Tonight we a singing hymns ancient-and-modern. These are hymns that were written generations or centuries ago, but which have seen a resurgence in Contemporary Christian Music. One of these hymns is “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” The hymn was written by the Anglican priest Reginald Heber (1783-1826). Heber wrote 57 hymns of which five are in the 1982 Hymnal. Heber wrote this hymn for Trinity Sunday. In the lectionary at the time, the readings for Trinity included Revelation 4. (This chapter being St. John the Divine’s revisioning of Isaiah 6.) The first line of the song, of course, is taken from the song of the seraphim in Revelation and Isaiah. In each of the verses within this hymn, Heber sees the Sanctus as being sung by first by the Church Militant, then by the Church Triumphant, and finally by all of creation. Of note, Heber died as Bishop of Calcutta (India). The tune to this hymn, Nicaea, was written specifically for this hymn by John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876) for inclusion in the first “Hymns Ancient and Modern” published in 1860. Whenever this song has been recorded by contemporary Christian artists, such Hillsong, The Gettys, or Newsboys, they still use Nicaea as the tune.
Another hymn we are singing tonight is “Amazing Grace.” The hymn was written by the Anglican cleric and former slave boat captain, John Newton (1725-1807), upon a reflection on his life. This hymn has probably been recorded by every recording artist who has released a Christian album. This hymn is usually sung to the tune “New Britain.” This tune is an Appalachian folk tune that was initially paired with the hymn in Southern Harmony published in 1835. However, this hymn has also been recorded with another Appalachian folk/blues tune known as “House of the Rising Sun.” The origin of the tune itself may go back to 16th c. England, but its present version arises in the Old South. The two recordings I could find of this pairing are from The Blind Boys of Alabama and later by a country-rock duo The Nevello Band. Please listen to one or both recordings before tonight to get an idea of how this pairing works.
The set sheet for this evening is:
- Be Thou My Vision (hymnary)
- It Is Well With My Soul (wikipedia)
- Holy Holy Holy (hymnary)
- Holy is the Lord (songfacts)
- Amazing Grace (alt. tune) (hymnary)
Next week is our last week of hymns. We will be singing Palm Sunday and Easter hymns. We will also sing one hymn on the Great Commission to end on. We are not meeting on Tuesday, October 31.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is Chicken Pot Pie. Hymn singing begins at 6:45. Hope to see you here and please bring a friend.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:10