Thoughts for Monday 17th August 2020

Psalm 87; 2 Kings 5:1-14; Acts 15:1-21

 

Monday 17 August

 

John Newton’s great hymn, Glorious things of thee are spoken, takes its inspiration from quite a number of Biblical books. These include 1 Peter, 2 Timothy, Hebrews, Isaiah, James and Revelation. The opening line, though, is taken directly from the third verse of our psalm today. It is a hymn that is most commonly sung to the hymn tune, Austrian Hymn, which was composed by Haydn. Later on used for the German National Anthem, this at times has made it quite controversial. In 1936, for example, when it was sung in Durham Cathedral, the German Ambassador to the UK had to be restrained from making a Nazi salute. And then, when the war did start, the BBC received so many complaints about its use in radio broadcasts during the early part of the hostilities, that Rev Cyril Vincent Taylor, who was the producer of Religious Broadcasting at the BBC at that time, in 1942 wrote an alternative tune. Called Abbot’s Leigh, this was named after the village near Bristol where he happened to be staying.

 

While it’s good to have, and to use, both tunes; it’s good also, I think, to have something (and anything at all) by Haydn in our Church Hymnary, for the reason that he was such a faithful Christian composer. Believing that his musical talent was a gift from God, which was to be used for the benefit of others, he would never sit down at the keyboard without first having prayed: and, ‘if it [the music] does not make progress, I try to find out if I have erred in some way or other, thereby forfeiting grace; and I pray for mercy until I feel that I am forgiven,’ he once said.

 

Let us pray:

 

(The Musician's Prayer)

 

Oh Lord, please bless this music that it might glorify your name. May the talent that you have bestowed upon me be used only to serve you.

Let this music be a witness to your majesty and love, and remind us that you are always watching, and listening, from your throne above.

May your presence and beauty be found in every note, and may the words that are sung reach the hearts of your people so they will draw closer to you.

May your Spirit guide us through every measure so that we might be the instruments of your peace, and proclaim your glory with glad voices,

Amen.

 


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