This Tuesday we will be singing Camp Songs by the fire pit (weather and logistics permitting). These are songs of praise that I grew up with in Sunday school and that most of us have encountered on spiritual retreats, such as Cursillo. Anna Grace will be using the guitar this week to lead us.
Most of these hymns we will sing are of a more recent origin. However, one of the songs on Tuesday is much older. “Do Lord” was a song written by Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) who is better known for writing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Howe grew up in a strict Calvinist-Episcopal family in New York. Her husband was a radical Unitarian Transcendentalist who operated the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston (where Helen Keller was a student). Howe became a Unitarian and became very active in the social gospel movement of the 19th century, and particularly in the woman’s suffrage movement. (Unlike in the Episcopal church at the time, Howe was permitted to preach in her Unitarian congregation.) Although Howe’s moto was “deed and not creed,” when we sing “Do Lord,” we can nonetheless see the deep and abiding faith in Jesus that animated her social gospel work.
Another hymn we are singing on Tuesday is “This is the Day.” This song was composed in 1967 by Leslie Norman Garrett, an evangelical New Zealander. The song is based upon Psalm 118:24, which proclaims the great day of the Passover during the Exodus. The tune is a Fijian folk tune discovered by Garrett in his work in that country. Like “Do Lord” this will also be a fun song for us to sing.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is a cookout (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.). We will eat inside, but weather and logistics permitting, we will be singing outside at 6:45. I will try to end a little early this week so we can enjoy S’mores on the campfire. Hope to see you here and please bring a friend.
He gave me reason to sing a new song,Psalm 40:3
praising our God.
May many see what God has done,
so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord!