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“By faith made strong. . .”

Filed under: Creative — Jess at 1:04 pm on Thursday, August 7, 2008

Music can be one of the most healing balms in the face of tragedy and despair. Today, I bring you two hymn texts from Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, both of which were sung at this past Sunday’s rededication service at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.

May Nothing Evil Pass This Door

words by Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977)

May nothing evil cross this door,
and may ill fortune never pry
about these windows; may the roar
and rain go by.

By faith made strong, the rafters will
withstand the battering of the storm.
This hearth, though all the world grow chill,
will keep you warm.

Peace shall walk softly through these rooms,
touching our lips with holy wine,
till every casual corner blooms
into a shrine.

With laughter drown the raucous shout,
and, though these sheltering walls are thin,
may they be strong to keep hate out
and hold love in.

Spirit of Life

words by Carolyn McDade

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me,
Come to me.

Source: Singing the Living Tradition, hymn #1, “May Nothing Evil Cross This Door,” words by Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977); and hymn #123, “Spirit of Life,” words by Carolyn McDade.

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“I loved to choose and see my path. . .”

Filed under: Creative, History — Jess at 8:45 am on Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sometimes it is important, spiritually, to let go of our individual control. Unitarian Universalism places a great value on the individual search for truth and meaning, but also on the value of conducting that search in community. We realize that sometimes, we are weary and just need to rest.

This hymn for an Evening Service, from the 1917 Hymns of the Church: With Services and Chants, published by the Universalist Publishing House, recognizes this need. The tune, Lux Benigna, was written by the Rev. J.B. Dykes and the words by Rev. Dr. John Henry Newman.

Lux Benigna, for Evening Service

words by Rev. Dr. John Henry Newman

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’ encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene: one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path: but now,
Lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day; and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long thy power has blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Source: Lux Benigna, tune by Rev. J.B. Dykes with words by Rev. Dr. John Henry Newman, from the 1917 Hymns of the Church: With Services and Chants, published by the Universalist Publishing House, page 7, via Google Books.

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