It was a long time ago, 1982 if my memory serves me well, my minister at a Liverpool Church contacted me in a panic. “I can’t find a hymn for it!” was the cry. And honestly, he had a challenge. He could not find a hymn for the passage Genesis 1 (The very start of the Holy Bible). The story would be quite different now!
Thanks to modern technology I would just type in those very first few words of the old testament into Google on the Internet and hey presto you will find those immortal words in at least one modern hymn or song.
So I hunted through my hymn books and I could not find one hymn, one chorus, one song, nor one bit of humble poetry. My library was not extensive as I have now but it took a lot of time to find nothing!
Therefore, there was only one thing to do, but write something new. That is the words and music for a new song ‘In the beginning, God made heaven and earth’. Below for brevity is the first verse and chorus, It is slightly modified and now the chorus stays the same throughout the whole of the song.
In the beginning, God made heaven and earth.
And the earth was without form,
Twas void and darkness was on the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved all around.
And God said, Let there be light:
and God said Let there be night
and God said Let there be day
And it was so
It was only recently, that I discovered that there is at least one other hymn written well before this and of course it is in a very well known hymn book. You all should know it. The Scottish Psalter and Church Hymnary (revised). You will all know that I like playing all hymns. Those that are ancient/more recent and those that are modern/popular. As one minister in South West Scotland in his sermons said, the great majority of hymn tunes were named after the village or town where the hymn was written and those hymns were sung and some danced to as pop songs locally.
Below is the text of the Bible that was set to music from the Psalter for Genisis 1 and this text represents verses 1 &2 (there are 8 others) and can be sung to Amazing Grace
Paraphrase: Let heav’n arise, Let earth appear
- Let heav’n arise, Let earth appear,
said the Almighty Lord:
The heav’n arose, the earth appear’d,
at his creating word.
- Thick darkness brooded o’er the deep:
God said, ‘Let there be light:’
The light shone forth with smiling ray,
and scattered ancient night.
Note: You may have noticed in my composition I used the word ‘Twas’, – that is ‘it was’ the only word that fitted to the melody in my music!