Archive for the ‘The Hymnbook (1955)’ Category

O Lord of Life, to Thee We Lift   1 comment

Sunbeams Through Clouds

Above:  Sunbeams Through Clouds

Image in the Public Domain

Text (1897) by Washington Gladden (1836-1918)

Hymn Source = The Hymnbook (1955), Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., United Presbyterian Church of North America, and Presbyterian Church in the United States

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1.  O Lord of life, to Thee we lift

Our hearts in praise for those,

Thy prophets, who have shown Thy gift

Of grace that ever grows,

Of truth that spreads from shore to shore to shore,

Of wisdom’s widening ray,

Of light that shineth more and more

Unto Thy perfect day.

2.  Shine forth, O Light, that we may see,

With hearts all unafraid,

The meaning and the mystery

Of things that Thou hast made:

Shine forth, and let the darkling past

Beneath Thy beam grow bright;

Shine forth, and touch the future vast

With Thine untroubled light.

3.  Light up Thy Word; the fettered page

From killing bondage free:

Light up our way; lead forth this age

In love’s large liberty.

O Light of light! within us dwell,

Through us Thy radiance pour,

That word and life Thy truths may tell,

And praise Thee evermore.

God the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest   2 comments

Apotheosis of War

Above:  Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereshchagin

Image in the Public Domain

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This is a hymn for use in time of war.  Sadly, we human beings keep acting is ways which keep the sentiments of the hymn current.

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This is one of those great Anglican contributions to English-language hymnody.

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PART THE FIRST:  THE BEGINNING

The story begins with Henry Fothergill Chorley (1808-1872), a Quaker-born novelist, playwright, libretticist, and literary and music critic in London, England, the United Kingdom.  In 1842 he published a hymn, “God, the All-Terrible! Thou Who Ordainest.”  My sources identified the the publication as having occurred in Part Music (1842), by John Pike Hullah (1812-1884).  A search at hymnary.org led me to my reprint of the Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes (Henry Ward Beecher, Plymouth Congregational Church, Brooklyn, New York, 1855), where I found these verses:

1.  God, the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest

Thunder Thy clarion, and lightning Thy sword;

Show forth Thy pity on high where Thou reignest,

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

2.  God, the Omnipotent! mighty Avenger,

Watching invisible, judging unheard;

Save us in mercy, O save us from danger,

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

3.  God, the all-merciful! earth hath forsaken

Thy ways all holy, and slighted Thy word;

But not Thy wrath in its terror awaken,

Give to us pardon and peace, O Lord.

4.  So will Thy people with thankful devotion,

Praise Him who saved them from peril and sword;

Shouting in chorus, from ocean to ocean,

Peace to the nations, and praise to the Lord.

(Hymn #1101)

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PART THE SECOND:  UNITARIANS DURING THE CIVIL WAR

Hymns of the Spirit (American Unitarian Association, 1864), included an abbreviated and different version of the text, starting with the second stanza.  Thus the hymn became “God, the Omnipotent! Mighty Avenger!”  The context of the U.S. Civil War was evident:

1.  God the Omnipotent! mighty Avenger!

Watching invisible, judging unheard!

Save Thou our land in the hour of her danger,

Give to us peace in Thy time, O Lord!

2.  Thunder and lightnings Thy judgment have sounded;

Letters of flame have recorded Thy word,

‘Only in righteousness true peace is founded’:

Give us that peace in Thy time, O Lord!

3.  So shall the people, with thankful devotion,

Praise Him who saved them from peril and sword;

Shouting in chorus, from ocean to ocean,–

‘Peace to the nation, and praise to the Lord!’

(Hymn #262)

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PART THE THIRD:  ENTER JOHN ELLERTON

In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), John Ellerton (1826-1893), a priest of The Church of England and author of no fewer than 86 hymns, wrote “God the Almighty One, Wisely Ordaining,” based on Chorley’s hymn.  The text debuted in Robert Brown-Borthwick’s Select Hymns for Church and Home (The Church of England, 1871).  I found the original version of that hymn via Google Books.

1.  God the Almighty One, wisely ordaining

Judgments unsearchable, famine and sword;

Over the tumult of war Thou are reigning;

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

2.  God the All-righteous One! man hath defied Thee;

Yet to eternity standeth Thy word;

Falsehood and wrong shall not tarry beside Thee;

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

3.  God the All-pitiful, is it not crying,

Blood of the guiltless like water outpoured?

Look on the anguish, the sorrow, the sighing;

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

4.  God, the All-wise! by the fire of Thy chastening

Earth shall to freedom and truth be restored;

Through the thick darkness Thy kingdom is hast’ning,

Thou wilt give peace in Thy time, O Lord!

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PART THE FOURTH:  THE JOINING AND SUBSEQUENT VARIATIONS AND ALTERATIONS

The first joining of the Chorley and Ellerton texts occurred in the 1874 revision of Church Hymns (The Church of England, 1871), as one can read for oneself by following the hyperlink and seeking hymn #262.  Since then many hymnals have contained various composites of the Chorley and Ellerton texts, frequently with alterations to them.  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contained the hymn, but listed it as “God, Lord of Sabaoth, Thou Who Ordainest.”  The hymn was “God the All-Merciful! Earth Hath Forsaken” in the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917) but “God the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest” in the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  The influential Hymnal (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895) and its successor from 1911 listed the hymn as “God, the All-Terrible,” but The Hymnal (1933) changed the title to “God the Omnipotent.”  Among more conservative Presbyterians (especially in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America) who use either the 1961 or the 1990 versions of the Trinity Hymnal, God remains “All-terrible.”  God was “All-terrible” in The Methodist Hymnal (Methodist Episcopal Church and Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1905), but “Omnipotent” in The Methodist Hymnal of 1935 (Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Protestant Church, and Methodist Episcopal Church, South; later The Methodist Church, 1939-1968).  As late as The Hymnal of 1918 (Episcopal Church, authorized in 1916) God was “All-Terrible,” but the deity was “Omnipotent” instead in The Hymnal 1940 (published in 1943).  The consensus among hymnal committees is that God is “Omnipotent,” not “All-terrible.”

The variation on the hymn in The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal Church, 1985) contains four stanzas–two from Chorley, two from Ellerton, and all of them altered.  This is the version I sing in church:

1.  God the Omnipotent! King, who ordainest

thunder thy clarion, the lightning thy sword;

show forth thy pity on high where thou reignest:

give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

2.  God the All-merciful! earth hath forsaken

thy ways all holy, and slighted thy word;

bid not thy wrath in its terrors awaken:

give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

3.  God, the All-righteous One! earth hath defied thee;

yet eternity standeth thy word,

falsehood and wrong shall not tarry beside thee:

give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

4.  God the All-provident! earth by thy chastening

yet shall to freedom and truth be restored;

through the thick darkness thy kingdom is hastening:

thou wilt give peace in thy time, O Lord.

Hymn writer Brian Wren (1936-) wrote of hymns in Praying Twice:  The Music and Words of Congregational Song (Louisville, KY:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2000, page 297):

I have shown that congregational songs are communal.  Though they usually originate from particular authors, their primary purpose is to give shared expression to shared experience, not parade the author’s personality.  Because they are communal a faith community may, in principle amend them.

The story of “God the Omnipotent!” fits that statement well.

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PART THE FIFTH:  DROPPING THE HYMN

Denominations revise their official hymnals from time to time.  In so doing they add some texts and remove others.  Here is a partial list of denominations which have removed “God the Omnipotent!” (however they have listed it) from their official hymnody as of 2015, based on hymnals of which I own physical copies:

  1. the American Baptist Churches U.S.A., during their transition from the Hymnbook for Christian Worship (1970) to no official hymnal;
  2. the Anglican Church of Canada, during the transition from The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada (1971) to Common Praise (1998);
  3. the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, during the transition from The Covenant Hymnal (1973) to The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996);
  4. the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, during the transition from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006);
  5. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, during the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) to the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996);
  6. the Free Methodist Church of North America and the Wesleyan Church, during their transition from Hymns of Faith and Life (1976) to no official hymnal;
  7. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, during its transition from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) to Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006);
  8. the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), by way of its predecessors, the Presbyterian Church in the United States and The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., during the transition from The Hymnbook (1955) to The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972);
  9. the Reformed Church in America, during its transition from Rejoice in the Lord:  A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures (1985) to Lift Up Your Hearts:  Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (2013);
  10. the Southern Baptist Convention, during the transition from Baptist Hymnal (1956) to Baptist Hymnal (1975); the text is absent even from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship‘s Celebrating Grace Hymnal (2010);
  11. the Unitarian Universalist Association, sometime after Hymns of the Spirit (American Unitarian Association, 1864) and before Hymns of the Spirit (American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America, 1937);
  12. The United Methodist Church, during its transition from The Hymnal of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1957) and The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966) to The United Methodist Hymnal:  Book of United Methodist Worship (1992); and
  13. the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, during the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) to Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal (1993); neither is the hymn present in Christian Worship:  Supplement (2008).

That list covers a wide theological range.  So does the list of denominations which have retained it–from The Episcopal Church to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the United Church of Christ to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America.  The list of denominations which have never added it to their official hymnody is also diverse, ranging from the Christian Reformed Church of North America to the Church of Nazarene.  Sometimes the presence or absence of the hymn indicates more about tastes in hymnody and worship style than about theology.

Another piece of supporting evidence for that conclusion comes from two non-denominational Evangelical hymnals Tom Fettke edited:  The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (1986) and The Celebration Hymnal:  Songs and Hymns for Worship (1997).  The former contains the hymn which is the subject of this post, but the latter does not.  A Victorian hymn set to the majestic former Russian national anthem does not fit with contemporary worship, with its seven-eleven songs, does it?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 21, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF J. B. PHILLIPS, BIBLE TRANSLATOR AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

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Posted July 21, 2015 by neatnik2009 in Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), Community and Country 1800s, Desperation and Suffering 1800s, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), Hymnbook for Christian Worship (1970), Hymns of the Spirit for Use in the Free Churches of America (1937), Lent/Confession of Sin 1800s, Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), Service Book and Hymnal (1958), The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada (1971), The Hymnal (1895), The Hymnal (1911), The Hymnal (1933), The Hymnal 1916 (1918), The Hymnal 1940 (1943), The Hymnal 1982 (1985), The Hymnbook (1955), The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), The Methodist Hymnal (1905), The Methodist Hymnal (1935), The Methodist Hymnal (1966), The United Methodist Hymnal (1989)

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Hills of the North, Rejoice   Leave a comment

confirm1_1279

Above:  Diocesan Confirmation, the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia, December 8, 2013

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Hymn Source = The Hymnbook (1955), Presbyterian and Reformed

Words by Charles E. Oakley (1832-1865)

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1.  Hills of the North, rejoice;

River and mountain spring,

Hark to the advent voice;

Valley and lowland, sing;

Though absent long, your Lord is nigh;

He judgment brings and victory.

2.  Isles of the southern seas,

Deep in your coral caves

Pent be each warring breeze,

Lulled be your restless waves:

He comes to reign with boundless sway,

And makes your wastes his great highway.

3.  Lands of the East, awake,

Soon shall your sons be free;

The sleep of ages break,

And rise to liberty.

On your far hills, long cold and gray,

Has dawned the everlasting day.

4.  Shores of the utmost West,

Ye that have waited long,

Unvisited, unblest,

Break forth to swelling song;

High raise the note, that Jesus died,

Yet lives and reigns, the Crucified.

5.  Shout, while ye journey home;

Songs be in every mouth;

Lo, from the North we come,

From East, and West, and South.

City of God, the bond are free,

We come to live and reign in thee!

Posted November 17, 2014 by neatnik2009 in Advent and Christmas 1800s, The Hymnbook (1955)

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We Thank Thee, Lord, Thy Paths of Service   2 comments

Above:  Episcopal Church of the Common Ground, Atlanta, Georgia, Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 2012

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Hymn Source = The Hymnbook (1955), Presbyterian and Reformed

Words (1919) by the Reverend Calvin Weiss Laufer (1874-1938), a minister of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1869-1958 version) and Assistant Editor of its 1933 Hymnal  (I have a copy.)

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1.  We thank thee, Lord, thy paths of service lead

To blazoned heights and down the slopes of need;

They reach thy throne, encompass land and sea,

And he who journeys in them walks with thee.

2.  We’ve sought and found thee in the secret place

And marveled at the radiance of thy face;

But often in some far-off Galilee

Beheld thee fairer yet while serving thee.

3.  We’ve felt thy touch in sorrow’s darkened way

Abound with love and solace for the day;

And, ‘neath the burdens there, thy sovereignty

Has held our hearts enthralled while serving thee.

4.  We’ve seen thy glory like a mantle spread

O’er hill and dale in saffron flame and red;

But in the eyes of men, redeemed and free,

A splendor greater yet while serving thee.

Jesus, Friend, So Kind and Gentle   Leave a comment

Above:  Kids4Peace, Atlanta, Georgia, July 14, 2012

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Hymn Source = The Hymnbook (1955), Presbyterian and Reformed

Words by Philip E. Gregory (1886-1974)

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1.  Jesus, Friend, so kind and gentle,

Little ones we bring to thee;

Grant to them thy dearest blessing,

Let thine arms around them be;

Now enfold them in thy goodness,

From all danger keep them free.

2.  Thou who didst receive the children

To thyself so tenderly,

Give to all who teach and guide them,

Wisdom and humility,

Vision true to keep them noble,

Love to serve them faithfully.

3.  Grant to us a deep compassion

For thy children everywhere.

May we see our human family

Free from sorrow and despair,

And behold thy kingdom glorious,

In our world so bright and fair.

Our God, To Whom We Turn   Leave a comment

Above:  Cascade Mountains

Image Source = Library of Congress

Hymn Source = The Hymnbook (1955), Presbyterian and Reformed

Words (1925) by Edward Grubb (1854-1939), an English Quaker and conscientious objector during World War I

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1.  Our God, to whom we turn

When weary with illusion,

Whose stars serenely burn

Above this earth’s confusion,

Thine is the mighty plan,

The steadfast order sure

In which the world began,

Endures, and shall endure.

2.  Thou art, thyself the truth;

Though we who fain would find thee,

Have tried, with thoughts uncouth,

In feeble words to bind thee,

It is because thou art

We’ve driven to the quest;

Till truth from falsehood part,

Our souls can find no rest.

3.  All beauty speaks of thee:

The mountains and the rivers,

The line of lifted sea,

Where spreading moonlight quivers,

The deep-toned organ blast

That rolls through arches dim,

Hints of the music vast

Of thine eternal hymn.

4.  Wherever goodness lurks

We catch Thy tones appealing;

Where man for justice works

Thou art Thyself revealing;

The blood of man, for man

On friendship’s altar spilt,

Betrays the mystic plan

On which Thy house is built.

5.  Thou hidden fount of love,

Of peace and truth, and beauty,

Inspire us from above

With joy and strength for duty,

May thy fresh light arise

Within each clouded heart,

And give us open eyes

To see thee as thou art.

Posted August 4, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Nature 1900s, The Hymnbook (1955)

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We Worship Thee, Almighty Lord   1 comment

Above:  Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville, Georgia, May 14, 2012

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Hymn Source = The Hymnbook (1955), Presbyterian and Reformed

Original Words by Johann Olaf Wallin (1779-1839), Swedish Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala and author of over 128 hymns

English Translation by Charles Wharton Stork (1881-1971), English Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and translator of many Swedish texts

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1.  We worship thee, almighty Lord,

Our hearts revere thy gracious word

When it goes forth from heaven o’er all the earth.

Refrain

Holy, holy, holy art thou, O God!

2.  Upon a mountain builded high,

Thy Church doth in thy strength rely,

And standeth sure while earth and time endure.

Refrain

3.  Through her shall every land proclaim

The sacred might of Jesus’ name,

And all rejoice with Christian heart and voice.

Refrain

4.  All nations to thy throne shall throng

And raise on high the victory song,

While cherubim reply to seraphim.

Refrain