Monday, February 8, 2016

Revive Each Famished Soul

I've been thinking a lot about water lately, probably because of the terrible situation in Flint, Michigan, and the response which was undertaken by churches and religious organizations across the country long before their state government did anything.

Water is a pretty basic need for everyone, and maybe that's why water shows up often in scripture, as well as in the various religious arts, including hymns.  This one struck my attention today while doing some other research.

Flow down, O stream of life divine,
Your quick'ning truths deliver,
And flow throughout this soul of mine
Forever and forever.

Flow down and cause this heart to glow
With love to God the Giver;
That love in which all virtues grow
Forever and forever.

Flow down, as flows the sun and rain
In vital work together,
Refreshing roots and ripening grain
Forever and forever.

Flow down, revive each famished soul
That we may hunger never,
And we will praise you, God of all,
Forever and forever.

David Thomas, 1874; alt.
Traditional Irish melody
arr. Charles Villiers Stanford, c.1906

Author David Thomas (1813-1894) was a Congregational minister who led a large congregation in the Stockwell district of London, and also the founding editor of The Homilist, a "magazine of liturgical thought," where this hymn appeared.  It was also published in Thomas's A Biblical Liturgy (1874) which contained services for various occasions as well as 29 hymns by Thomas. 

I will probably be prospecting (or is that dowsing?)for more hymns about water in the weeks to come.

P.S. - Art here is from a painting by Lilla Cabot Perry, A Stream Beneath Poplars (c. 1890-1900).

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