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Dismantling Your Dreams

The Glorious Gates of Righteousness

The Glorious Gates of Righteousness
Text from: The Psalter, based upon Psalm 118
Tune usually associated with the text: Zerah by Lowell Mason 1837

Here is my YouTube recording of this hymn: https://youtu.be/vHKKERgLu0c

The glorious gates of righteousness
Throw open unto me,
And I will enter them with praise,
O Lord, my God, to Thee,
And I will enter them with praise,
O Lord, my God, to Thee.

This is Thy temple gate, O Lord,
The just shall enter there;
My Savior, I will give Thee thanks,
O Thou, that hearest prayer,
My Savior, I will give Thee thanks,
O Thou, that hearest prayer.

The stone rejected and despised
Is now the cornerstone;
How wondrous are the ways of God,
Unfathomed and unknown!
How wondrous are the ways of God,
Unfathomed and unknown!

In this the day that Thou hast made
Triumphantly we sing;
Send now prosperity, O Lord,
O Lord, salvation bring,
Send now prosperity, O Lord,
O Lord, salvation bring.

Hosanna! Ever blest be he
That cometh in God’s name;
The blessing of Jehovah’s house
Upon you we proclaim;
The blessing of Jehovah’s house
Upon you we proclaim.

The light of joy to shine on us
The Lord our God has made;
Now be the precious sacrifice
Upon His altar laid;
Now be the precious sacrifice
Upon His altar laid.

O Lord, my God, I praise Thy name,
All others names above;
O give Him thanks, for He is good
And boundless is His love;
O give Him thanks, for He is good
And boundless is His love.

O praise the Lord, for He is good;
Let all in Heav’n above
And all His saints on earth proclaim
His everlasting love;
And all His saints on earth proclaim
His everlasting love.

These 8 stanzas paraphrase the last 10 verses of Psalm 118. This Psalm ostensibly may refer to a Davidic king leading the nation to victory over its enemies; Israel celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles for its deliverance from Egypt; or a post-exile celebration of Israel’s return to its homeland and the rebuilding of the temple. Whichever was the original intent, its timeless and prophetic text continues in importance all the way to the 21st century.

Starting in vs 19 we are called to enter the gates of righteousness and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate through which the righteous may enter to give praise to God and God becomes our salvation.

Psalm 118:22 is quoted by Jesus in three instances in reference to Himself. He is the stone which the builders rejected which became the cornerstone of our salvation. How marvelous and unknowable are God’s ways.

In vs. 24 we have another phrase which permeates and informs our faith: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Out of this knowledge, we can enter the day confident in the Lord’s presence.

In vs. 26 we are told that he who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed and from the house of the Lord we are blessed. This can be taken as yet another prophetic statement about the coming Messiah as well as a statement on how the Temple will be a blessing for the people of Israel.

Vs. 27 describes God as having made his light shine upon us, and how we are to join the procession to the altar; where we are to give our thanks and praise to God for he is good and his love endures forever.

 




The Lutheran 1941 Hymnal

About a year and a half ago, in response to my father’s, (a retired Presbyterian pastor), periodic complaint that no one sang the old hymns any more, I decided to record a CD’s worth of hymns out of the 1955 Presbyterian Hymnbook as a Christmas gift. (This was the hymnal used in the church I grew up in.) I had just put together a recording studio in my home and I thought this would be a great way to get acquainted with my new toys.

This hymnal has about 600 hymns in it; the first problem I faced was not the choosing of 50 or so hymns which would fit on a CD, but rather choosing 550 NOT to record. I quickly decided to record the whole thing! 18 CD’s and 7 months later I completed the project much to my parents delight. I also established a channel on YouTube and shared this project with other family members and friends.

It was such a rewarding effort I next chose to record the Broadman 1940 Hymnal (for my many Baptist family members) and the Episcopal 1940 Hymnal for my own edification. The Broadman was completed in the fall of 2015 and the recording work on the Episcopal was done prior to my hand surgery in December and I finished the editing during my extended recovery.

With those hymnals done, I have moved on to the Lutheran 1941 Hymnal. Even though this book is over 60 years old I have learned it is still very much in use in a number of Lutheran denominations and congregations in the USA. Even though it was published in the USA and is in English, its historical Germanic origins are obvious. The tunes are predominantly Germanic in origin and most retain their original German titles. The text selections are drawn from several very productive German/English translators. It is also interesting to see all of the unfamiliar (to me) seasonal hymns. Do you have any idea how many Christmas carols we don’t hear any more?

If you grew up (ahem, several decades ago) or visited your grandparent’s Lutheran church you may find some long forgotten hymns in these pages.

I invite you to join me on my journey through this wonderful record of Lutheran hymnody. This is a link directly to the playlist for this project:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZZAT1pP5dJrKbKsfBOzoHnbof2yMY8tT

 




‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Text by: Louisa M Stead 1882

Tune:  by William J Kirkpatrick

Source: Broadman 1940 Hymnal #284

Here is my recording of ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus:

https://youtu.be/50oWVAq_Fxk

1 ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, Thus says the Lord!

Refrain

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

2 O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Refrain

3 Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Refrain

4 I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Refrain

 

“Mommy, Mommy, let’s go!!” Lili was so anxious to go to the beach for a picnic with her father and me. She is only four and gets so excited whenever her father is home during the day she can hardly contain herself. The sun is out and it is a most beautiful and glorious day. It is indeed a wonderful day for a picnic and I praise God for the sun, my wonderful husband, and my precious daughter. I feel well today, even though it had been a hard winter and some days I could barely drag myself out of bed to attend to my duties, I am thankful for today.

 

We arrived at the beach and set up our picnic under the shade of a maple tree. After thanking the Lord for his bounty, we started to eat and enjoy the sun and each other’s company. No sooner than I had taken my first bite of lunch than we heard frantic screams from the water. We looked out and saw a boy caught in the tow, struggling to get to shore. My dear husband, without a moment’s hesitation, put his sandwich down and ran to the water. He dove and swam out to the panicked boy. My husband tried vainly to try to calm the boy down but as soon as he was close the boy grabbed him and pulled him under the water.

 

In a moment our day of joy turned to a day of agony. My dear husband, along with this poor boy drowned that day.

 

Lili was inconsolable. She cried for days. What child should see her father die? How can she understand what happened?

 

We have no money. I have been sick most of my life and have no means of supporting Lili and myself.

 

Yesterday, someone backed us a Shepherd’s Pie! It is enough to last Lili and me three days! The Lord is so good and gracious.

 

Since I was a child I have yearned to serve our Lord in the mission field. In His mercy, he has provided such an opportunity. Lili and I leave for Cape Colony, South Africa next week!

 

Luisa Stead worked as a missionary for another 15 years. She met and married Robert Wodehouse, a native of South Africa. Because of her poor health the couple returned to the US and Mr. Wodehouse served a Methodist church. In 1900 they returned to Umtali which was in Southern Rhodesia which is now Zimbabwe.

 

Luisa Stead passed away in 1917 in her home near the Mutambara Mission, about 50 miles from Umtali. Her daughter, Lili continued to work in the mission field in southern Africa.

 

‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus was written shortly after her first husband’s death and reflects her strong trust that despite all of her hardships, Jesus was ever faithful.

 

 


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Hymn Project Reaches 1000 Hymns.

What started about a year ago as a gift to my father, a retired Presbyterian pastor, who missed singing all of old hymns has now grown into a collection of over 1000 recordings. Many of these hymns are understandably in the dust bin of history. And I have found there have been many composers who seem to think that 3/4 and 6/8 are the only meters in the universe (a trend we still see today).

More importantly, I have found how our hymns reflect our cultures more than we may ever imagine. I have had conversations with people comparing texts and tunes where the texts were nearly identical in content but had such different cultural roots (one Baptist and the other Episcopalian) that despite their textual similarities, they would never be used by the other church.
This has given me a bit more tolerance for the CCM world of music and with it a better understanding how this musical genre reflects the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary culture. I don’t have an appreciation of CCM, just an understanding.

I have been struck by the enormous richness of our musical heritage. It is possible to find a hymn which either directly quotes, references, or swerves nearby to just about any scripture used in a service. (Hard to say that about CCM). The more I have explored our vast treasure, the more I have come to appreciate it in all of its glory and warts.

This is the 1000th hymn. A great example of late 19th century middle-American Baptist hymn. It may not appeal to you, but it is one of our’s nonetheless.

Sweet By and By

https://youtu.be/-uVT6DH3HCw

 

 


Praise the Lord, God’s Glories Show

Praise the Lord, God’s Glories Show

By: Henry Francis Lyte 1793-1847

Tune usually associated: Llanfair by Robert Williams 1817

Here is a link to my YouTube recording:

https://youtu.be/fy-JBN4NFVM

1 Praise the Lord, God’s glories show, Alleluia!
Saints within God’s courts below, Alleluia!
Angels round the throne above, Alleluia!
All that see and share God’s love, Alleluia!

2 Earth to Heaven and Heaven to earth, Alleluia!
Tell the wonders, sing God’s worth, Alleluia!
Age to age and shore to shore, Alleluia!
Praise God, praise forevermore! Alleluia!

3 Praise the Lord, great mercies trace, Alleluia!
Praise His providence and grace, Alleluia!
All that God for us has done, Alleluia!
All God sends us through the Son. Alleluia!

4 Strings and voices, hands and hearts, Alleluia!
In the concert bear your parts, Alleluia!
All that breathe, your Lord adore, Alleluia!
Praise Him, praise Him evermore!

The final two lines provide a complete summary of the hymn: All that breathe, you Lord adore, Praise Him, Praise Him evermore!  Each line of this hymn is embraced by every corner of Christendom. While Lyte captures the universal truths of our faith, from today’s perspective, he found within his own life and ministry much division and contradictions.

Early in his ministry he took a parish in Lower Brixham; a fishing village in the southwest corner of Great Britain. While there, he began the first Sunday school ever in the area. In addition to the children’s school he started a Sailor’s Sunday School. The enrollment usually ran into the hundreds. While religious education was ostensibly the purpose of this school, the school usually provided the only educational opportunity for the area residence, who were mostly illiterate. He would also organize an Annual Treat for area children which included a short worship service followed by food and field games.

Lyte was, in today’s parlance, a Conservative Evangelical Christian. He worked tirelessly for his ever growing congregation who were mostly illiterate fishermen and their families. He would often visit them in their homes and on their vessels, making sure that each ship had at least one Bible on board. Yet, this man who had a deep care for his own people opposed Catholic Emancipation. Catholic Emancipation was an effort to relieve the Catholics of Great Britain of the many regulations which were imposed upon them two centuries earlier with the ascension of Protestant rulers. Yet, he worked for the end of slavery and the emancipation of all slaves in Britain and was very active in the abolition movement in England.

As the Non-conformist, also known as the Dissenter churches, such as Plymouth Brethren gained influence in England, Lyte strongly promoted allegiance to the Church of England. At one time he lost a sizeable portion of his congregation (including most of his choir) because of his position.

However contradictory aspects of Henry Lyte’s life and work may appear to us living in the early 21st century, we should hold off making any judgements. We nede to understand the historical context of his life in same understanding we would hope historians of the 23rd century would use in looking at our own time. For most of human history prior to time of the American and French revolutions, the Church and State were deeply intertwined. Various factions would join forces and compete for power and resources as seen in the English monarchy switching between Catholic and Protestant affiliations. Unlike what we experience today, these political/religious power transitions were often very violent affairs with the common people bearing the brunt of the chaos and loss. For a person of political or religious influence to oppose other branches of the church was as much of an existential argument as anything else. Based upon historical precedent, if the Catholics were allowed to come to power, it could mean the loss of Protestant lives.  The same could be said when the power structure shifted from Catholic to Protestant, Catholic lives were at risk.

This is how Lyte could advocate the freeing of African slaves and not the relief of Catholic oppression. One group (slaves) posed no historical threat, but the other (Catholics) had a history of violent oppression of Protestants. (And the Catholics would have a similar opinion of the Protestants.)  The experiment of a politically powerless church had only just begun in the Americas. By the end of Lyte’s life the experiment would have been proven and the political power of Church was in rapid decline. But this was not the history he was born into. I often wonder what ideas we take for granted as truth today, will be seen 200 years from now as foolish if not outright evil.

 

 


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The Hymnbook 1955 – Complete Recording

It all began on a Saturday in September almost 45 years ago. My mother walked with me from our home in Bad Axe, Michigan on North Port Crescent south a couple of blocks to South St and then west one house and introduced me to my first piano teacher: Mrs. Snodden. Fast forward to the fall of 2014. After hearing my parents mention several times that no one sang the old hymns anymore, I decided to record a CD’s worth of hymns out of The Hymnbook (Presbyterian 1955) which was used in the church I grew up in. Initially, I thought I would just pick 50 or so of the hymns I remember singing as a child. As it turned out, I couldn’t always remember if I had played or sang the hymns as a child or as an adult at one of the several churches I have worked through the years. And besides, 50 was just not nearly enough to even start with. So began a 6 month journey through the entire hymn book. I have played hymns I haven’t heard for 35 years and many I have never heard before; wondering why such gems had suffered such neglect.

So the journey is complete and I once more arrive at where I began and know it again for the first time. Such a journey is not unlike reading the Bible from cover to cover. You see such an overarching vista of God’s work that the imponderable and un-understandable mysteries which might have caused you to question your faith fade into the very fabric of your faith. You learn that faith is not in the knowing the answer but rather in the acceptance of the question. The final hymn speaks to the mercies of the night and God’s presence throughout our days. In the end of our days and the end or our faith, this is where we arrive, utterly dependent upon the Grace and Mercy of our Father.

 

Here is a link to the entire list of recordings I have done so far with links to all of the recordings:

http://andrewremillard.com/recording-list/