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

February 1, 2023

If there ever were a perfect hymn besides those found in Holy Scripture, I think it would be this one. If you learn all the stanzas, you will have learned the most important elements of Christian theology. Looking ahead to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord tomorrow, which draws the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany cycle to a close, I couldn’t help thinking of what it would have been like for Simeon to finally see Jesus, and the line from stanza 2... Read more

January 31, 2023

“In the mid-nineteenth century, Bishop John William Colenso of Natal raised a ruckus in the Catholic Church when he challenged the historicity and authority of many of the Old Testament books. Bishop Gray of Capetown wrote a stirring response of defense, which, in 1866, inspired Samuel Stone, to write this beloved hymn, basing his text on Article 9 of the Apostle’s Creed: “The Holy Catholic (Universal) Church; the Communion of Saints; He is the Head of this Body.” Now an... Read more

January 30, 2023

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto me and rest; and in your weariness lay down Thy head upon my breast.” I came to Jesus as I was, so weary, worn, and sad; I found in him a resting place, and he has made me glad. I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give the living water; thirsty one, stoop down and drink, and live.” I came to... Read more

January 29, 2023

Here’s a hymn that originates in my hometown of heavenly Houston, Texas. Written by Kathleen Thomerson after a visit to the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, which was ground zero for the charismatic renewal in the Episcopal Church going on in the 1960s. While I wish the poetry was a bit more developed, that is overshadowed for me by the profound hope in Christ the lines convey, and the climactic beginning of the refrain. Listen to the excerpt to hear... Read more

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