my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Open Your Hymnals to Page ...

I have this (now not so) secret love for Protestant hymns. Given my druthers, I like to hear them sung in an Episcopalian service (although some of the ones I really like are Methodist and unlikely to be found in the stained glass, velvet kneeler confines of High church, which is what I like best.)

There's something so satisfyingly righteous about this music. It's easy to imagine it sung by people who live their lives within the strictures of church teaching, and who are certain of reward for correct behavior. I find that oddly comforting. That there is/was such a thing as people behaving correctly AND having faith that they will be rewarded for it.

Here's one sung in the autumn, especially around Thanksgiving:

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His Will to make known;
the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
sing praise to His Name, He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning:
Thou, Lord, wast at our side: all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou leader triumphant,
and pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!


Blogger Kate said...

I like hymns too.

My fav is this Shaker Hymn:

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right.

I like the Catholic ones too but I have some Quaker friends I met in High School who influenced me a lot. When one on my friend's mother died, they sang this at her service. It was so perfect for her. It really represented her life in a way that no other eulogy could have. :-)

10:21 AM

Blogger Urban Chick said...

oooh, kate: i sang that for my grade 5 singing exam! it's beautiful...

(and i guess you know it then morphed into 'dance then wherever you may be / i am the lord of the dance said he'??)

1:36 PM

Blogger Tania said...

*groan* I was raised in a devoutly Methodist household, in the embrace of an overwhelmingly evangelist family, where everyone behaved atrociously but believed herself righteous, and so hymns sort of make me fall in a spasm to the floor, jerking and foaming at the mouth in despair.

That said, some hymnals are, really, quite beautiful. Have you heard Charlie Haden and Hank Jones's album, "Steal Away"? One of our greatest living jazz bassists and one of our greatest living jazz pianists collaborate on an album of hymnal instrumentals as minimal and beautiful as a Shaker meeting house.

1:48 PM

Blogger Trina said...

I *adore* Methodist hymns! I grew up Methodist, and then my parents changed to an Episcopal church (and took us with them) when we got a truly awful minister.

It could be partly because the choir at our Episcopal church was/is particularly abominable, and/or because the new female Rector at the Episcopal church was exceedingly difficult about allowing me to have the hymns I wanted in my wedding, but I truly prefer the Methodist hymns. The ones I love the most aren't in the Episcopal hymnal, and the more often-used Episcopal hymns are SO lacking in melody.

The phrase is "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord," not "make some kind of noise". Not that I think He holds it against us when the music is less-than-stellar, but I personally find it easier to worship when I'm not put off by tuneless droning.

10:24 PM


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