Friday, August 31, 2012

O Word of God Incarnate

Here is another hymn! These will be a little more infrequent because I have started school once again and I no longer have much time for leisure, unfortunately. But, when I can bring you information on hymns I will do so with much happiness!

Title: O Word of God Incarnate


Numeric Outline: 76.76 D

Composer: Neuvermehrtes Gesanbuch, Meiningen (1693)

Author: William W. How (1823-1897)

     being considered the "Poor Mans Bishop," William Walsham How was offered many prestigious positions in churches across London, but he decided he was going to do the dirty work, and be a minister to the churches that were often times found int he slums. How was often seen taking public transportation from place-to-place, because it would allow him to get to know the people who would potentially be in his Perish. Not only was How considered rebellious because of his unwillingness to take calls at prestigious churches, he was also known as the preacher who did not fight against the ever growing belief in the theory of evolution. How admitted in his 1887 sermon entitled, "The Bible and Science," that there were many pieces of theoretical fact that could not be argued against. He also added that a person could not state that "[a]ll such-like speculations are straight against God's word and therefore utterly untrue (Hawn)." This was something that not all people were willing to accept, but one man, Thomas Henry Huxley, Grandfather of Aldous Huxley, did agree with How. T. H. Huxley was known as "Darwin's Bulldog," when it came to the theory of evolution and was also known as a high ranking member of the scientific debate in London. In his book Science and the Christian Tradition (Published in 1902 Posthumously), Huxley actually quotes How's sermon several times.
     Born on December 13th, 1823 to William Wybergh How in Shrewsbury, England, William Walsham How was educated in the nearby school of Shrewsbury School and Wadham College, Oxford, England graduating with a B.A. He was finally licensed to preach in 1846, William Walsham began to take holy orders in the following order: Curate of St. George's, Kidderminster, England, 1846; and of Holy Cross in Shrewsbury, England, 1848. In 1851 is was preferred to the Rectory of Wittington, England Diocese of St Asaph, and becomign Rural Dean in 1853 and finally Honorary Canon of the Cathedral in 1860. After serving there for several years, he was finally appointed Rector of St. Andrew's Undershaft, London and became the Suffragan Bishop of East London under the new title of Bishop of Bedford. Finally in 1888, one year after his famous sermon, "The Bible and Science," he became the Bishop of Wakefield. William Walsham How published only one known collection of hymns with another prominent preacher of his time, Rev. Thomas Baker Morell, under the title of Psalms and Hymns , Compiled by the Reverand Thomas Baker Morell, M.A.,...and the Reverand William Walsham How, M.A. (1854). Ten years later the book was republished in larger format and eventually a Supplement was added in 1867 to complete the book.
     The text for this hymn is based off of Psalm 119: 105, which reads  “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” The text uses several different examples from the gossip including the ever famous John 1:1, John 1:4, and John 14:6. The Tune "Munich," has a very bright and long history. The first appearance of the tune actually appears back in 1593 in Dresden, Germany, set to the text of "Wir Christenluet." The most commonly known version of the tune in the Lutheran world comes from the 1693 version found from Meiningen Gesanbuch. The latest change in the tune comes from the world famous composer Felix Mendelssohn and his adaptation of the tune as a quartet "Cast Thy Burden Unto the Lord," in his Oratorio Elijah (1846). Mendelssohn grew up in a traditional Jewish home, but eventually his family was baptized into the Lutheran church and took on the last name Bartholdy. At the age of nine, Mendelssohn had performed in his first public event ever, and 11 years later, at the age of 20, he conducted the first performance of St. Matthew's Passion since Bach's death in 1750. By doing this, Mendelssohn is credited with bringing the music of Bach back into popularity.

The Text:

1. O Word of God incarnate, 
 O Wisdom from on high, 
 O Truth unchanged, unchanging, 
 O Light of our dark sky: 
 we praise you for the radiance 
 that from the hallowed page, 
 a lantern to our footsteps, 
 shines on from age to age. 

2. The church from you, our Savior, 
 received the gift divine, 
 and still that light is lifted 
 o'er all the earth to shine. 
 It is the sacred vessel 
 where gems of truth are stored; 
 it is the heaven-drawn picture 
 of Christ, the living Word. 

3. The Scripture is a banner 
 before God's host unfurled; 
 it is a shining beacon
 above the darkling world. 
 It is the chart and compass 
 that o'er life's surging tide, 
 mid mists and rocks and quicksands, 
 to you, O Christ, will guide. 

4. O make your church, dear Savior, 
 a lamp of purest gold, 
 to bear before the nations 
 your true light as of old. 
 O teach your wandering pilgrims 
 by this their path to trace, 
 till, clouds and darkness ended, 
 they see you face to face.


The Hymn:

Below I will post the Music, I suggest listening to the video while reading along with the music. If you can't read music, don't worry at all, just follow the text underneath and hopefully it will make sense!


Julian, John. "William Walsham How." - The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2012. <>.

Church, Christian Reformed. "MUNICH (Mendelssohn)." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2012. <>.

Hawn, C. Michael. " The United Methodist Portal." Â The United Methodist Portal. History of Hymns, 24 July 2009. Web. 31 Aug. 2012. <>.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Here is a hymn for this wonderful Sunday!

Title: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Tune: Nettleton

Numeric Outline:

Composer: J. Wyeth, Repository of Sacred Music, Part II 1813

Author: Robert Robinson (1735-1790)

     Much like the baby Christ, this man of note came from a family that was not of any kind of importance. Born September 27th, 1735 in Swaffham, Norfolk, England, Robert Robinson was a child of low parentage. When Robinson was only eight years old, his family moved to the nearby town of Scarning, where only a few short months later, Robinson's father passed away. His mother, who was always considered to be a Godly woman, had always dreamed of her son becoming a clergyman of the church, but because of their depth of poverty, Robert was indentured at the age of 15 (1749) to a barber and a hair dresser in London, England. Because Robinson was such a bookworm, his master thought he was more interested in reading all day rather than doing his actual profession. In 1752, Robinson was released from his state of being indentured even though he had almost passed his position as apprentice into becoming a master. While out for a walk with his friends one day, he came across a fortune teller who seemed to have been drunk. To have some fun with the fortune teller, he and his friends decided they were going to let the woman predict their futures, all the while they would make fun of her for her outrageous comments. When it came time for Robinson's future to be told, it was foreseen that he would live to see his children and his grandchildren grow up. This got to Robinson and made him think quite a bit.
     After hearing what the fortune teller had said to him, Robinson threw himself even deeper into his reading to try and educate himself even more. He was so engrossed in learning more, that one day he went to hear the prominent preacher, George Whitefield, give a sermon on Mathew 3: 7. This particular passage warns people of the wrath of God that is coming one day to this Earth, and with it, the end of time. This particular sermon seemed to strike a chord with Robinson, and it haunted him for several years. Almost six years after hearing the sermon, Robinson wrote a letter to Whitefield proclaiming that he had lived in the dark for almost three years, but in his 20th year of living, he found the glory of God. In one of Robinson's personal books, there was a note written on a blank page in Latin that read "Robertus, Michaelis Mariseque Robinson filius. Natus Swaffhami, comitatu Norfolciae, Saturni die Sept. 27, 1735. Renatus Sabbati die, Maii 24,1752, per predicationem potentem Georgii Whitefield. Et gustatis doloribus renovationis duos annosque septem absolutionem plenam gratuitamque, per sanguinem pretiosum Jesu Christi, inveni (Tuesday, December 10, 1755) cui sit honor et gloria in secula seculorum. Amen." The text roughly translated means "Robert, the son of Michael Robinson Mariseque. Born Swaffhami, county of Norfolk, on Saturday September. 27, 1735. Rene on Saturday, May 24.1752, by the powerful preaching of George Whitefield. And tasted the pain of renewal for two years, seven full absolution gratuitamque through blood for the precious Lord Jesus Christ, I have found (Tuesday, December 10, 1755) to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever., Amen." It was only a short two years later that Robinson penned the text to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," to share his excitement and his belief in the wonders of Christ.
     After his awakening, Robinson remained in London until 1758, where he attended sermons read but several Evangelical preachers, some of whom were Gil and Wesley. Earlier in 1758, Robinson had been invited as a Calvanistic Methodist to oversee a congregation in Mildenhall, Norfolk, but it wasn't until January 8th 1759 that Robins actually accepted the call to preach at a Baptist Church in Cambridge and gave his first sermon. At first, this call was only to fill in the position for just that Sunday, but his popularity grew so much that he was requested over and over again, until he finally gave in and accepted the call to be the Minister of the church in 1761. From that point on, Robinson began to write several different works that would dig into the history of each of the different churches he was a part of. Because of the extensive amount of research he had done between 1781 and 1790, regarding the history of being Baptized and the Baptist Church, he finally retired early in 1790. It was June 9th, 1790 when all of his work had caught up with him, and Robinson finally passed away. 
     The history of the tune "Nettleton" is fairly rocky, in that no one really knows where it came from for sure. Ashel Nettleton was an American born preacher who studied at Yale University and finally graduated with his Doctorate in Divinity in 1809. In 1811, he was finally licensed to preach, and in 1817, he was ordained. Though he was an ordained minister, he never actually settled into one call over a congregation. Though he didn't have a congregation of his own, his sermons played a large part in the Second Great Awakening period throughout the young and growing America. The Tune "Nettleton," was found written down in his collection Village Hymns, published in 1824, and because there was no other information as to where the tune had come from, Nettleton was given credit for the tune. It was later discovered that while he was out preaching, Nettleton would write down many of the tunes he had heard and had published them in this collection.

The Text:

(1) Come Thou fount of every blessingTune my heart to sing Thy graceStreams of mercy, never ceasingCall for songs of loudest praiseTeach me some melodious sonnetSung by flaming tongues abovePraise the mount, I'm fixed upon itMount of Thy unchanging love
(2) Here I raise my EbenezerHere there by Thy help I comeAnd I hope by Thy good pleasureSafely to arrive at homeJesus sought me when a strangerWandering from the fold of GodHe to rescue me from dangerInterposed His precious blood
(3) Oh, to grace how great a debtorDaily I’m constrained to beLet that grace now, like a fetterBind my wandering heart to TheeProne to wander, Lord I feel itProne to leave the God I loveHere’s my heart, oh, take and seal itSeal it for Thy courts above
(4) Come Thou fount of every blessingTune my heart to sing Thy graceStreams of mercy, never ceasingCall for songs of loudest praiseTeach me some melodious sonnetSung by flaming tongues abovePraise the mount, I’m fixed upon itMount of Thy unchanging love.
 My Take on the Hymn

     This hymn is one that shows that God has promised us his love. Even when we are not following the wants of Christ, and we are living for ourselves as a people selfish in everything that we have, God still calls us home and wants us to be with Him. We must not forget that we can run from God, but one way or another He will find us. God loves us and wants us to be happy, whether we like it or not, He plays a part in our every day lives and the things that we are given. We should be thankful to God for the things that we are given, and we should also be thankful for the things that we are denied, because no matter how hard it may seem right now, it has been done for a reason. 

The Hymn:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Here is another hymn, I was reading The Imitation of Christ, and one of the chapters mentioned Christ taking up his cross and dying for us, which brought me to this hymn that is usually sung during the season of Lent. Enjoy!

Title: I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Tune: Kingsfold

Numeric Outline:

Composer: Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Author: Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)

     To say that Horatius Bonar had a family history of serving in the Church of Scotland would be an understatement. With Nearly 364 years of service in the church, it was no question what would become of Horatius at some point in his life. Horatius was born December 19th, 1808 to James Bonar who was at the time the Solicitor of Excise in Scotland. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Horatius stayed in his hometown and studied at the local High School and the University where, in 1837, he was ordained in the church, and became an assistant to Rev. John Lewis, Minister of St. James's, Leith, Scotland. In November of that same year, Bonar left St. James and became Minister of North Perish, Kelso, Scotland. In 1843, because of a "great disruption," in the church, Bonar left the his position at North Perish and joined the Free Church of Scotland. In 1853, the University of Aberdeen conferred upon Bonar the Doctorate of Divinity, which eventually would lead him back to Edinburgh in 1866, when he was placed at Chalmers Memorial Church, The Grange, Edinburgh. This was Bonar's last call, but in 1883, he was chosen to be the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. He was well known for being a poet, but he was not very well known as a preacher.
     The works of Bonar have been published in several different texts including The Bible Hymnal (1845), Hymns of Faith and Hope (first series 1857, second series, 1861, and third series, 1866), all of which contained numerous texts. It is believed that because Bonar had composed so many different texts, it was impossible for his work to become infamous as a whole, but individual hymns have stood the test of time and remain famous today. In his works, one can recognize his use of many different allusions, but also that he was affected greatly by the emotions found not only in the spiritual life, but in the natural life as well. Nearly 100 of Bonar's hymns are commonly used in Great Britain and the United States today.
     Though it is not well known, the tune Kingsfold is known as an old English folk song. The tune is written in e minor, but also can be considered a modal tune. It wasn't until Ralph Vaughn Williams heard the folk song in Kingsfold, Sussex, England, that the tune was actually named. After Vaughn Williams at heard the tune, he decided that he was going to arrange the tune so that it may be set to the text of "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," in his collection English Hymnal, published in 1906. The tune is not well known, but by itself it is a strong and dignified tune which can be sung either with melody alone and be just a haunting as if it were sung in harmony.

The Text:

(1) I heard the voice of Jesus say,"Come unto me and rest;Lay down, thou weary one, lay downThy head upon my breast."I came to Jesus as I was,Weary and worn and sad,I found in him a resting place,And he has made me glad.

(2) I heard the voice of Jesus say,"Behold, I freely giveThe living water; thirsty one,Stoop down and drink, and live."I came to Jesus, and I drankOf that life-giving stream;My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,And now I live in him.

(3) I heard the voice of Jesus say,"I am this dark world's Light;Look unto me, thy morn shall rise,And all thy day be bright."I looked to Jesus, and I foundIn him my Star, my Sun;And in that light of life I'll walk,Till trav'ling days are done.

My Take on the Hymn:
     Trusting that Jesus will be there for you when you need it most is one of the hardest demands that God has for us. Jesus is with us all of our days, but before we can find the comfort of Jesus, we must be called to him. In one of my favorite bible verses (Matthew 11: 27), Jesus says "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him," which tells us that knowing Jesus and knowing God is in itself not a right, but a gift from the Holy Trinity. The hymn is all about hearing the voice of Jesus call to the voice of the text, and after Jesus was heard, the voice of the text had lost all weariness and hopelessness because they believed in the power of Christ. As a reminder to us everyday, the third verse says "I am this dark world's Light," which tells us that with the coming of the dawn, Christ is reborn in us each and every day! Everything that is earthly and made by humans has an expiration date, everything decays. From the moment a child is born, their clock begins ticking and does not stop, a car just off the assembly line starts to age, a piano just made begins to age, even the steel structures that seem to jet into the skies above begin to decay. The only thing on this earth that does not age any more than one day, is Jesus' love and our faith in Him. With the coming of dawn on each new day, our faith is reborn in us so that we may live and discover God's love for us yet again! 

The Hymn:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

After several days of "subtle," hints about this hymn, this one goes out to my Father, David.

Title: Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Tune: Melita

Numeric Outline:

Composer: John B. Dykes ( 1823-1876)

Author: William Whiting (1825-1878)

     This hymn is packed full of history for both the United States of America, and for England. The hymn "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," is often called "The Hymn for her Majesty's Royal Navy," or as we here in the U.S.A. like to call it, "The Naval Hymn." This hymn was one of President Franklin Roosevelt's favorites, thus it was played at his funeral in 1945, but also because he had served as Secretary of the Navy. Another famous performance is when the Navy Band played the hymn while the body of President John F. Kennedy was being carried up the steps of Capitol Hill so he could "Lie in State." Before he became president, J.F.K. was a member of the Navy, serving as a PT boat commander in WWII. Though this hymn is used mainly by both England and the U.S.A. as military hymns, the text was originally written for a student of William Whiting who was headed to America across the sea.
     William Whiting was born in Kensington, England on November 1st, 1825,  and was educated in nearby Chapham and Winchester Schools. Because he was considered to be gifted musically, Whiting eventually became the Master of the Winchester Chorister's School where he wrote a number of different poems. He wrote two complete volumes of Poems that were published in Rural Thoughts (1851), and in another collection Edgar Thorpe, or The Warfare of Life (1867). Though these collections contained many different poems, the only hymn in which Whiting has any notoriety is "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." The Tune "Melita," is actually a reference to the biblical nation of Malta, where the apostle Paul arrived after his ship sank according the book of Acts (chapter 28). The Island of Malta still exists today and is part of the British Common Wealth of Nations. Though not probably not related at all, but important to my father that it be mentions, the name Melita is a popular brand of coffee filters.
     Composer John Bacchus Dykes was born on March 10th, 1823 in the town of Hull England . John Dykes was the fifth child to William Hey Dykes, and Elizabeth Dykes (he was the third son). By the age of 10, he was so musically gifted that he had become the Assistant Organist at St. Johns Church in Drypool, Hull, where his grandfather, Rev. Thomas Dykes, was Vicar. Throughout his life he learned the violin and piano, and went on to study them at Wakefield and St. Catherine's College in Cambridge, where he earned his BA in Classics in 1847. While he was in Cambridge, he co founded the Cambridge University Musical Society, and would eventually become ordained as Curate of Malton in 1847 as well. After several years in Malton, Dykes moved on and became Cannon of Durham Cathedral and eventually the Precentor from 1849-1862. Eventually Dykes moved on and became Vicar of St. Oswald's in Durham in 1862, and remained in this calling until his death in 1876. Though Dykes is very well known for the tune "Melita," sung almost exclusively to the text of "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," he had composed nearly 300 different hymn tunes spread across several different hymnals. During the main part of his life, Dykes experienced great success with his hymns, but in recent times, he has lost some momentum. In the Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised (published in 1950), Dykes had nearly 31 tunes published, but in the new standard version of the same hymnal (Published in 1983), Dykes only has 15 tunes published.

The Text:

(1) Eternal Father, strong to save, 
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,  
Who bidst the mighty ocean deep 
Its own appointed limits keep; 
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, 
For those in peril on the sea!  

(2) O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard 
And hushed their raging at Thy word, 
Who walked'st on the foaming deep, 
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep; 
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, 
For those in peril on the sea! 

(3) Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood 
Upon the chaos dark and rude, 
And bid its angry tumult cease, 
And give, for wild confusion, peace; 
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, 
For those in peril on the sea!  

(4) O Trinity of love and power! 
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;  
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,  
Protect them wheresoe'er they go; 
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee 
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea. 

My Take on the Hymn:

     I find this hymn to be one of praise and one of asking for help. The first part of each verse seems to praise the works that God has done, especially when Jesus calmed the stormy seas in front of his disciples (Mark 4: 36-41), while the second half of the verse seems to ask for God to be with them as they cry for His help. This hymn is a reminder that God is master of all and if we only thank Him and praise His name, we will be saved from all the troubles us. The story of Jesus rebuking the waves contains much more than just the face value of the text. This verse is a metaphor for every day life, where we will come upon vicious storms and waves that seem as if they will over take us and carry us away. Even though the disciples were scared for their lives, they had Jesus with them in the boat. The metaphor translated can be seen as follows: the boat, our heart, the waves, life around us. If we trust in Jesus, the waves that are coming to turn our hearts over will cease to exist, because Christ can command them to stop, and we will be saved. Every day we should remember the Christ is a part of our life, and, with out him, we would not be nearly as blessed and as protected as we are through Him!

The Hymn:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Faith of Our Fathers

Here is a hymn that goes out to all of the Fathers in this world!

Title: Faith of Our Fathers

Tune: St. Catherine

Numeric Outline: 88.88.88.

Composer: Henri F. Hemy (1818-1888), James G. Walton, Refrain (1821-1905)

Author: Fredrick W. Faber (1814-1863)

     Fredrick William Faber grew up in England in Calvary  Vicarage in the Anglican Church. Because he was raised in a Vicarage, many assumed that Fredrick was destined for priesthood. It wasn't until 1837 that Faber finished his studies at Balliol College in Oxford, England, and began to take holy orders as a priest of the Church of England. Only six years later, in 1843, Faber received his first placement as a priest in a church in Elton, Huntingdonshire, England and it seemed that his fate was finally sealed as an Anglican Priest. Later that year, to the surprise of many, Faber seceded to the Catholic Church and became a priest for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1859, Faber moved from Elton, Huntingdonshire, to London and started a group of Oratorians also known as the Congregation of Priest of the St. Phillip of Neri. Faber was only one of many different 19th century priests who felt called to leave the Church of England and to join the Roman Catholic Church. While a few of Faber's works were published before he seceded, he is most known for all of his hymns that were published only after he seceded in a collection entitled Jesus and Mary, Catholic Hymns for Singing and Reading (published in 1849). In the preface written at the beginning of the collection, Faber makes reference to some of the composers that inspired him, among them were Charles Wesley and all of the hymns published in the Olney Hymns written by John Newton and William Cowper.
     This hymn was originally written in a manner that only suited the Catholic faith, but through a few different changes in text, this hymn is considered wholly universal to any church that would like to use it. This hymn was written to honor those who have suffered Martyrdom in the name of Christ through many centuries. The text is based in part off of Timothy 6: 12 which says to fight the good fight of faith, and when it is your time, accept the eternal life that has been given to you. The final stanza of the hymn, which was written anonymously, makes reference to Hebrews 11, which many have described as "The Acid Test of Christianity." In this passage, the bible instructs Christians to love their enemy as the love their neighbor. Throughout history, it is estimated that over 50 million people have suffered the death by being a Martyr in the name of Christ, following Hebrews 11 and having faith that they land they are in is not nearly as good as the land that they are seeking.
     The tune St. Catherine  was originally set to a Roman Catholic hymn which was published in Hemy's Crown of Jesus Music, which was published in 1864. The original name of the hymn was "St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr." The Hymn only had ten lines of text which were set to 16 measures of music, until Walton re-arranged the tune adding 8 more measures to the piece and re-publishing it in a collection entitled Plain Song Music For the Holy Communion (published in 1874.

The Text:

1) Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious word!

(Refrain) Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

2) Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
And blest would be their children's fate,
If they, like them should die for thee:

(Refrain) Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

(3) Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
Mankind shall then indeed be free.

(Refrain) Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

(4) Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

(Refrain) Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

My Take on the Hymn:

     This hymn seems to be a promise to God that we will stay true to His word no matter how grave the situation is that we are in. Sometimes I feel that God looks after us and says something along the lines of "Now look at the mess you got yourself into!" But he still will help us out of the situation regardless of what it is. As Christians, we are told  to love God and Christ no matter what the cost, and, if we do, we are promised eternal life in heaven. The first stanza seems to promise that even when things are grim and are looking bleak, we will still be glad to hear the word of God and the promises that he has made to us. The second stanza mentions being chained and imprisoned on Earth. Even though we may be imprisoned on Earth, as long as we have the word of God, our hearts will always be free. This verse also has a message to the descendants of the people that choose to become Martyrs by telling them that by their fathers dying, they will be set free eternally. The Third stanza promises that we will stay true to God until we have won all nations and "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," (Phillipians 2: 10-11). The fourth and final stanza is the hardest verse because it makes the singer promise to love his enemies as they love their neighbor. This challenge is not easy for anyone who has ever tried it, but we are called to do our best, and in the end, that is all that God really wants of us. For us to do our best to follow Him and His ways, and do it all in the name of God and Christ.

The Hymn:

Monday, August 13, 2012

This Is My Father's World

Here is another Hymn!

Title: This Is My Father's World

Tune: Terra Beata

Numeric Outline: (Short Metering Doubled)

Composer: Franklin L. Sheppard (1852-1930)

Author: Maltbie D Babcock (1858-1901)

     Often times before going for a walk along the shores of Lake Ontario, Maltbie Davenport Babcock would say to his wife, "I am going out to see my Father's world." Babcock was the first born son to Henry and Emily Maria (Maltbie) Babcock, in Syracuse, New York. He was raised in Syracuse where he was educated through the public school systems and eventually attended Syracuse University. Babcock had come from a line of notable men, his great-grandfather, Henry Davis, was the second President of Hamilton University, and his grandfather, Rev. Ebenezer Davenport Maltbie was a famous Presbyterian Minister. Shortly after graduating in 1879, Babcock began his theological studies at Auburn Theological Seminary, where he finished his degree and became ordained in 1882. Eventually he married a women by the name of Kathrine Elliot Tallman, and had two children that passed away in infancy.
     After receiving his degree in Theology, Babcock began his ministries at a church in Lockport, New York, where he was described to have a brilliant mind and great oratorical abilities. He was often sited for using "Colorful Metaphors," in his sermons, which quickly gained him favor among the parishioners.  Babcock was in Lockport for only five short years when he was called to serve Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland (1887). While at Brown, Babcock started fund-raising to help Jewish immigrants who were suffering from the Anti-Jewish movement in the 1880's. During his time at Brown, he began writing daily devotionals as well as a few poems that were eventually published in the Johns Hopkins School Hymnal in 1899. Because of all of his efforts, as well as his growing infamy, Maltbie D. Babcock was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Auburn Theological Seminary. In 1900, Babcock was called to serve at Brick Church in New York City, New York. After news of his call spread, Babcock began receiving pleas from students as well as faculty from the near-by Johns Hopkins University, where he had made many friends and aquantence, to stay at Brown Memorial Church and to turn down the call at Brick Church. Babcock served only one short year at Brick Church before he passed away in Naples, Italy of a sudden illness.
     During Babcock's time at Brown Memorial Church, he would go out on walks around Lake Ontario to enjoy the wonders of the world that has been created around him. Because of his love for nature and for the walks in around the lake, Babcock wrote a poem that had 16 stanzas of four lines each. The poem was published just a short time after his death in a collection entitled Babcocks Thoughts for Everyday Living. Several parts of Babcock's poem were joined together to create the first and the third stanzas of the hymn which was published in the Psalter Hymnal. In 1972, during a rise in ecological awareness, Maltbie D. Babcock's granddaughter (or as I am more apt to assume a relative of his, as it was written in a source that both of his children died in infancy), Mary Babcock Crawford, wrote stanza two of the hymn and published it in the Episcopal Hymnal in 1982.
     The tune Terra Beata was originally an English Folk tune, of which a variation was published under the name Rusper in the 1906 English Hymnal. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Franklin Sheppard arranged the tune to fit Babcock's text and eventually published it in the 1915 Presbyterian Hymnal of which Sheppard was an editor for. Growing up, Sheppard and Babcock knew each other and were actually very good friends. Sheppard Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1875, shortly after which he began working at his family's Foundry business in Baltimore, Maryland. While he was in Maryland, Sheppard was the organist at Zion Episcopal Church and eventually became the Music Director and a Church Elder at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. Later he went on to serve as the President of the Presbyterian Board of Publications, a group that was in part responsible for publishing the 1911 Presbyterian Hymnal. Sheppard is most well known for arranging Terra Beata for Babcock's poem.

The Text:

1. This is my Father's world, 
 and to my listening ears 
 all nature sings, and round me rings 
 the music of the spheres.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 I rest me in the thought 
 of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; 
 his hand the wonders wrought.

2. This is my Father's world, 
 the birds their carols raise, 
 the morning light, the lily white, 
 declare their maker's praise.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 he shines in all that's fair; 
 in the rustling grass I hear him pass; 
 he speaks to me everywhere.

3. This is my Father's world.  
 O let me ne'er forget 
 that though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
 God is the ruler yet.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 why should my heart be sad?  
 The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!  
 God reigns; let the earth be glad!

My Take on the Hymn:

     This hymn is all about Gods wonderful gift to us, the Earth! This land was created by God, and will always be ruled by Christ the King. The first verse talks about the wonders of the Earth and how they really amaze the voice of the text. This verse has a tone of enjoyment as if the voice is out walking around the world just as Maltbie Babcock would have been doing on the shores of Lake Ontario. The second verse is talking about God being everywhere, in the song of the birds, in the morning light, and even in the grass that surrounds us (no wonder so many places have signs saying "Keep off of the Grass!"). God has created all things on this earth, and by doing so, he has placed himself in everything that surrounds us, to serve as a reminder to everyone that he is always near and will never leave us. The third verse is all about God reigning over all of the land. The text asks a very pertinent question, why should my heart be sad? If we all take a second to look outside during a sunset, to pause a road trip in order to visit the bluffs of a river, to go off the beaten path on a hike, to visit the forest, to stand next to a mountain and see the great heights of it, to witness the vast expanses of lands from the top of that mountain, then we can realize that God is in everything created, and we should never be sad because of it. One of many gifts that has been to us as humans is the ability to enjoy nature will all five of our senses, which in turn, gives is the ability to: see God in nature, hear God in nature, feel God in nature, taste God in nature, and smell God in nature. We should always be joyful that God has surrounded us with his love with the world around us!

The Hymn:


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Days of Elijah

While it isn't quite a hymn, it is still an interesting song none the less! This one goes out to a close friend of mind, Melissa!

Title: Days of Elijah

Music and Lyrics: Robin Mark

     "I felt in my spirit that He replied to my prayer by saying that indeed He was very much in control and that the days we were living in were special times when He would require Christians to be filled with integrity and to stand up for Him just like Elijah did, particularly with the prophets of Baal." Days of Elijah is a song of hope, written to display to Christians all over the world that it is time for us to stand up and become who God is asking us to become. Robin Mark felt a special calling to do this on new years eve in 1994. As usual, many television stations were doing a year in review to remind everyone of the events that transpired over the 12 months that had passed. One of the largest events that occurred in 1994 was the Rwandan Civil War, a cruel and grotesque event. The review seemed to strike a nerve with Mark, finally pushing him to write the song that night and record it two years later in 1996. 
     In a reply written by Mark himself, he writes detailed descriptions as to what each part of the two verses actually means. In the first verse he references the "Days of Elijah," which is a great time of alienation. During Elijah's time in Northern Israel, he was called to stand up for his God, Yahweh, and to challenge the existence of another idol Baal, the deity in charge of thunder and rain. In the next line, Mark describes "the days of your servant Moses," describing that we are called to live righteously like Moses did. "Now, we are under grace and not under law, but the righteousness that comes by faith can be no less than the moral law that Moses brought direct from God. It has not been superseded. In fact Jesus told us that our 'righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees', who were the most ardent followers of Gods laws as presented by Moses." Mark goes on to say that we are called to be righteous in the eyes of God, because Jesus will seek out those who are righteous at heart. The second half of the verse goes on to talk about the great trials of famine, darkness, and sword. Mark describes the second half of the verse to be a reminder to all that even though these days are full of trials and tribulations, we must be patient and love God even more, because the end is coming for the world, as well as for the days of famine and darkness. 
     In the second verse, Mark references the prophetic vision that Ezekiel has of the valley of dry bones rising up and becoming flesh. "here are lots of interpretations of this picture, but one of a united church rising up in unity and purpose, is a powerful call on us in these days." Mark is describing a call to all people around the world to rise up as one and turn to God. As the song moves on, Mark writes "These are the days of your servant David, Rebuilding the temple of praise," which is making a reference to David creating a new form of worship. David was responsible for changing the ways of worship from the way worship was done in the times of Moses (One man was allowed entrance to the Tabernacle only once a year while everyone else watched), to the way we do things now. David changed this by creating a tent to surround the Ark of the Covenant and allowing everyone to dance and worship in front of the Lord. The last part of the verse speaks to the coming harvest at the end of days. Mark describes us as His workers in a vineyard, saying that it is our duty to spread the word of God and when it comes time that the grapes are ripe, God will come to Reap what he Sows. "These are the themes of the verses – Declaration, Righteousness, Unity and Worship. I chose to express these thoughts by reference to the characters that represented these virtues in the Old Testament. It is in essence a song of hope for the Church and the world in times of great trial." Mark finally goes on to talk about the chorus, saying that it is talking about the return of Christ in the year of the Jubilee. "The chorus is the ultimate declaration of hope – Christ’s return. It is paraphrased from the books of Revelation and Daniel and the vision that was seen of the coming King and refers to the return of Christ and the year of Jubilee."

The Text:

(1) These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord:
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
'Prepare ye the way of the Lord!'

(C) Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes.

(2) These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh;
And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.
These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in Your world,
And we are the labourers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!

There's no God like Jehovah.
There's no God like Jehovah!

My Take on the Hymn:
     This hymn is interesting because it serves as a reminder to us of the way we should be living. The text has encouraged me to open up my bible and find the stories of all the characters that are mentioned. Christ uses parables to teach all of his followers the word of God, and by using characters Robin Mark has done the same. Mark has taken something that can be incredibly complicated, and made it simple by giving us examples of people that lived just like we have. These characters, Elijah, Moses, Ezekiel, and David, all are humans that felt a calling from God and answered the call by worshiping Christ and being faithful to their word, regardless of the consequences that might come of their actions. This hymn calls us out to live more faithfully and to follow Christ with everything that we have, because if we trust in God and have Faith, we all will live a life worthy of God.  


Mark, Robin. "The Story Behind Days of Elijah." Robin Mark., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2012.   <               >.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Wondrous Love Is This?

This one goes out to a very good friend of mine, Solveig!

Title: What Wondrous Love Is This?

Tune: Wondrous Love

Numeric Outline:

Author: Anonymous (North American Folk Hymn)

Composer: W. Walker
     This hymn has a long standing history that is not very well known. It is known, however, that the tune was discovered by composer William Walker on his journey through the Appalachian region of America. Though the tune had been around for many years, it was passed on by rote, and not written down. Walker decided in 1835 that he would change that, and added the hymn to his collection Southern Harmony. The Appalachian region is well known for having many Irish and Scottish immigrants, which is shown in the hymns haunting text and minor tune. The hymn is written in a way that made it easy to pass on from generation to generation, repetition of lyrics. The hymn was written in the early 1800's, a time when hymnals were scarce and music was rarely written down. To make it easier for people to learn hymns (Especially in the time of the Second Great Awakening), the author would often times write the same lyrics over and over again to drive home the point, while still keeping the text simple and easy to learn.
     This hymn came at a time in American history when the country was still very young and was still trying to get a solid grasp of being it's own Sovereign Nation. A popular style of singing during this time was Shape Note Singing, which is a form of singing that uses shapes to denote which pitch should be sung, instead of the traditional European notation that we find in most music now-a-days. In order for the shape note singing to be done correctly, the congregation would be divided into four different sections, and each section was given a different part to sing. This was easier for people to sing, because most people during that time had no idea how to read music, and Shape Note Singing was a way to take something like music and give it to everyone, even the unlearned. William Walker was known for writing several different tune books containing melodies in which he often took from their traditional setting, and wrote them down, publishing them as his own.
     Walker was born in Martin Mills, South Carolina in 1807 and grew up just outside of Spartanburg, where, in order to distinguish the difference between himself and other William Walkers, he was nicknamed "Singing Billy." in 1835 he published a collection of four-shape Shape Note tune books entitled Southern Harmony. This was used for many years and was revised several different times, the final of which was printed in 1854 and is still used today in Kentucky at several different camp meetings. In 1846 Walker published another tune book that was supposed to be used as an index to Southern Harmony. The Publication was entitled The Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist, which contained several different camp meeting tunes. in 1867 Walker published another tune book entitled Christian Harmony where he adopted a new shape notation that contained seven different shapes instead of the traditional four shapes. Christian Harmony shared many similarities with Southern Harmony, but the biggest difference of note was the addition of the Alto harmony in tunes that previously did not contain that particular harmony. William Walker lived a long life, and finally passed away in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1875. He has an infamy that continues still today with the singing of traditional Shape Note tunes at conventions around the country and especially groups such as the Sacred Harp Singers Of Georgia and Alabama.
The Text:

(1) What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

(2) When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

(3) To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

(4) And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

The Hymn:

This is the traditional Shape note version, below is the version you are most likely to come across in a regular hymnal!

My Take on the Hymn:

     This hymn is incredibly haunting and beautiful, putting into words the question that most of us Christians have every day, what did I do to deserve such a wonderful love from God and from Christ? The answer cannot be answered any other way than by simply saying, God has given each of us the gift of grace. The hymn to me is an offering of thanks to Christ for laying aside his crown as King and humbling himself in the eyes of God. Christ not only took on the sin of man, but became the sin of man and was so shameful that even God could not look at his own son. The greatest gift that we have was that Christ was able to do this and to become the Lamb who was slain to save our sins. The third verse says that "....To God and to the Lamb, Who is the great I AM," which is showing that after Christ died, he rose and became one with God and became not only the Lamb, but he is I AM, the great savior of the world. The last verse for me is the most important because it says that when we are free from the grip of death we will sing Gods praise throughout eternity. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to praise Christ and praise the wonders of God for eternity, and we owe it all to a love that we cannot fully understand. Because we cannot understand this love, we must ask, What Wondrous Love Is This?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Shall We Gather at the River

This one goes out to my Grandpa, John Collins.

Title: Shall We Gather at the River

Tune: Hanson Place

Numeric Outline: 87.87 and Refrain

Composer: Robert Lowry

Author: Robert Lowry (1826-1899)

     Robert Lowry was a devout Baptist who grew up in Philadelphia, where upon being old enough, went to study Theology at the University of Lewisburg, now known as Bruckner University. Immediately after Lowry graduated from the University in 1854, he became ordained as a Baptist minister and was given several calls to churches around the Philadelphia (New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey). In 1869, Lowry took a call to be a teacher at the University of Lewisburg where he also served as Chancellor until 1875. After he retired from the University, he went to Plainfield, New Jersey where he became the pastor at Park Avenue Church until 1880, when he began to feel that it was time he move on. He left the United States and went on a four year vacation; upon arriving home he removed himself from his pastoral duties at Park Avenue church.
      It was well known that Lowry was a great composer, but he would have much rather been known for his Preaching than for his hymn writing. "Music, with me has been a side issue," Lowry said, "I would much rather preach a gospel sermon to an appreciative audience than write a hymn. I have always looked upon myself as a preacher and felt a sort of depreciation when I began to be known more as a composer." Though Lowry did not want to be known as a composer, he accepted his role as a musical editor in  1885 for a company by the name of Biglow &Maine. While working for Biglow & Maine, Lowry helped to edit several books, some of which sold over one million copies (the Sunday School book Pure Gold). While taking his role more serious, Lowry began collecting music in his library, which later on was noted to be one of the most thorough libraries around. His Library was thought to contain several works of music that dated to be over 150 years old. Despite his best efforts, Lowry is still known best for his composing of hymns and not for his preaching.
     "Shall We Gather at the River," was composed by Lowry late one afternoon in 1864, in the midst of the civil war. While Lowry was inside resting from being drained from the heat, he began to have visions of the river flowing from Christs throne (REV. 22:1). Lowry began to wonder why so many composers had focused on the river of death, and not of the crystal clear waters coming from the river of life, that flowed from the throne of Christ and of the Lamb. "Shall we be among the privileged few who stand before the throne singing the praises of the savior?"..."Yes, we'll gather." After coming to this conclusion, Lowry was so struck by the thought that he immediately awoke and went over to his pump organ and began composing the piece right away. While the hymn was written in 1864, it wasn't until 1865 that the hymn was published in his collection of Happy Voices.

The Text:

(1) Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

(2) On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will talk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.


(3) Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.


(4) At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Savior’s face,
Saints, whom death will never sever,
Lift their songs of saving grace.


(5) Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.


My Take on the Hymn:
     This hymn seems to be a journey from questioning what will happen after death, to accepting what is coming with death. The first verse is all about asking, "Will we all be at the river of life when we are dead?" The refrain of course answers this by saying "Yes we'll gather at the river," which shows that the voice of the text is looking forward to joining Christ at the banks of the river of life. The hymn goes on to seem almost anticipatory in nature. The voice in the text is describing a beautiful scene that one cannot wait to see with their own eyes. A stark reminder that God often gives us is that this Earth is not our home, but rather a stop on the way home. The journey that we have on Earth can be seen as a long car ride. We know there is a long road ahead of us, so we must prepare ourselves to enjoy the journey as much as possible. Though we may have the best seat in the car, or we may have the greatest games to play in the car, we still can't forget that we are on a fast track to Home. Now, enough with the metaphor and on to literal terms, Earth is simply a stop on the way to Heaven, but the gifts we have been given are given to us so that we may honor God in all of his glory. 
     In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus tells us that we must not store up our things on Earth, but rather we should store up our treasures in Heaven, "...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." God wants our hearts to be in the right place, but how can out hearts be with God when our focus is on the things that we have here on Earth? One might ask then, if we are supposed to keep our focus on Heaven and on God, then why does God give gifts for us to enjoy here on Earth? There isn't really a simple answer to that question, but the best I can do is say that God gives us our gifts so that we may turn them back to praise Him. Our abilities are given to us and we can use them to be where we are best fit to worship God. I am a musician and I have been since I was the age of 5, and that is where I find God best. Not just because I can play hymns on the piano, or songs of worship, but rather because that is where I can focus entirely on God. God gave me my musical abilities so that I may enjoy them here on Earth, but his one stipulation was that I use them to honor His name and to spread His word. We are given "things," by God every day of our lives, but we shouldn't become too attached to them, because eventually, they will die away and we will be given something even greater than ourselves, eternal life in heaven with the Holy Trinity and a multitude of Saints, Angels, and loved ones of whom we have lost here on Earth!

The Hymn:


Graves, Dan. "Church History and Christian Timeline." Christianity, 
          Church History, June 2007. Web. 06 Aug. 2012.                                                                                                                                                                                                        >.