Notes on the Notes – April 19, 2020
Sunday Before Earth Day
This week’s music:
“All Things Bright and Beautiful” (VU #291)
“All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
In love, God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
God made their glowing colours,
God made their tiny wings.
All things bright and beautiful,…
The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning that brightens up the sky.
All things bright and beautiful,…
God gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God our maker,
Who has made all things well.
All things bright and beautiful,…”
This classic text, from Cecil Frances Alexander’s Hymns for Little Children (1846), has become a cherished way of expressing our joy in God’s creation. The tune, ROYAL OAK, is an English traditional melody.
“Morning Has Broken” (VU #409)
“Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing fresh from the world!
Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where God’s feet pass.
Ours is the sunlight! Ours is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day!”
Did you know that the hymn, “Morning Has Broken” was first published in 1931? In the publication, Songs of Praise Discussed, the editor explains that, as there was need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, English poet and children’s author Eleanor Parjeon had been “asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune.” The words were inspired by the beauty seen in the village of Alfriston in East Sussex, England, then set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, BUNESSAN (first seen in print in 1888).
English pop musician and folk singer, Cat Stevens, included a version on his album Teaser and the Firecat in 1971 and then released the song as a single in 1972. The song became identified with Stevens due to the popularity of this recording. The piano arrangement on Stevens’ recording was composed and performed by Rick Wakeman, a classically trained keyboardist who joined the English progressive rock band, Yes, soon afterwards. (Source: Wikipedia)
“What God Can Do”
“When I see the sun in the morning on the flowers fresh with dew,
I can feel the wonder of God’s great love and I see what God can do.
When I hear the song of a sparrow, and the wind that blows through the trees,
All the sounds of God’s creation help to keep my heart at ease.
There’s beauty all around me in every living thing.
Go’s miracles astound me, and they make my spirit sing.
In the quiet shadows of evening
when the day is almost through,
I can look ahead to tomorrow
for I’ve see what God can do.
All the wonders of creation
God has made for us to share.
We can see God’s presence all around for God’s works are everywhere.
In this gift of life which God gives us as we start each morning anew,
We can feel God’s love grow within us
And we see what God can do.”
This beautiful piece by Don Besig and Nancy Price (1989) offers another expression of appreciation for God’s creation.
“This is God’s Wondrous World” (VU #296)
“This is God’s wondrous world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is God’s wondrous world; I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, God’s hand the wonders wrought.
This is God’s wondrous world: the birds their carols raise;
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is God’s wondrous world: God shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass or mountain pass, God’s voice speaks everywhere.
This is God’s wondrous world: O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is God’s wondrous world:
Why should my heart be sad?
Let voices sing, let the heavens ring:
God reigns, let earth be glad.”
Our closing hymn may be familiar to some as the old CGIT (Christian Girls in Training) hymn, altered for inclusiveness from the original “This is My Father’s World.” It has helped shaped the creation spirituality of many people. The text is adapted from a poem published in a collection of Maltbie Davenport Babcock’s work entitled Thoughts for Everyday Living (1901). The origin of the tune is unknown. It was adapted to the hymn text by Stanley Oliver, organist at St. James United in Montreal, in 1929 and the hymn was published in Songs of Worship (1930) and The Hymnary (1930).
Hear an instrumental arrangement of this hymn tune at: https://youtu.be/OCKTYwjPhLs
Hear the song with saxophone and guitar at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7InRATds5k
“Like a Rock” (MV #92)
Like a rock, like a rock, God is under out feet.
Like the starry night sky God is over our head.
Like the sun on the horizon God is ever before.
Like the river runs to ocean, our home is in God evermore.
The words for this song are by Keri K. Wehlander (1998), adapted to music by Linnea Good (1998). The words of the song portray our confidence in the eternal nature of God.