of England.


For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the Love which from our birth

Over and around us lies:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For the beauty of each hour

Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,

Sun and moon and stars of light;

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For the joy of ear and eye,

For the heart and brain’s delight,

For the mystic harmony

linking sense to sound and sight:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For the joy of human love,

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth, and friends above;

For all gentle thoughts and mild:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For each perfect Gift of Thine

To our race so freely given,

Graces human and divine,

Flowers of earth, and buds of Heaven:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For Thy Bride that evermore

Lifteth holy hands above,

Offering up on every shore

This Pure Sacrifice of Love:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For Thy Martyrs’ crown of light,

For Thy Prophets’ eagle eye,

For Thy bold Confessors’ might,

For the lips of Infancy:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.


For Thy Virgins’ robes of snow,

For Thy Maiden Mother mild,

For Thyself, with hearts aglow,

Jesu, Victim undefiled,

Offer we at Thine own Shrine

Thyself, sweet Sacrament Divine.

John Hampden Gurney   1 comment

St. Marylebone, London, 1834

Above:  Map of St. Marylebone, London, England, 1834

Image in the Public Domain

John Hampden Gurney (1802-1862), a priest of The Church of England, served as the Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Bryanstone, St. Marylebone, London, from 1847 to 1857.  Gurney, who came from privilege, cared deeply about the poor and supported causes to help them.  He also prepared two hymnals, in 1838 and 1851.


Fair Waved the Golden Corn:

Lord, As to Thy Dear Cross We Flee:

Lord of the Harvest, Thee We Hail:

We Saw Thee Not When Thou Didst Come:


Posted December 10, 2015 by neatnik2009 in Sources G

Tagged with

Lord of the Harvest, Thee We Hail!   1 comment

Cranberry Harvest in New Jersey

Above:  Cranberry Harvest in New Jersey

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = American Lutheran Hymnal (1930) American Lutheran Church (1930-1960) and its immediate predecessors

Text (1838) by John Hampden Gurney (1802-1862)


Lord of the harvest, Thee we hail!

Thine ancient promise doth not fail;

The varying seasons haste their round,

With goodness all our years are crowned;

Our thanks we pay

This festal day;

O let our hearts in tune be found.


Lord of the harvest!  All is Thine:

The rains that fall, the suns that shine,

The seed once hidden in the ground,

The skill that makes our fruits abound;

New ev’ry year

Thy gifts appear;

New praises from our lips shall sound.


Immortal honor, endless fame,

Attend th’Almighty Father’s name;

Like honor to th’Incarnate Son,

Who for lost man makes redemption won;

And equal praise

We thankful raise

To Thee, blest Spirit, with them One.

Fair Waved the Golden Corn   1 comment

Corn Field in Colorado

Above:  Corn Field in Colorado

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = The English Hymnal (1906), The Church of England

Text (1851) by John Hampden Gurney (1802-1862)


Fair waved the golden corn

In Canaan’s pleasant land,

When full of joy, some shining morn,

Went forth the reaper-band.


To God so good and great

Their cheerful thanks they pour;

Then carry to his temple-gate

The choicest of their store.


Like Israel, Lord, we give

Our earliest fruits to thee,

And pray that, long as we shall live,

We may thy children be.


Thine is our youthful prime,

And life and all its powers;

Be with us in our morning time,

And bless our evening hours.


In wisdom let us grow,

As years and strength are given,

That we may serve thy Church below,

And join thy Saints in heaven.

We Saw Thee Not When Thou Didst Come   1 comment

Christ Pantocrator Icon

Above:  Icon of Christ Pantocrator

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Ages for Public and Social Worship (1891), Presbyterian Church in the United States

Text (1851) by John Hampden Gurney (1802-1862)


We saw Thee not when Thou didst come

To this poor world of sin and death,

No e’er beheld Thy humble home

In that despised Nazareth;

But we believe Thy footsteps trod

Its streets and plains, Thou Son of God.


We did not see Thee lifted high

When foes were many, friends were few,

Nor heard Thy meek, imploring cry,

“Forgive, they know not what they do:”

Yet we believe, the deed was done,

Which shook the earth and veiled the sun.


We stood not by the empty tomb

Where once Thy sacred body lay,

Nor sat within that upper room,

Nor met Thee in the open way;

But we believe that angels said,

“Why seek the living with the dead?”


We did not mark the chosen few,

When Thou didst through the clouds ascend,

First lift to heaven their wondering view,

Then to the earth all prostrate bend;

Yet we believe that mortal eyes

Beheld that journey to the skies.


And now that Thou dost reign on high,

And thence Thy waiting people bless,

No ray of glory from the sky

Doth shine upon our wilderness;

But we believe Thy faithful word,

And trust in our redeeming Lord.

Lord, As To Thy Dear Cross We Flee   2 comments

Icon of the Crucifixion Rublev

Above:  Icon of the Crucifixion, by Andrei Rublev

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = The Hymnal (1895), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Text (1838) by John Hampden Gurney (1802-1862)


Lord, as to Thy dear cross we flee,

And plead to be forgiven,

So let Thy life our pattern be,

And from our souls for heaven.


Help us, through good report and ill,

Our daily cross to bear;

Like Thee, to do our Father’s will,

Our brethren’s griefs to share.


Let grace our selfishness expel,

Our earthliness refine;

And kindness in our bosoms dwell,

As free and true as Thine.


If joy shall at Thy bidding fly,

And grief’s dark day come on,

We, in our turn, would meekly cry,

“Father, Thy will be done.”


Should friends misjudge, or foes defame,

Or brethren faithless prove,

Then, like Thine own, be all our aim

To conquer them by love.


Kept peaceful in the midst of strife,

Forgiving and forgiven,

O may we lead the pilgrim’s life,

And follow Thee to heaven.

John Edgar Park   1 comment

John Edgar Park

Above:  John Edgar Park

Image Source =

John Edgar Park (1879-1956), a Presbyterian then Congregationalist minister, served as the President of Wheaton College, Newton, Massachusetts, from 1926 to 1944.


O Jesus, Thou Wast Tempted:

We Would See Jesus:


Posted December 10, 2015 by neatnik2009 in Sources P

Tagged with

We Would See Jesus   2 comments

Christ Pantocrator

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-)

Text (1913) by John Edgar Park (1879-1956)

The conflation of the birth narratives from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in the first stanza annoys me.  Two years or so separate those stories.


We would see Jesus; lo! his star is shining

Above the stable while the angels sing;

There in a manger on the hay reclining;

Haste, let us lay our gifts before the King.


We would see Jesus, Mary’s son most holy,

Light of the village life from day to day;

Shining revealed through every task most lowly,

The Christ of God, the life, the truth, the way.


We would see Jesus, in the mountain teaching,

With all the listening people gathered around;

While birds and flowers and sky above are preaching

The blessedness which simple trust has found.


We would see Jesus, in his work of healing,

At eventide before the sun was set;

Divine and human, in his deep revealing,

Of God and man in loving service met.


We would see Jesus; in the early morning

Still as of old he calleth, “Follow me”;

Let us arise, all meaner service scorning:

Lord, we are thine, we give ourselves to thee.

O Jesus, Thou Wast Tempted   2 comments

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness James Tissot

Above:  Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness, by James Tissot

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), Congregational Christian Churches

Text (1913) by John Edgar Park (1879-1956)


O Jesus, thou was tempted,

Alone in deserts wild:

No human friend was near thee,

The evil tempter smiled.

O Jesus, thou didst conquer

By God’s own pow’r in thee.

Help me, O Christ, to conquer,

Give me the victory!


O Jesus, thou wast tempted

To meanness, greed and shame,

In all points like I am,

In ev’ry way the same.

With God’s great words of promise

Thy memory was stored,

And mean things lost their favor

Beside God’s holy word.


O Jesus, thou wast tempted

To live for self alone,

To be great, rich and pow’rful,

To get, to keep, to own.

Thou didst not bow to Mammon,

But chose to worship God,

O give me strength to follow,

To walk where thou hast trod!


O Jesus, in thy conquest

Fair angels came to bless,

White-winged they flocked around thee

In the lone wilderness.

May noble thoughts and mem’ries,

Like angels dwell within,

O fill my life, Lord Jesus,

And leave no room for sin!