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[Chalice] Unitarian Musical Heritage [Chalice]
The texts of the Hymns

Presented February 28, 2010, by Our Minister of Music, Dr. Carol Fisher Mathieson

Listen to a recording of "Unitarian Musical Heritage"
29:39 minutes - 11.9 MB - Unitarian Musical Heritage .mp3 file.

Dr. Mathieson's talk mentioned and included several hymns from our hymnal. She asks us to pay close attention to the words:

My Life Flows On in Endless Song

My life flows on in endless song Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real, thought far off hymn That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife, I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

What through the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth.
What through the darkness round me close, Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of Heaven and earth, How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear, And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near, How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled, How can I keep from singing?

Words: Traditional, Verse 3 by Doris Plenn
Music: Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE

Nearer my God, to thee, nearer to thee
E'n though it be a cross that raiseth me,
still all my song shall be, nearer my God, to thee,
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
darkness be over me, my rest a stone,
yet in my dreams I'd be nearer, my God, to thee,
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.

There let the way appear steps unto heaven,
all that thou sendest me in mercy given;
angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to thee,
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise,
out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
so by my woes to be nearer, my God, to thee,
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.

Or if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to thee,
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.

Words: Sarah Flower Adams, 1805-1848
Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

COME, THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING

Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune our hearts to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of life's perfection fills our hearts with joy and love,
tach us ever to be faithful, may we still thy goodness prove.

Come, thou fount of every vision, lift our eyes to what may come.
See the lion and the young lamb dwell together in thy home.
Hear the cries of war fall silent, feel our love glow like the sun.
When we all serve one another, then our heaven is begun.

Come, thou fount of inspiration, turn our lives to higher ways.
Lift our gloom and desperation, show the promise of this day.
Help us bind ourselves in ynion, help our hands tell of our love.
With thine aid, O fount of justice, earth be fair as heav'n above.

Words:v.1, Robert Robinson, 1735-1790, adapt.,
vs. 2-3, Eugene B. Navias, 1928-
Music: John Wyeth, Repository of Sacred Music, Part II, 1813

FAITH'S FREER SHRINE

O Light, from age to age the same,
Forever living Word,
Here have we felt thy kindling flame,
Thy voice within have heard.
Here holy thought and hymn and prayer
Have winged the spirit's powers,
And made these walls divinely fair, —
Thy temple, Lord, and ours.

What visions rise above the years.
What tender memories throng,
Till the eye fills with happy tears.
The heart with grateful song!
Vanish the mists of time and sense;
They come, the loved of yore.
And one encircling Providence
Holds all forevermore.

O not in vain their toil who wrought
To build faith's freer shrine.
Nor theirs whose steadfast love and thought
Have watched the fire divine.
Burn, holy fire, and shine more wide!
While systems rise and fall,
Faith, hope, and charity abide.
The heart and soul of all.

Words: Frederick Lucian Hosmer. Aria. Psalm CXLV, 4
This hymn was written by Mr. Hosmer in 1890 for the fiftieth anniversary of the Unitarian Society in Quincy, Illinois.
Tune: St. Peter.

FORWARD THROUGH THE AGES

Forward through the ages, in unbroken line,
move the faithful spirits at the call divine:
gifts in differing measure, hearts of one accord,
manifold the service, one the sure reward.
Forward through the ages, in unbroken line, move the faithful spirits at the call divine.

Wider grows the vision, realm of love and light,
for it we must labor, till our faith is sight
Prophets have proclaimed it, martyrs testified,
poets sung its glory, heroes for it died.
Forward through the ages, in unbroken line, move the faithful spirits at the call divine.

Not alone we conquer, not alone we fall,
in each loss or triumph lose or triumph all.
Bound by God's far purpose in one living whole,
move we on together to the shining goal.
Forward through the ages, in unbroken line, move the faithful spirits at the call divine.

Words: Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1840-1929
Music: Arthur Seymour Sullivan, 1842-1900


The Quincy Unitarian Church Home Page.
The list of Selected Sermons.