February 12, 2023

This hymn is commonly paired with three tunes. First, and probably most often in this country, it is paired with the tune BEECHER. This is the one I learned first, and it’s the one I think when I think this hymn. It has begun to fall out of favor, though, probably because it’s a bit clunky, punctuated by what Paul Westermeyer describes as a “yowling” major sixth leap the occurs three times in each stanza. Then, there’s HYFRYDOL, a much... Read more

February 10, 2023

Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true and only light, Sun of righteousness, arise; Triumph o’er the shades of night. Dayspring from on high, be near; Daystar, in my heart appear. Dark and cheerless is the morn Unaccompanied by Thee; Joyless is the day’s return Till Thy mercy’s beams I see, Till they inward light impart, Glad my eyes, and warm my heart. Visit then this soul of mine, Pierce the gloom... Read more

February 9, 2023

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life Where cross the crowded ways of life, where sound the cries of race and clan, above the noise of selfish strife, we hear thy voice, O Son of Man. In haunts of wretchedness and need, on shadowed thresholds dark with fears, from paths where hide the lures of greed, we catch the vision of thy tears. The cup of water given for thee still holds the freshness of thy grace; yet long these... Read more

February 8, 2023

Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty Open now thy gates of beauty, Zion, let me enter there, Where my soul in joyful duty Waits for Him who answers prayer: O how blessed is this place, Filled with solace, light, and grace! Gracious God, I come before Thee, Come Thou also down to me; Where we find Thee and adore Thee, There a heaven on earth must be: To my heart O enter Thou, Let it be Thy temple now. Speak,... Read more

February 7, 2023

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak In living echoes of Thy tone; As Thou hast sought, so let me seek Thy erring children lost and lone.O lead me, Lord, that I may lead The wandering and the wavering feet; O feed me, Lord, that I may feed Thy hungering ones with manna sweet!O teach me, Lord, that I may teach The precious things Thou dost impart; And wing my words, that they may reach The hidden depths of... Read more

February 6, 2023

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move; Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art, And make me love Thee as I ought to love. I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, No sudden rending of the veil of clay, No angel visitant, no opening skies; But take the dimness of my soul away. Hast Thou not bid us love Thee, God and King?... Read more

February 5, 2023

One of the interesting things about this text is that it appears in so many variations. Of the original 15 stanzas, hymnals have picked and chosen various combinations, intermingling couplets as the committee has seen fit. One of the first things I do when reviewing a new hymnal is to crack it open to see what they’ve done with “When Morning Gilds the Skies.” Sing six stanzas with the Coral Ridge Pres of old, then take a look at the... Read more

February 4, 2023

A nice text from the oft-neglected genre of mission hymns, here is is beautifully sung by St. Mark’s Episcopal in Philadelphia. Stay tuned for the improvised postlude on the ST. JOAN hymn tune. Christ Is the World’s True Light Christ is the world’s true Light, Its Captain of salvation, The Daystar clear and bright Of every man and nation; New life, new hope awakes, Where’er men own his sway: Freedom her bondage breaks, And night is turned to day. In... Read more

February 3, 2023

I stand convinced that this is one of the greatest texts in hymnody, maybe not for its theological density, but for its sure and concise proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ the crucified. Here it is, being sung by First United Methodist in Marietta, Georgia. Also, kudos to FUMC for not installing a jumbotron in their sanctuary. Ask ye what great thing I know, That delights and stirs me so? What the high reward I win? Whose the name I... Read more

February 2, 2023

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, great David’s greater Son! Hail, in the time appointed, his reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free; to take away transgression, and rule in equity. He comes with succor speedy to those who suffer wrong, to help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong; to give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light, whose souls, condemned and dying,... Read more

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