Archive for the ‘Hymns of the Spirit for Use in the Free Churches of America (1937)’ Category

O Father, Thou Who Givest All   1 comment

Countryside Home

Above:  Countryside Home

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Spirit (1937), American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America

Text (1908) by John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

The date comes from The New Hymnal for American Youth (1930), edited by H. Augustine Smith.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.  O Father, thou who givest all

The bounty of thy perfect love,

We thank thee that upon us fall

Such tender blessings from above.

2.  We thank thee for the grace of home,

For mother’s love and father’s care,

For friends and teachers all who come

Our joys and hopes and fears to share.

3.  For eyes to see and ears to hear,

For hands to serve and arms to lift,

For shoulders broad and strong to bear,

For feet to run on errands swift.

4.  For faith to conquest doubt and fear,

For love to answer every call,

For strength to do, and will do dare,

We thank thee, O thou Lord of all.

O God, Whose Smile is In the Sky   2 comments

Sunset Rays in Sky

Above:  Sunset Rays on Sky

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Spirit (1937), American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church in America

Text (1907) by John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.  O God, whose smile is in the sky,

Whose path is in the sea,

Once more from earth’s tumultuous strife,

We gladly turn to thee.

2.  Now all the myriad sounds of earth

In solemn stillness die;

While wind and wave unite to chant

Their anthems to the sky.

3.  We come as those with toil far spent

Who crave thy rest and peace,

And from the care and fret of life

Would find in thee release.

4.  O Father, soothe all troubled thought,

Dispel all idle fear,

Purge thou each heart of secret sin,

And banish every care;

5.  Until, as shine upon the sea

The silent stars above,

There shines upon our trusting souls

The light of thine own love.

O’er Continent and Ocean   1 comment

Ocean Beach in Sunset Palm Trees

Above:  Ocean Beach in Sunset Palm Trees

Image in the Public Domain

Text (1917) by John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Spirit (1937), American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.  O’er continent and ocean,

From city, field and wood,

Still speak, O Lord, thy messengers

Of peace and brotherhood.

In Athens and Benares,

In Rome and Galilee,

They fronted kings and conquerors,

And taught mankind of Thee.

2.  We hear, O Lord, these voices,

And hail them as thine own,

They speak as speak the winds and tides

On planets far and lone.

One God, the Life of Ages,

One rule, his will above,

One realm, one wide humanity,

One law, the law of love.

3.  The tribes and nations falter

In rivalries of fear;

The fires of hate to ashes turn,

To dust the sword and spear.

Thy word alone remaineth;

That word we speak again;

O’er sea and shore and continent,

To all the sons of men.

Show Us Thy Way, O God!   1 comment

Highway road with full and dotted line

Above:  A Highway

Image in the Public Domain

Text (1936) by John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Spirit (1937), American Unitarian Association and Unitarian Church of America

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.  Show us thy way, O God!

Our feet have wandered far;

We seek the path thy saints have trod,

Where peace and beauty are.

2.  Teach us thy word, O God!

Subdue earth’s racking din;

That we may hear at home, abroad,

The still, small voice within.

3.  Tell us thy will, O God!

Our own we cannot trust.

We wait the summons of thy rod

To raise us from the dust.

4.  Thy way, thy word, thy will,

These are our surest guides

To bring us where thy Spirit still

In holiness abides.

The Voice of God is Calling   1 comment

Sunbeams Through Clouds

Above:  Sunbeams Through Clouds

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Spirit (1937), American Unitarian Association and Unitarian Church of America

Text (1913) by John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.  The voice of God is calling

Its summons unto men;

As once he spake in Zion,

So now he speaks again.

Whom shall I send to succor

My people in their need?

Whom shall I send to loosen

The bonds of shame and greed?

2.  I hear my people crying

In cot and mine and slum;

No field or mart is silent,

No city street is dumb.

I see my people falling

In darkness and despair.

Whom shall I sent to shatter

The fetters which they bear?

3.  We heed, O Lord, thy summons,

And answer:  Here we are!

Send us upon thine errand!

Let us thy servants be!

Our strength is dust and ashes,

Our years a passing hour;

But thou canst use our weakness,

To magnify thy power.

4.  From ease and plenty save us,

From pride of place absolve;

Purge us of low desire,

Lift us to high resolve.

Take us, and make us holy,

Teach us thy will and way.

Speak, and behold! we answer,

Command, and we obey!

God the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest   2 comments

Apotheosis of War

Above:  Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereshchagin

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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)

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where Ancient Forests Widely Spread   Leave a comment

1s01544v

Above:  Catskill Forest, Circa 1861

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-stereo-1s01544

Words (1833) by Andrews Norton (1786-1853)

Hymn Source = Hymns of the Spirit (1937), American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.  Where ancient forests widely spread,

Where bends the cat’ract’s ocean-fall,

On the lone mountain’s silent head,

There are thy temples, God of all!

2.  All space is holy, for all space

Is filled by thee; but human thought

Burns clearer in some chosen place,

Where thine own words of love are taught.

3.  Here be they taught; and may we know

That faith thy servants knew of old,

Which onward bears, through weal or woe,

Till death the gates of heaven unfold.

4.  Nor we alone:  may those whose brow

Shows yet no trace of human cares

Hereafter stand where we do now,

And raise to thee still holier prayers.