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Notes on the Notes – June 30, 2019

This week’s theme:

Grace > Humanity

This week’s scripture readings:

Galatians 5:1, 13-25             Luke 9:51-62

This week’s music:

“Take Time to Be Holy” (VU #642)

“Take time to be holy, speak oft with your Lord;
Abide in him always, and feed on his word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, let him be your guide,
And run not before him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in his word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in your soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath his control.
Thus led by his spirit to fountains of love,
You soon shall be fitted for service above.”

William D. Longstaff, an English businessman, wrote this hymn at an annual Keswick Convention in response to an account of the work of Griffith Jones, a missionary in China who was reported to have been preaching on the subject of holiness.   The Keswick Convention, which has met annually since 1875,  is a gathering of evangelical Christians in Keswick, in the English county of Cumbria.  The composer, George C. Stebbins, wrote the tune while working on an evangelical campaign in India; it was published in 1890.

Hear the Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFApbg-wcmE

“Eternal, Unchanging, We Sing” (VU #223)

“Eternal, Unchanging, we sing to your praise:
Your mercies are endless, and righteous your ways;
Your servants proclaim the renown of your name
Who rules over all and is ever the same.

Again we rejoice in the world you have made,
Your mighty creation in beauty arrayed,
We thank you for life, and we praise you for joy,
For love and for hope that no power can destroy.

We praise you for Jesus, our Master and Lord,
The might of his Spirit, the truth of his word,
His comfort in sorrow, his patience in pain,
The faith sure and steadfast that Jesus shall reign.”

R.B.Y. Scott taught Old Testament studies at United Theological College in Montreal for almost twenty-five years before moving to the Department of Religion at Princeton University.  This is one of his early hymns, first published in 1938.   The tune, ST. DENIO, is a traditional Welsh melody adapted into a hymn tune during the Welsh revivals at the turn of the 19th century.  It is also the tune used by Ralph Vaughan Williams with the hymn “Immortal, Invisible.”

Hear the melody on pipe organ at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqgQ3_VcaKw

“I Love to Tell the Story” (VU #343)

“I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;I love to tell
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

I love to tell the story, more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
‘Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.”

Arabella Katherine Hankey (1834-1911) grew up in the family of a wealthy English banker associated with the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church. As a teenager she taught a girls’ Sunday school class. Later she traveled to South Africa to serve as a nurse and to assist her invalid brother.

While recovering from a lengthy illness of her own at age 30, she wrote a poem on the life of Christ. This poem had two sections, the first published in January 1866 and entitled The Story Wanted, the second published later that year in November under the title The Story Told. The hymn “I Love to Tell the Story” is drawn from stanzas in the second section. The text of the refrain was written by the composer of the music, William G. Fisher, in 1869.

Hear the Chuck Wagon Gang at: https://youtu.be/-xgbsC_zL50

Hear Eddy Arnold sing the hymn at: https://youtu.be/0BE_SryWgNY

Hear country singer Alan Jackson at: https://youtu.be/wpfsZZ9X5n8

“Amazing Grace” (VU #266)

“Amazing grace!  how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! 

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.” 

“Amazing Grace” was written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725-1807), published in 1779.  Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed (forced into service involuntarily) into the  Royal Navy, and after leaving the service became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm battered his vessel so severely that he called out to God for mercy, a moment that marked his spiritual conversion.  However, he continued his slave trading career until 1754 or 1755, when he ended his seafaring altogether and began studying Christian theology.

Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. “Amazing Grace” was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773. It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses; it may have simply been chanted by the congregation. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper’s Olney Hymns, but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States however, “Amazing Grace” was used extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to a tune named “New Britain” to which it is most frequently sung today.

“Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and it is estimated that it is sung 10 million times a year.

See 7-yr old Rhema Marvanne sing the hymn at:  https://youtu.be/DDDlxmsciqY

See Il Divo in concert at:  https://youtu.be/GYMLMj-SibU

“Will Your Anchor Hold” (VU #675)

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers roar and the reef is near?
While the surges rave and the wild winds blow,
Shall the angry waves then your bark o’erflow?

Will your eyes behold through the morning light,
The city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore
When life’s storms are past for evermore?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.”

Priscilla Jane Owens of Baltimore, Maryland, wrote this hymn, most likely for a youth service in 1882.  It was first published, with the tune by William James Kirkpatrick, in “Songs of Triumph:  adapted to Prayer Meetings, Camp Meetings, and All Other Seasons of Religious Worship (1882).  Priscilla Owens (1829–1907) was a Sunday School teacher at the Un­ion Square Methodist Episcopal Church. She wrote a number of hymns and songs for her pupils; this is the best known today. The music was written by William Kirkpatrick (1838–1921) of  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The hymn has always been closely associated with the Boys’ Brigade, which has the motto, “Sure and Steadfast”.  The Boys’ Brigade (BB) is an interdenominational Christian youth organization, conceived by Sir William Alexander Smith to combine drill and fun activities with Christian values.

Hear the song at:  https://youtu.be/UQQO8v-0VBo

Categories: Notes on the Notes