Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Light of Light Unfold

Psalm 148 is one of the appointed psalms for worship today in some lectionary cycles.  Today's hymn is a loose paraphrase by the English Congregationalist George Rawson, which makes a good showing of including the whole universe in the act of praising God.
Sing praise to God, immortal choir,
In heavenly heights above,
With harp and voice and souls of fire,
That burn with perfect love.
Shine to God’s glory, worlds of light!
Ye million suns of space,
Fair moons and glittering stars of night,
That run your mystic race!

Ye gorgeous clouds, that deck the sky
With crystal, crimson, gold,
And rainbow arches raised on high,
The Light of light unfold!
Do homage, roiling ocean floor,
With many-surging sign;
Majestic calms, be hushed before
The Holiness Divine.

Storm, lightning, thunder, hail and snow,
Wild winds that keep God’s word,
With steadfast mountains far below,
Unite to bless the Lord.
God’s name, ye forests, wave along;
And whisper, every flower;
Birds, beasts, and insects, swell the song
That tells such love and power.

Around the wide world let it roll,
Whilst we shall lead it on;
Join every joyful human soul,
In glorious unison.
Thou all creating Deity,
The God of earth and heav’n!
The great redeeming Majesty,
To whom all praise be giv’n!

George Rawson, 1853; alt.
Tune: PLUMER (C.M.D.)
Joseph Maclean, 1899

More familiar tunes that would also work well include FOREST GREEN and ELLACOMBE, though both are somewhat overused. 

It appears that George Rawson liked to include the rainbow in his hymns; both of his texts that have already appeared on the blog (here and here) also use it.

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