Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blest Be the Tie that Binds

Here is another Hymn for the common times!

Title: Blest Be the Tie that Binds

Tune: Dennis


Author: John Fawcett (6th January, 1740- 25th July, 1817)

Composer: Johann Nageli (1773-1836), Arr: Lowell Mason (8th January, 1792-11th August, 1872)

          This hymn is proof that sometimes, it is better to stay where you are loved and where people have grown to need you. Originally published by John Fawcett in Hymns Adapted to the Circumstances of Public Worship and Private Devotion (1782), and was said to have been written on the day he was supposed to leave his poor and small congregation for a larger, wealthier congregation in London. The story goes, after having given his farewell sermon, Fawcett had all of his possessions packed, and he was about to leave, when his entire congregation came to him with heart-felt words, and tears. After having been begged to stay in the small town of Wainsgate, England, Fawcett decided he would be better off sharing his gifts with this community, instead of attending the more well-known church in London, England. For the remainder of his active ministry, Fawcett stayed and served the church in Wainsgate.

          John Fawcett was a smart, self educated man. Born in Yorkshire, England, Fawcett did not find himself a Christian until he came face to face with the preachings of George Whitefield (see “Come Thou Fount ofEvery Blessing”) at the age of 16. After finding his faith, Fawcett became a member of the Methodist movement, though only for a short while. The next few years of Fawcett's life would bring him many different gifts. In 1758, he joined the Baptist church, in 1763, he began preaching, and finally in 1765, he was ordained as a baptist minister. After Fawcett became a minister, he was placed in congregations in Wainsgate, and in Hebden Bridge. Seven years after, in 1772, Fawcett was offered a position to be a minister at the Carter Lane Baptist Chapel in London, a position in which he would ulitmately accept, and then have to turn down (This was the church his congregation begged him not to leave them for). The congregation was so thankful that Fawcett decided to stay, that in 1777, a Chapel was built in his honor. Around that same time, Fawcett opened a school at nearby Brearley Hall, where he lived, and he founded the Northern Education Society, which would later become Rawdon College (Westermeyer, 2010, p. 380). Much of Fawcett's writing was found in sermons and in hymns that were meant to be sung by the congregation after his sermons.

          The tune “Dennis” was firs published by Lowell Mason (see “Joy tothe World”) and Benjamin Webb in a collection titled The Psaltery (Boston, 1845). Though these two published the tune, it was attributed to Johann G. Nageli, a man of which not much is known. Johann (Hans) Georg Nageli was born in Zurich Switzerland, and was trained in his early years by his father. He studied many of the works by J.S. Bach under the teachings of Johann David Brunings (Westermeyer, p. 505). J.G. Nageli owned a store, as well as a lending library, which handed out a few important first editions. Nageli was a well known music educator. He is known for setting up the Zurcherische Singinstitut, and for giving lectures around Europe (which were criticized by Mozart himself), and published many of his theories about music education in Gesangbildungslehre (1810), and Vorlesungen uber Musik (1826). Nageli was heavily influenced by the teachings of a Swiss music educator named Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who was himself influenced by the famous French/Swiss philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)(Westermeyer, p. 506). Not only did Nageli have a long line of influences before him, but he also influenced several people after him, people such as the autonomist Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904), and the musically romantic composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Not only did Nageli influence these two, but he was also responsible for influencing Lowell Mason, who is known as the “Father of American church music,” and held a prominent role in the formation of early music education in the United States (Westermeyer, p. 41).

The Text:

          1 Blest be the tie that binds
          our hearts in Christian love;
          the fellowship of kindred minds
          is like to that above. 

          2 Before our Father's throne 
          we pour our ardent prayers;
          our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
          our comforts and our cares. 
          3 We share our mutual woes,
          our mutual burdens bear,
          and often for each other flows
          the sympathizing tear. 

          4 When we are called to part,
          it gives us inward pain;
          but we shall still be joined in heart,
          and hope to meet again. 

          5 This glorious hope revives
          our courage by the way;
          while each in expectation lives
          and waits to see the day. 

          6 From sorrow, toil, and pain,
          and sin, we shall be free;
          and perfect love and friendship reign
          through all eternity. 

My Take on the Text:

          Sometimes, we run across texts that apply to our everyday lives when we least expect it. The text to this hymn is a joyful reminder of our community in Christ. Sometimes, when we are in the heart of battle, or in the midst of strife, we feel like we are all alone, and we feel that there is no one around us that can help. Keep in mind, even Christ had twelve men that he kept by his side each and every day, all the way up until his death. God has given us a community of people that we can turn to in need, in joy, in sorrow, and in love. Without our community of faith, we would all stand alone through our struggles, making it easier for our struggles to break us, but with our community, we can stand strong and know that our love for God on an individual basis will be heard for a time, but the love of God from millions will never cease to be heard!

The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video, and follow along!

Julian, John. "John Fawcett." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2013.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook. "Blest Be the Tie That Binds." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.

Psalter Hymnal Handbook. "DENNIS (Nägeli)." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2013.

Westermeyer, Paul. "Community in Christ." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 505-06. Print.

Westermeyer, Paul. "Sending." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 380-81. Print.

Westermeyer, Paul. "Advent." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 39-41. Print.

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1 comment:

  1. can have get the french version of this hymn