MIdweek Hymn: “To us all, to every nation comes a moment to decide”


This past Corona Sabbath 28 online devotional was about voting, authority, and integrity. The hymn for that post was the Battle Hymn of the Republic. A friend and fellow church musician told me the hymn she often uses in association with the topic of voting is “Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide.” It’s a GREAT text and I’m happy to have learned of the association of this mighty hymn to the topic of voting. My friend is right on target.

The original text is by James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891.

Here’s what hymnary.org says about him:

Lowell, James Russell, LL.D., was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 22, 1819; graduated at Harvard College, 1838, and was called to the Bar in 1840. Professor of Modern Languages and Literature (succeeding the Poet Longfellow) in Harvard, 1855; American Minister to Spain, also to England in 1881. He was editor of the Atlantic Monthly, from 1857 to 1862; and of the North American Review from 1863 to 1872. Professor Lowell is the most intellectual of American poets, and first of her art critics and humorists. He has written much admirable moral and sacred poetry, but no hymns. One piece, “Men, whose boast it is that ye” (Against Slavery), is part of an Anti-Slavery poem, and in its present form is found in Hymns of the Spirit, 1864. Part of this is given in Songs for the Sanctuary, N.Y., 1865, as “They are slaves who will not choose.” [Rev. F. M. Bird, M.A.]

That hymn text isn’t in the New Century Hymnal; however, the tune I associate with is. It’s NCH #267. But the text we’ll sing to it is found on https://hymnary.org/hymn/VU1996/694. It’s Lowell’s text adapted for more contemporary sensibilities regarding gender from the United Church of Canada hymnal, Voices United.

Sunday Morning Music: Wendeyaho

This is based on a Native American hymn traditionally sung to the four directions in the morning by the women of the community. The harmonization, arrangement, and orchestrations are my own, as well as the video performance. I’ve done several settings–orchestra, solo piano, and choir–the piano solo (with some soft string pads) is presented here.

“Wendeyaho” is often described as a “Cherokee Morning Song.” However discussion of it on the Internet indicates that the word, “Wendeyaho,” is not contemporary Cherokee, although it may have its origins in an ancient form of the language. The translation I was able to piece together from various internet sources is as follows:

Translation – We n’ de ya ho
Freely translated: “A we n'” (I am),
“de” (of),
“Yauh” –the– (Great Spirit),
“Ho” (it is so).

Feel free to download the 2 page sheet music PDF from THIS LINK so you can play it at home, yourself. You need to do some tricky shifting of hands to cover all the parts in the last two variations, but it’s doable, I promise. If you don’t want to download anything, you can follow along on this graphic below.

The choir at Lakewood UCC, St. Petersburg, FL, where I’m the music director, enjoys singing my choral arrangement of Wendeyaho. It’s very simple and effective. You can see it HERE.

Corona Sabbath 28 AUTHORITY and INTEGRITY

These weeks when we cannot gather in person for Sunday worship, Lakewood United Church of Christ is providing brief weekly sabbath programs for you to listen to on your own or with others in your social isolation group. They will be posted on Friday so that you can schedule your sabbath time to suit your schedule and your spiritual inclinations. We hope these programs are of spiritual support to you in these difficult times.

The post this week focuses on a teaching of Jesus that may have a word for us during this election season.

This post includes a scripture reading of Matthew 21:23-32 by Sue Sherwood, a reflection from Rev. Kim Wells, and a musical offering from Hilton Jones. We hope this post helps to feed your spirit in these conflicted times.

You are invited to find a quiet space, inside or outside. Light a candle. Take a look around you. Breathe. Life-giving breath. Be present.

You may begin with this reading:

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the full measure I have received and am still receiving.

–Albert Einstein 1879-1955

When you are ready, start the video below.


(For written text of the above video click HERE.)

As you listen to the music which follows, you are invited to notice the thoughts and feelings that arise for you.

After viewing the music video, you are invited to offer the following closing –

Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours are the hands with which he is to bless…

–Teresa of Avila 1515-1582

Breathe. Breathe again. Be filled. With the desire to trust. Extinguish your candle and engage whatever may come with a sense of peace and a desire to serve.


LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

The mission of Lakewood United Church of Christ, as part of the Church Universal, is to:

  • Celebrate the presence and power of God in our lives and in our world;
  • Offer the hospitality and inclusive love of Christ to all people;
  • Work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.

USEFUL LAKEWOOD LINKS DURING THE CORONA CRISIS:


Corona Sabbath 27 Remembering the founding of Lakewood UCC


These weeks when we cannot gather in person for Sunday worship, Lakewood United Church of Christ is providing brief weekly sabbath programs for you to listen to on your own or with others in your social isolation group. They will be posted on Friday so that you can schedule your sabbath time to suit your schedule and your spiritual inclinations. We hope these programs are of spiritual support to you in these difficult times.

The post this week focuses on the founding of Lakewood United Church of Christ in September of 1967. When we look back from the vantage point of today, it might seem like a strange time to be founding a church. And yet here we are. And it is another VERY strange time. The Bible helps us to see why the church was important then, and why it is VERY important now!

This post includes two scripture readings offered by Jim Andrews, a reflection from Rev. Kim Wells, and a musical offering from Hilton Jones. We hope this post helps to feed your spirit in these uncertain times.

You are invited to find a quiet space, inside or outside. Light a candle. Since this post focuses on Lakewood Church and Charter Sunday, you may want to have something in view that reminds you of the church. Take a look around you. Breathe. Life-giving breath. Be present.

You may begin with this reading:

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me to take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the spirit will be alive among us.

Let the spirit flourish and grow;
So we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.

–Written by Cesar E. Chavez, UFW Founder (1927-1993)

This prayer was chosen because since its founding in 1967, LUCC has supported the farm worker movement. The words of this prayer embody not only the hopes and dreams of the Farm Workers but also of the LUCC congregation.

When you are ready, start the audio below.

Rev. Wells’ Reflection
(For written text of the above video click HERE.)

As you listen to the music which follows, you are invited to notice the thoughts and feelings that arise for you.

Hilton’s music

After viewing the music video, you are invited to offer the following closing –

You are the Promise of our wholeness,
You await our readiness
to choose Life.
Your covenant of Love stands firm
through all the ages;
You forgive us when we stray
far from Home.
Help us to learn to trust You,
to untangle the webs of illusion
we have made.
As we sift through our dreams,
guide us to the only Dream
that brings peace –
knowing we belong to You.
Give us wisdom and courage
to release all that binds us;
for to face what is built on illusion
is to find new life.

–From Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill

Breathe. Breathe again. Be filled. With the desire for wholeness. Extinguish your candle and engage whatever may come with a sense of peace and a desire to serve.


LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

The mission of Lakewood United Church of Christ, as part of the Church Universal, is to:

  • Celebrate the presence and power of God in our lives and in our world;
  • Offer the hospitality and inclusive love of Christ to all people;
  • Work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.

USEFUL LAKEWOOD LINKS DURING THE CORONA CRISIS: