An Evening Gift

Our son, Will, is busy at college, but this evening he sent this beautiful and ancient hymn. It came for me at exactly the moment that God wanted it to. Will attached a version of this hymn with a French choir singing along with organ. The setting is by the compose,r Vierne. The organ music is powerful, contrasting with the voices of the choir. The cry of the supplicant, and the answering, response of the Spirit of our all powerful God. I hope this blesses you as it did me tonight. The words echo the cry of our hearts: Come, Holy Spirit. Without you, we can do nothing.

 

COME, HOLY GHOST
send down those beams,
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.

O come, Thou Father of the poor;
O come, Thou source of all our store,
come, fill our hearts with love.

O Thou, of comforters the best,
O Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
the pilgrim’s sweet relief.

Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet
refreshment in the noonday heat;
and solace in our grief.

O blessed Light of life Thou art;
fill with Thy light the inmost heart
of those who hope in Thee.

Without Thy Godhead nothing can,
have any price or worth in man,
nothing can harmless be.

Lord, wash our sinful stains away,
refresh from heaven our barren clay,
our wounds and bruises heal.

To Thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow,
warm with Thy fire our hearts of snow,
our wandering feet recall.

Grant to Thy faithful, dearest Lord,
whose only hope is Thy sure word,
the sevenfold gifts of grace.

Grant us in life Thy grace that we,
in peace may die and ever be,
in joy before Thy face.
Amen. Alleluia!

 

Hour of Music

Today Will spent an hour and a half playing music for an audience of 2—his mother and his little sister. He had the use of a church organ at St. Jude the Apostle (thank you!), and he gave me a going away gift of hymn playing. I thought I would share one. The video is from my phone, so the quality isn’t great, but the music comes through. What a beautiful thing it was to hear these beloved hymns.

 

 

We Need Him Every Hour

We need the Lord every hour of every day. These two versions of an old hymn were a blessing to me tonight, so I thought I would share them. Burdens seem to heavy for you? They are. That’s why Jesus said that all who are weary and heavy laden should come to Him, and He will give us rest.
 

 

Here is the same old hymn sung so beautifully in Dutch. I find many of our familiar hymns sung by the musicians on Nederland Zingt, so I haunt their YouTube page frequently! I love this.

 

Abba, Father

Translation from the Dutch lyrics.

Abba, Father, You alone,
I belong to You.
You only have searched my heart,
You belong to it.
Let my heart be still fervent,
You never leave alone.
Abba, Father, You alone,
I belong to You.

Abba, Father, let me be
Yours alone.
That my will forever be
Your own.
Never let my heart grow cold.
Never let me go.
Abba, Father, let me be
Yours alone.

Abba, Father, let me be
Yours and Yours alone.
May my will forever be evermore Your own.
Never let my heart grow cold.
Never let me go.
Abba, Father, let me be Yours
and Yours alone.

Old Hundredth

Of the 23 years of Christian radio programming I did, one of the favorite programs that sticks out in my mind was the interview I conducted with one of the editors of the Trinity Psalter, a book of metrical Psalms with accompanying CD’s by the Scottish Festival Choir.

The history of Psalm singing obviously goes thousands of years back in history, but Psalm singing was also a significant part of Christian worship until the 20th century did its damage. The singing of metrical Psalms has been an historic part of Reformed worship, while Lutheran worship tends to use Psalm chant in the liturgy. Whatever the musical settings, Psalm singing incorporates the inspired Word of God into public worship.

Younger generations are often clueless about hymn singing, many believing that gospel songs are actually hymns, and even those are fading in favor of contemporary choruses, or in the worst cases, secular rock songs. (I’m not kidding about that.) But if hymns are now largely unknown to large swathes of the Protestant world, Psalm singing is even less familiar. Old Hundredth, as it was called, used to be a staple in Christian worship, shortened to what some call the Doxology, and then largely forgotten.

I came across this gorgeous rendition of Old Hundredth (the metrical form of Psalm 100.) The music may be at Westminster Abbey in this particular clip, but as one musician put it at a Psalm workshop I attended, metrical Psalms can be sung with a simple piano or guitar, and Old Hundredth certainly used to be sung out in humble little churches as well as big churches all over the West.

Here are the words from the Psalter, sung by those whose trust is in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Psalm is ended, as always, with a metrical form of the ancient Greek words of the Gloria Patri.

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.

Amen.

Songs of Praises Lift Our Hearts

sunriseScripture records how David the shepherd boy played his harp and drove out the evil spirit of King Saul. What an incredible thing music is and what it can accomplish, both good or evil.

It can fuel hatred and alienation and violence, or it can sooth someone’s mind, lift their spirits, and as believers in Jesus Christ, it can help us to forget ourselves and move us to worship God.

The poet William Cowper suffered from severe, terrible bouts of depression at times in his life. Yet in 1779, he wrote these words:

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

Although he had a physical body and mind that gave him much torment in his life, he recognized the lifting power of singing of God’s mercies and salvation in Jesus Christ.

HPIM1336.JPGWhile looking for a hymn on YouTube this morning, I experienced the same encouragement. Having put to memory a number of hymns years ago, I enjoy (privately) singing along with them when I get to hear them. One hymn led to another and another. Both the Scriptural texts of these hymns and the music supporting the texts can lift you out of yourself and into heavenly places. This hymn here, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, really blessed me today. That kind of meaty, muscular, vital hymn singing is often missing in churches today, but thankfully, we can still hear it elsewhere. Also, reading the words of Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor, I was reminded of God’s great redemptive plan, and the offering on Calvary, once for all, for our sin. I wonder today if many of our young people even recognize the Old Testament references to Christ in rich hymns like this. Here are the words to this great Communion hymn.

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,
first-begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people’s head.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith’s discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!

~  George Hugh Bourne, 1874

Our little daughter, Emmy, folded her hands over breakfast this morning and prayed, “O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. For his steadfast love endures forever!” We can sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, and as we do, we can often see our gloom fall away in the light of our Savior’s face.

Looking for a New City

It would be hard to find a more joyful musical scene than this one in the video below. Nederland Zingt (Netherlands Sings) is my favorite channel to visit on YouTube. It’s a TV program that features hymns and gospel songs. Most are in Dutch, so sometimes I have to ask somebody what they are singing, but they also feature gospel songs and hymns in English occasionally.

My friend Desiree helped me out with the words on this one. The tune is familiar, as my mother used to sing a song with this tune that began, “Love Divine, So Great and Wondrous…” But this song is called New Jerusalem. Desiree, who is Dutch, but lives in Singapore, sent me a translation of the words, so I could learn what they were singing with such gusto!

What I love about this is that children and adults of all ages are singing together in the mix. The beautiful words speak of a day when all barriers will be gone, all divisions, all pain and suffering and sadness. Here are the translated words of New Jerusalem that the crowd is singing together.

City of light with your pearly gates Wondrous city built so high Never did anybody on this earth see your beauty / loveliness 

Holy place full of light and glory
Where the tree of life grows and the source of living water through the golden city of God flows

Beautiful home for worn (or tired) pilgrims coming from the sandy desert where they will rest from all their works at the springing fountain

What a joy that will be to be united with Him at that time In that city with its pearly gates in the new Jerusalem

Chorus: There I will meet my Lord Listen to His lovely voice There will be no more mourning and no more tears In the new Jerusalem