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!
Psalm 67: A paraphrase – Lord Bless and pity us (Church Hymnary 4 – CH4 45) Set to tune = CH4 594 Diademata (Crown him with many crowns) by Charles Litster
Lord, bless and pity us, shine on us with your face: that your way may be known on earth, all nations know your grace. Let people praise you, Lord; let all the people praise. Oh, let the nations all be glad, in songs their voices raise:
You’ll justly people judge, on earth rule nations all. Let people praise you, Lord; let them praise you, both great and small. The earth her fruit shall yield, our God shall blessing send. God shall us bless; all shall him fear unto earth’s utmost end.
These are the words that I needed from Rock of Ages Cleft for Me.
That is verses 2 and 3…
“Not the labour of my hands Can fulfil Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All could never sin erase, Thou must save, and save by grace.
Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace: Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Savior, or I die.”
If you look at Church Hymnary 4 CH4 hymn 554 you will find it is set to the tune Petra. I must say not one of my favourite tunes – but the Late Rev. Bob White always reminded me that these tunes were the pop songs of the day. Sadly one of a set of tunes that I struggle to look at as a pop song. For me, it sounds like a dirge. Other people may well enjoy, but it is not in my top 10.
As usual, I sent an email to our choir members. I mentioned that words also fit the tune for the carol ‘As with Gladness men of old’. Secretly, I was hoping this would be ok.
Quickly, I received an email back – we know the tune. ‘Oh dear’, I thought. Nothing for it, but I will try and rearrange Petra, perhaps break the chords or add a variation in the bass.
Today I arrived at church for the choir practice. Played the tune Petra, it was not recognised, by anyone. Nothing to do with the arrangement! I then checked the CH3 hymnary and the tune was Petra. – it was there again! Only, one more source was left… Mission Praise. There I found the tune Toplady and that was a perfect match. Do have a look at Mission Praise MP 582 (ii). To my mind much superior to Petra. Had to transpose by two semitones – but the organ magically did all that for me!
This is a poem inspired by the images of Fife beaches and thoughts of BREXIT
Like all my poems, there is little rhyme, rhythm, metre and the words may defy logic.
Written after a minor accident on Thursday evening. That is using one finger on a mobile phone. Other fingers bruised.
We live on an island. No, not of the desert kind An island that is not one Except in the beauty of my mind
Beauty is hidden not seen by the many, but only the few
A pleasing pleasure, the blue clouds of peace. A beauty that beams light, that laps the storms of the sea Are those waters part of the fleece? And does it destroy their coming plight
So why do we fight To destroy the float of white wool?
Better to do thine will every night
Why ignore the gift of God and his might?
As it is something precious that mixes, melts and multiplies his light
Random drops of heavenly manna Drops that dance like hot snowflakes and not a spanner Snowflakes that land on a raucous world. And how I do love Apple Pie, Snowflakes, Apple, and the planet wearing a mandatory bow tie. All, of course, a delight to my eye
Yet in itself, the world is a bit, a very small shot, a very small mitt Yes – It is Minuscule and Mountain crushing But is all well and is all fit?
Planet earth is Yes… And it will, yes it will survive
But what is more beautiful Better than the world and something that will revive
Better than this island Surely, it must be
Yes… An island of Paradise.
One that is alive
A Paradise that lives, lives inside. A Paradise of life
An Island within itself that cannot hide An isle of the Great with some strife
The Great United people, that have boats near a buoy The United In a Kingdom full of joy Sadly, not for the many but the few.
And nearly everything is broken and little is new.
Split by discord, a broken chord of love. What do we do?
Is it an emergency
No! I made a mistake – sorry operator
But… Mirror, Mirror on the wall who is the most beautiful of them all…
The most beautiful is within… “it is within” “Within What?” “Within the innards” “Within What?” “Within the innards”
The magic of inside explored by a naive surgeon’s knife
The magic of you plus The magic of two beaches in Fife The magic of a bride walking down the aisle of golden sand to become a wife
But can we Ignite that passionate spark?
Remember we are the many and not the few”.
But what are we? We are the people But who are the many? We the people are the many Where are the few? That is the mystery… And how do we grow and find out what is true?
All these questions and there is someone in the know
There is only one thing to do…
Speak to someone to release your life and make it go
and he will help you no matter even when you feel low…
I am preparing for a prayer meeting tonight and looking for something to read before prayer. On that note, Hebrews 11 comes to mind. So here goes…
1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper (comely – pleasant to look at) child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again:
If you are observant you will notice that I have missed something. And yes you are right. It is a final couple of verses in Hebrews 11. These should be here to provide balance and the full story about faith.
and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect).