Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A healthy soul

A healthy soul, therefore, must do two things for us. First, it must put some fire in our veins, keep us energized, vibrant, living with zest, and full of hope as we sense that life is, ultimately, beautiful and worth living. Whenever this breaks down in us, something is wrong with our souls. When cynicism, despair, bitterness, or depression paralyze our energy, part of the soul is hurting. Second, a healthy soul has to keep us fixed together. It has to continually give us a sense of who we are, where we came from, where we are going, and what sense there is in all of this. When we stand looking at ourselves, confusedly, in a mirror and ask ourselves what sense, if any, there is to our lives, it is this other part of the soul, our principle of integration, that is limping.—The Holy Longing, 14

Mumble those words! (Tozer for Tuesday)

We imagine that if we say certain words, we will have power to bring good. If we say certain other words, they have power to fend off the devil, and there is safety in mumbling those words. If we fail to mumble the words, we are in for it, and if we remember to mumble the words, we are all right. That is just paganism under another form. It’s just a religious veneer at best.—A.W. Tozer, Reclaiming Christianity, 110–11

<idle musing>
Yep! And that's the big beef I have w/the "name it and claim it. Stomp on it and frame it" crowd. (Or as I heard someone else call it, "Gab it and grab it!")

Scripture is not a magic sword to be wielded as we see fit. That's not why it was given. The Holy Spirit is our shield, not some magic recitation of words. Our submission to the Holy Spirit, as Peter says, is what drives the evil one away. And by submission, I mean obedience to the promptings of the Spirit, not submission to some patriarchal system set up by power-hungry (usually) men!
</idle musing>

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky (Tennyson)

537 Wild Bells L. M. D.

1 Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light;
   The year is dying in the night;
   Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
   Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
   Ring out the false, ring in the true.

2 Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
   With sweeter manners, purer laws.
   Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
   Ring in the common love of good.

3 Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
   Ring in the thousand years of peace.
   Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
   Ring in the Christ that is to be.
                         Alfred Tennyson
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Yes, that Tennyson. I didn't think he had written any hymns, and it turns out that he didn't. According to hymnary.org, "Although Lord Tennyson has not written any hymns, extracts from his poems are sometimes used as such" (John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II, 1907). So now you know.
</idle musing>

Monday, April 29, 2024

Every choice is a renunciation

Medieval philosophy had a dictum that said: Every choice is a renunciation. Indeed. Every choice is a thousand renunciations. To choose one thing is to turn one’s back on many others. To marry one person is to not marry all the others, to have a baby means to give up certain other things; and to pray may mean to miss watching television or visiting with friends. This makes choosing hard. No wonder we struggle so much with commitment. It is not that we do not want certain things, it is just that we know that if we choose them we close off so many other things. It is not easy to be a saint, to will the one thing, to have the discipline of a Mother Teresa. The danger is that we end up more like Janis Joplin; good-hearted, highly energized, driven to try to drink in all of life, but in danger of falling apart and dying from lack of rest.—The Holy Longing, 9

Father, let me dedicate all this year to thee

535 Dedication. 7. 5. 7. 5. D.

1 Father, let me dedicate
   All this year to you,
   In whate'er my earthly state,
   In whate'er I do.
   Not from sorrow, pain, or care
   Freedom dare I claim;
   This alone shall be my prayer:
   Glorify your name.

2 Can a child presume to choose
   Where or how to live?
   Can a father's love refuse
   All the best to give?
   More you give me ev'ry day
   Than the best can claim;
   Help me trust you that I may
   Glorify your name.

3 If in mercy you prolong
   Joys that now are mine,
   If on life serene and fair
   Brighter rays may shine,
   Let my glad heart, while it sings,
   You in all proclaim
   And, whate'er the future brings,
   Glorify your name.

4 If you have for me a cross
   And its shadow come,
   Turning all my gain to loss,
   Shrouding heart and home,
   Let me think how your dear Son
   To his glory came
   And in deepest woe pray on:
   "Glorify your name."
                         Lawrence Tuttiett
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Another Year is Dawning

534 Bremen. 7. 6. 7. 6.

1 Another year is dawning,
   Dear Master, let it be,
   In working or in waiting,
   Another year with Thee.

2 Another year of mercies,
   Of faithfulness and grace;
   Another year of gladness,
   The shining of Thy face.

3 Another year of progress,
   Another year of praise,
   Another year of proving
   Thy presence all the days.

4 Another year of service,
   Of witness for Thy love;
   Another year of training
   For holier work above.

5 Another year is dawning,
   Dear Master, let it be,
   On earth, or else in heaven,
   Another year for Thee!
                         Frances R. Havergal
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Saturday, April 27, 2024

O God our help in ages past

533 St. Anne. C. M.

1 O God, our Help in ages past,
   Our Hope for years to come,
   Our shelter from the stormy blast,
   And our eternal Home!

2 Under the shadow of Thy throne
   Still may we dwell secure;
   Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
   And our defense is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood,
   Or earth received her frame,
   From everlasting Thou art God,
   To endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages, in Thy sight,
   Are like an evening gone;
   Short as the watch that ends the night,
   Before the rising sun.

5 O God. our Help in ages past,
   Our Hope for years to come,
   Be Thou our Guide while life shall last,
   And our eternal Home.
                         Isaac Watts
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
A nice rousing Isaac Watts hymn! I didn't realize that there were so many different variations in this hymn. As usual, Cyberhymnal has the most:

4. Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
   Return, ye sons of men:
   All nations rose from earth at first,
   And turn to earth again.

6. The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
   With all their lives and cares,
   Are carried downwards by the flood,
   And lost in following years.

7. Time, like an ever rolling stream,
   Bears all its sons away;
   They fly, forgotten, as a dream
   Dies at the opening day.

8. Like flowery fields the nations stand
   Pleased with the morning light;
   The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
   Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

</idle musing>

Friday, April 26, 2024

What is a saint?

A saint is someone who can, precisely, channel powerful eros in a creative, life-giving way. Soren Kierkegaard once defined a saint as someone who can will the one thing. Nobody disputes that Mother Teresa did just that, willed the one thing—God and the poor. She had a powerful energy, but it was a very disciplined one. Her fiery eros was poured out for God and the poor. That—total dedication of everything to God and poor—was her signature, her spirituality. It made her what she was.—The Holy Longing, 8 (emphasis original)

Ten thousand times ten thousand

531 Alford. 7. 6. 8. 6. D.

1 Ten thousand times ten thousand
   In sparkling raiment bright,
   The armies of the ransomed saints
   Throng up the steeps of light:
   'Tis finished, all is finished,
   Their fight with death and sin;
   Fling open wide the golden gates,
   And let the victors in!

2 O then what raptured greetings
   On Canaan's happy shore,
   What knitting severed friendships up
   Where partings are no more!
   Then eyes with joy shall sparkle,
   That brimmed with tears of late;
   Orphans no longer fatherless,
   Nor widows desolate.

3 What rush of alleluias
   Fills all the earth and sky!
   What ringing of a thousand harps
   Bespeaks the triumph nigh!
   O day, for which creation
   And all its tribes were made;
   O joy, for all its former woes
   A thousandfold repaid!
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition
                         Henry Alford

<idle musing>
Hymnary.org adds a verse:

4 Bring near Thy great salvation,
   Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
   Fill up the roll of Thine elect,
   Then take Thy power and reign;
   Appear, Desire of nations,
   Thine exiles long for home;
   Show in the heavens Thy promised sign;
   Thou Prince and Savior, come.
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 25, 2024

It's not optional!

Spirituality is not something on the fringes, an option for those with a particular bent. None of us has a choice. Everyone has to have a spirituality and everyone does have one, either a life-giving one or a destructive one. No one has the luxury of choosing here because all of us are precisely fired into life with a certain madness that comes from the gods and we have to do something with that. We do not wake up in this world calm and serene, having the luxury of choosing to act or not act. We wake up crying, on fire with desire, with madness. What we do with that madness is our spirituality.—The Holy Longing, 6

Jerusalem the golden

529 Ewing. 7. 6. 7. 6. D.

1 Jerusalem the golden,
   With milk and honey blest!
   Beneath thy contemplation
   Sink heart and voice oppressed;
   I know not, O I know not
   What joys await us there;
   What radiancy of glory,
   What light beyond compare!

2 They stand, those halls of Zion,
   All jubilant with song,
   And bright with many an angel,
   And all the martyr throng;
   The Prince is ever in them,
   The daylight is serene;
   The pastures of the blessed
   Are decked in glorious sheen.

3 O sweet and blessed country,
   the home of God’s elect!
   O sweet and blessed country,
   that eager hearts expect!
   Jesus, in mercy bring us
   to that dear land of rest,
   Who art, with God the Father,
   and Spirit, ever blessed.
                         Bernard of Cluny (11th century)
                         Tr. by John M. Neale
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
This hymn, in various forms, appears in about 900 hymnals. Cyberhymnal lists a significant number of additional verses:

3. There is the throne of David,
   and there, from care released,
   The shout of them that triumph,
   the song of them that feast;
   And they, who with their Leader,
   have conquered in the fight,
   Forever and forever
   are clad in robes of white.

5. Brief life is here our portion,
   brief sorrow, short lived care;
   The life that knows no ending,
   the tearless life, is there.
   O happy retribution!
   Short toil, eternal rest;
   For mortals and for sinners,
   a mansion with the blest.

6. That we should look, poor wanderers,
   to have our home on high!
   That worms should seek for dwellings
   beyond the starry sky!
   And now we fight the battle,
   but then shall wear the crown
   Of full and everlasting,
   and passionless renown.

7. And how we watch and struggle,
   and now we live in hope,
   And Zion in her anguish
   with Babylon must cope;
   But he whom now we trust in
   shall then be seen and known,
   And they that know and see Him
   shall have Him for their own.

8. For thee, O dear, dear country,
   mine eyes their vigils keep;
   For very love, beholding,
   thy happy name, they weep:
   The mention of thy glory
   is unction to the breast,
   And medicine in sickness,
   and love, and life, and rest.

9. O one, O only mansion!
   O paradise of joy!
   Where tears are ever banished,
   and smiles have no alloy;
   The cross is all thy splendor,
   the Crucified thy praise,
   His laud and benediction
   thy ransomed people raise.

10. Jerusalem the glorious!
   Glory of the elect!
   O dear and future vision
   that eager hearts expect!
   Even now by faith I see thee,
   even here thy walls discern;
   To thee my thoughts are kindled,
   and strive, and pant, and yearn.

11. Jerusalem, the only,
   that look’st from heaven below,
   In thee is all my glory,
   in me is all my woe!
   And though my body may not,
   my spirit seeks thee fain,
   Till flesh and earth return me
   to earth and flesh again.

12. Jerusalem, exulting
   on that securest shore,
   I hope thee, wish thee,
   sing thee, and love thee evermore!
   I ask not for my merit:
   I seek not to deny
   My merit is destruction,
   a child of wrath am I.

13. But yet with faith I venture
   and hope upon the way,
   For those perennial guerdons
   I labor night and day.
   The best and dearest Father
   who made me, and who saved,
   Bore with me in defilement,
   and from defilement laved.

14. When in His strength I struggle,
   for very joy I leap;
   When in my sin I totter,
   I weep, or try to weep:
   And grace, sweet grace celestial,
   shall all its love display,
   And David’s royal fountain
   purge every stain away.

15. O sweet and blessèd country,
   shall I ever see thy face?
   O sweet and blessèd country,
   shall I ever win thy grace?
   I have the hope within me
   to comfort and to bless!
   Shall I ever win the prize itself?
   O tell me, tell me, Yes!

16. Strive, man, to win that glory;
   toil, man, to gain that light;
   Send hope before to grasp it,
   till hope be lost in sight.
   Exult, O dust and ashes,
   the Lord shall be thy part:
   His only, His forever
   thou shalt be, and thou art.

That's way too many verses for people to sing at one time! At least now, anyway. But it makes for good devotional reading...
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

We intend to communicate

One of the strongest claims of the [relevance] theory is that humans, by producing utterances, have the intention to communicate, a claim that is important when considered from a literary background in which deconstruction has reigned supreme. Relevance theory also provides a theoretical underpinning for human strategies of communication and, in addition, for the miscommunication that frequently occurs.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 117

<idle musing>
That's the end of this short little book. I hope you learned something—or at least were reminded of things you already knew.

Next up is a book a friend of mine gave me just prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. It sat on my bookshelf, but then a while ago, I read something somewhere that reminded me that I own the book. So, I picked it up and began to slowly read through it. I hope you enjoy it. The name of the book is —The Holy Longing, by Ronald Heiser.
</idle musing>

For all the saints, who from their labor rest

527 Sarum. 10. 10. 10. 10. with Allelulias.
      (second tune) Sine Nomine. 10. 10. 10. with Allelulias.

1 For all the saints who from their labors rest,
   Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
   Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

2 Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
   Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
   Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

3 Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
   Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
   And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

4 O blest communion, fellowship divine,
   We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
   Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

5 And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
   Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
   And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

6 From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
   Through gates of pearl, streams in the countless host,
   Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
   Alleluia! Alleluia!
                         William W. How
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
We always sang the second tune, the name of which always struck me as funny; sine nomine means "without a name," which by naming it means it isn't without a name any longer. Anyway, I was surprised to find that it is only in about 530 hymnals. Some add another two verses:

6 But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
   The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
   The King of glory passes on His way.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

8 The golden evening brightens in the west;
   Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest.
   Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
   Alleluia! Alleluia!

</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A summary of a few Greek particles

I append here a brief summary of my suggestions for these particles:

Ἵνα introduces a potential state of affairs;
Ὅτι by contrast introduces an actual state of affairs, from the perspective of the speaker;
Ὡς alerts the reader to expect a representation that may not in fact be a true state of affairs;
Καίπερ constrains the logical relations possible with participles;
Γάρ supports previous material
While οὖν asserts the relevance of new material.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 98

The transforming power of the gospel (Tozer for Tuesday)

If the gospel does not change a man, transform him and take the evil out of him, then he does not have the gospel in power. The gospel is a transforming power; otherwise you have a name to live and you are dead.—A.W. Tozer, Reclaiming Christianity, 102

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand

523 Varina. C. M. D.

1 On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
   And cast a wishful eye
   To Canaan's fair and happy land,
   Where my possessions lie.
   There gen'rous fruits that never fail,
   On trees immortal grow;
   There rocks and hills, and brooks and vales,
   With milk and honey flow.

2 All o'er those wide extended plains
   Shines one eternal day;
   There God the Son forever reigns,
   And scatters night away.
   No chilling winds, nor pois'nous breath
   Can reach that healthful shore;
   Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
   Are felt and fear'd no more.

3 When shall I reach that happy place,
   I'll be forever blest?
   When shall I see my Father's face,
   And in his bosom rest?
   Fill'd with delight my raptur'd soul
   Would here no longer stay;
   Tho' Jordan's waves around me roll,
   Fearless I'd launch away.
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition
                         Samuel Stennett

<idle musing>
This popular hymn usually breaks the verses above into six verses instead of three. There is also another verse that is sometimes inserted:

2 O the transporting rapt'rous scene,
   That rises to my sight!
   Sweet fields array'd in living green,
   And rivers of delight!
The 1987 Methodist Hymnal also ends each verse with a chorus:
   I am bound for the promised land,
   I am bound for the promised land;
   oh, who will come and go with me?
   I am bound for the promised land.
His bio (linked above) contains this statement, which although probably true isn't exactly what I would hope any bio of me would say if I were a hymnwriter!
His poetical genius was not of the highest order, and his best hymns have neither the originality nor the vigour of some of his grandfather's. The following, however, are pleasing in sentiment and expression, and are in common use more especially in Baptist congregations (a list of hymns follows)
</idle musing>

Monday, April 22, 2024

More on οὖν

The procedural instruction that the particle οὖν gives is: ‘this is still relevant’! In other words it encourages the reader to proceed with the text in the belief that the new information is pertinent and directly related to what has gone before. This is particularly necessary if there has been a small digression, as frequently (but not always) happens before the introduction of οὖν.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 96

Sound familiar?

The “mobilizing passions” of fascism: (1) a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions; (2) the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it; (3) the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external; (4) dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences; (5) the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary; (6) the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny; (7) the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason; (8) the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success; (9) the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.—Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Knopf, 2004), 219–20.

<idle musing>
Let those who have ears, hear! Note the date of publication, over ten years before #45.
</idle musing>

It singeth low in every heart

521 Auld Lang Syne. C. M. D.

1 It singeth low in every heart,
   We hear it each and all;
   A song of those who answer not,
   However we may call.
   They throng the silence of the breast;
   We see them as of yore,
   The kind, the true, the brave, the sweet,
   Who walk with us no more.

2 ’Tis hard to take the burden up,
   When these have laid it down;
   They brightened all the joy of life,
   They softened every frown.
   But, O ’tis good to think of them
   When we are troubled sore;
   Thanks be to God that such have been,
   Though they are here no more!

3 More homelike seems the vast unknown
   Since they have entered there;
   To follow them were not so hard,
   Wherever they may fare.
   They cannot be where God is not,
   On any sea or shore;
   Whate’er betides, Thy love abides,
   Our God, for evermore.
                         John W. Chadwick
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
This hymn only occurs in sixty-four hymnals. Most versions break the verses into two halves—hence the Methodist hymnal's "D" in the meter, which means doubled.
</idle musing>

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Abide with me

520 Eventide. 10. 10. 10. 10.

1 Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
   The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide
   When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
   Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

2 Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
   Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
   Change and decay in all around I see;
   O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

3 I need Thy presence ev'ry passing hour;
   What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's pow'r?
   Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
   Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

4 I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
   Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
   Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
   I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

5 Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
   Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
   Heav'n's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
   In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
                         Henry F. Lyte
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Servant of God, well done!

518 Mornington. S. M.

1 Servant of God, well done!
   Thy glorious warfare's past;
   The battle's fought, the race is won,
   And thou art crowned at last.

2 With saints enthroned on high,
   Thou dost thy Lord proclaim,
   And still to God salvation cry,
   Salvation to the Lamb!

3 O happy, happy soul!
   In ecstasies of praise,
   Long as eternal ages roll,
   Thou seest thy Saviour's face.

4 Redeemed from earth and pain,
   Ah! when shall we ascend
   And all in Jesus' presence reign
   With our translated friend!
                         Charles Wesley
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Not one of Wesley's more popular hymns, occurring in about 80 hymnals. As usual with hymns by Wesley, there are more verses. Cyberhymnal adds these:

2. Of all thy heart’s desire
   Triumphantly possessed;
   Lodged by the ministerial choir
   In thy Redeemer’s breast.

3. In condescending love,
   Thy ceaseless prayer He heard;
   And bade thee suddenly remove
   To thy complete reward.

4. Ready to bring the peace,
   Thy beauteous feet were shod,
   When mercy signed thy soul’s release,
   And caught thee up to God.

8. Come, Lord, and quickly come!
   And, when in Thee complete,
   Receive Thy longing servants home,
   To triumph at Thy feet.

</idle musing>

Friday, April 19, 2024

Context, context, context

[Concerning οὖν] As with the other particles, we do not interpret utterances by deciphering a code, but by a process of inferencing which may use semantic concepts but which then draws out implications from contextual and encyclopaedic information. Putting it simply, it is not the ‘meaning’ of individual words that give understanding of utterances, but the whole background of shared knowledge between speaker and hearer as well as the surrounding narrative.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 96

Lord, it belongs not to my care

516 St. Agnes. C. M.

1 Lord, it belongs not to my care
   whether I die or live:
   To love and serve Thee is my share,
   And this Thy grace must give.

2 If life be long, I will be glad
   That I may long obey:
   If short, yet why should I be sad
   To soar to endless day.

3 Christ leads me through no darker rooms
   That He went through before;
   He that into God's kingdom comes
   Must enter by this door.

4 Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
   Thy blessed face to see;
   For if Thy work on earth be sweet,
   What will Thy glory be?

5 My knowledge of that life is small:
   The eye of faith is dim;
   But 'tis enough that Christ knows all
   And I shall be with Him.
                         Richard Baxter
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I wasn't aware that Richard Baxter wrote any hymns, but it appears he wrote about two dozen, this being the most popular one, occurring about 240 hymnals. The American Lutheran Hymnal omits our verse 2 and inserts a different verse later:

4 There shall we end our sad complaints
   And weary, sinful days;
   And join with the triumphant saints
   That sing Jehovah's praise.
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 18, 2024

But is it true?

When something is presented as a ‘state of affairs’ it does not necessarily mean that it is true, but that the speaker is presenting it as true. The speaker may himself believe that the statement is true but be mistaken in that belief. ὅτι was dealt with earlier when considering the way in which humans represent the words of others, but it is worth mentioning again here. It is clearly related to the use of ἵνα, but in this context it guides a hearer in interpreting what follows as an actual, rather than a potential, state of affairs.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 81 (emphasis original)

I'll praise my Maker, whilst I've breath

513 Old 113th (Lucerne). 6. 8. 8. 8. 8. 8.

1 I'll praise my Maker, whilst I've breath;
   And, when my voice is lost in death,
   Praise shall employ my nobler pow'rs.
   My days of praise shall ne'er be past
   Whilst life and thought and being last,
   or immortality endures.

2 Happy the man, whose hopes rely
   on Israel's God, who made the sky
   and earth and seas with all their train.
   His truth for ever stands secure,
   He saves th' oppress'd, he feeds the poor;
   And none shall find his promise vain.

3 The Lord pours eye-sight on the blind;
   the Lord supports the fainting mind
   and sends the lab'ring conscience peace;
   He helps the stranger in distress,
   the widowed and the fatherless,
   and grants the pris'ner sweet release.

4 I'll praise him, while he lends me breath;
   And, when my voice is lost in death,
   Praise shall employ my nobler pow'rs.
   My days of praise shall ne'er be past
   Whilst life and thought and being last,
   or immortality endures.
                         Isaac Watts
                         Alt. by John Wesley
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I always find it ironic that John Wesley put in the foreword to his hymnals that no one was to tamper with the words of any song he or Charles had written—yet he was only too ready to modify the work of others!

This hymn has a couple of other verses. I'm not sure how much is original to Watts and how much is Wesley's alterations. You can research to your heart's delight by going here.

2 Why should I make a man my trust?
   Princes must die and turn to dust;
   Vain is the help of flesh and blood;
   Their breath departs, their pomp and power
   And thoughts all vanish in an hour,
   Nor can they make their promise good.

5 He loves his saints, he knows them well,
   But turns the wicked down to hell;
   Thy God, O Zion ever reigns:
   Let every tongue, let every age,
   In this exalted work engage:
   Praise him in everlasting strains.

</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Actual vs. potential state of affairs (Greek)

The particle ὅτι may be usefully regarded as operating in a manner parallel to that of ἵνα but giving procedural instructions to a reader or hearer to read the following text as describing an actual state of affairs, rather than the potential one ἵνα introduces. In simple terms, ὅτι introduces a description of a situation, Whereas ἵνα introduces a potential situation: what the speaker or subject wants to see happening or thinks should be happening. Here the mood of the verbs in the corresponding clauses supports this analysis with the indicative indicating ‘fact’ — as presented by the speaker or subject — and the subjunctive indicating potentiality.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 80 (emphasis original)

O God of love, O King of peace, Make wars throughout the world to cease (hymn)

511 Theodore. L. M.

1 O God of love, O King of peace,
   Make wars throughout the world to cease;
   The wrath of sinful man restrain,
   Give peace, O God, give peace again.

2 Remember, Lord, Thy works of old,
   The wonders that our fathers told,
   Remember not our sin's dark stain,
   Give peace, O God, give peace again.

3 Whom shall we trust but Thee, O Lord?
   Where rest but on Thy faithful word?
   None ever called on Thee in vain,
   Give peace, O God, give peace again.

4 Where saints and angels dwell above
   All hearts are knit in holy love;
   O bind us in that heavenly chain,
   Give peace, O God, give peace again.
                         Henry W. Baker
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
A very good hymn for our times!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Those Greek particles

There are some small words in Greek that are very helpful guides in interpreting the phrases or clauses that they introduce. Traditionally, they have been read as if they have a fixed lexical meaning, and this has led to some difficult translations both logically and theologically, in which a theological agenda has been pinned on a fixed lexical meaning that the language cannot sustain. Relevance theory deals with such words as giving procedural instructions to a reader or hearer to process the following phrase, clause or sentence in a certain way. In other words, it constrains the range of possible meanings and gives clues to the reader about the communicative intention of the author. The assumption is that these are present in the text to make something ostensive.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 71

Who owns whom? (Tozer for Tuesday)

As long as we imagine that we own anything, that thing will curse us. As soon as we know that we own nothing, it is God’s. That is what happens to a man when he becomes a Christian.—A.W. Tozer, Reclaiming Christianity, 101

Come Peace of God, and dwell again on earth

510 Pax. 10. 10. 10. 10.

1 Come Peace of God, and dwell again on earth.
   Come, with the calm that hailed Thy Prince's birth.
   Come with the healing of Thy gentle touch.
   Come, Peace of God, that this world needs so much.

2 Break every weapon forged in fires of hate.
   Turn back the foes that would assail Thy gate:
   Where fields of strife lie desolate, and bare,
   Take thy sweet flow'rs of peace and plant them there.

3 Bring selfish lives from shadowlands of loss,
   Into the radiance of the Savior's Cross.
   Where in that gift so precious, yet so lone,
   Life finds its brotherhood and love its throne.

4 Come! blessed peace, as when, in hush of eve,
   God's benediction falls on souls who grieve:
   As shines a star when weary day departs.
   Come! Peace of God, and rule within our hearts.
                         May Rowland
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I don't recall ever singing this hymn, but I love the sentiments of it—and we especially need this prayer—because it really is a prayer more than a hymn—answered in our world right now.

It wasn't surprising to me that this hymn isn't very popular—peace hymns rarely are. But I was surprised that it only occurs in five(!) hymnals.
</idle musing>

Monday, April 15, 2024

How to recognize irony

It is the fact that there is no linguistic marker to introduce irony which makes its identification so difficult. The playwright Tom Stoppard is quoted as saying that there should be a typeface for irony since readers so often fail to recognise it and thereby either misunderstand the speaker’s words or regard him as a liar! The need for irony to be recognised is obvious: if we attribute to a speaker thoughts or opinions that he does not hold then we are misrepresenting him, and in biblical text this is very serious.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 54–55

In Christ there is no east or west

507 St. Peter. C. M.

1 In Christ there is no east or west,
   in him no south or north,
   but one great fellowship of love
   throughout the whole wide earth.

2 In Christ shall true hearts ev’rywhere
   their high communion find.
   His service is the golden cord
   close binding humankind.

3 Join hands, then, people of the faith,
   whate’er your race may be.
   All children of the living God
   are surely kin to me.

4 In Christ now meet both east and west,
   in him meet south and north.
   All Christly souls are joined as one
   throughout the whole wide earth.
                         John Oxenham
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I've always loved this hymn—yes the tune fits it well, but the theology of it, the broad expanse of inclusion speaks of the wideness in God's mercy, grace, and love. I was surprised to see that it's only in about 325 hymnals.

I also didn't know that John Oxenham is a pseudonymn for William Arthur Dunkerly.
</idle musing>

Sunday, April 14, 2024

God the omnipotent!

505 Russian Hymn. 11. 10. 11. 9.

1 God, the Omnipotent! King who ordainest
   Thunder Thy clarion, and lightning Thy sword!
   Show forth Thy pity on high where Thou reignest;
   Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

2 God, the All-Merciful! earth hath forsaken
   Meekness and mercy, and slighted Thy word;
   Let not Thy wrath in its terror awaken;
   Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

3 God the All-rightous One! man hath defied Thee;
   Yet to eternity standeth Thy word
   Falsehood and wrong shall not tarry beside Thee;
   Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

4 So will Thy people, with thankful devotion,
   Praise Him who sav’d them from peril and sword!
   Shouting in chorus, from ocean to ocean,
   Peace to th’nations and praise to the Lord!
                         Henry F. Chorley
                         John Ellerton
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
What a mess this hymn is! For being a relatively recent hymn and only in 200 or so hymnals, it seems every hymnal has a different set of verses and arranges them differently. Further, I haven't been able to figure out how John Ellerton is associated with the hymn.

Despite all that, it seems a very appropriate prayer/hymn for our times, although I couldn't help but see the irony in the tune being titled Russian Hymn!
</idle musing>

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Break, day of God, O break!

504 Darwall. 6. 6. 6. 6. 8. 8.

1 Break, day of God, O break!
   The night has lingered long,
   our hearts with sighing wake;
   we weep for sin and wrong:
   O bright and Morning star, draw near;
   O Sun of Righteousness, appear.

2 Break, day of God, O break!
   The earth with strife is worn;
   the hills with thunder shake,
   hearts of the people mourn:
   break, day of God, sweet day of peace,
   and bid the shout of warriors cease.

3 Break, day of God, O break,
   like to the days above!
   Let purity awake,
   and faith, and hope, and love.
   But lo! We see the brightening sky;
   the golden morn is drawing nigh.
                         Henry Burton
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
And I thought yesterday's was relatively unknown! Today's only occurs in a paltry six hymnals. the author wrote quite a number of hymns, but none of them reached any level popularity. And once again, I don't recall ever singing this one. Maybe tomorrow's hymn will be better known!
</idle musing>

Friday, April 12, 2024

Understanding the intent of the author

The understanding that literalness is not normative opens the way for an acceptance of all utterance as ‘close’ or ‘loose’ resemblance, and a new appreciation of the role of metaphor, as well as echo and allusion, is an important insight in interpreting the communicative intention of an author or text.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 51

There’s a voice in the wilderness crying

503 Hereford. Irregular.

1. There’s a voice in the wilderness crying,
   A call from the ways untrod:
   Prepare in the desert a highway,
   A highway for our God!
   The valleys shall be exalted,
   The lofty hills brought low;
   Make straight all the crooked places,
   Where the Lord our God may go!

2. O Zion, that bringest good tidings,
   Get thee up to the heights and sing!
   Proclaim to a desolate people
   The coming of their King.
   Like the flowers of the field they perish,
   The works of men decay,
   The power and pomp of nations
   Shall pass like a dream away.

3. But the word of our God endureth,
   The arm of the Lord is strong;
   He stands in the midst of nations,
   And He will right the wrong.
   He shall feed His flock like a shepherd,
   And fold the lambs to His breast;
   In pastures of peace He’ll lead them,
   And give to the weary rest.

4. There’s a voice in the wilderness crying,
   A call from the ways untrod:
   Prepare in the desert a highway,
   A highway for our God!
   The valleys shall be exalted,
   The lofty hills brought low;
   Make straight all the crooked places,
   Where the Lord our God may go!
                         James L. Milligan
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musinging>
Well, I'm managing to keep with my tradition of choosing relatively unknown hymns! This one occurs in only about twenty-four hymnals! And I must admit, I don't recall ever actually singing it.
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Literalness is not normative or privileged

The book of Revelation raises huge interpretative issues, particularly in relation to what is considered to be literal and what metaphorical. In considering metaphor as ‘loose resemblance’ to what ‘John’ saw in a vision, we may be able to remove some of the difficulties with what appear to be polar opposites from a traditional standpoint. If we are able to view expressions such as ‘a third of the earth was burned up and a third of the trees were burned up and all the green grass was burned up’ as a loose resemblance indicating great destruction, then we are able to deal with the fact of the grass of the earth, plants and trees being spared destruction in the following chapter.

It is important to recognise that, contrary to what we may believe, literalness is not normative or privileged.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 40–41

Father, who art alone our helper

554 Samuel. 6. 6. 6. 6. 8. 8.

1 Father, Who art alone
   Our helper and our stay,
   O hear us, as we plead
   For loved ones far away,
   And shield with Thine almighty hand
   Our wanderers by sea and land.

2 O compass with Thy love
   The daily path they tread;
   And may Thy light and truth
   Upon their hearts be shed,
   That, one in all things with Thy will,
   Heaven’s peace and joy their souls may fill.

3 Guard them from every harm
   When dangers shall assail,
   And teach them that Thy power
   Can never, never fail;
   We cannot with our loved ones be,
   But trust them, Father, unto Thee.
                         Edith Jones?
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
This one only occurs in twelve hymnals and no one seems to know anything about the author, if indeed she is the author. But, there are additional verses in some hymnals:

2 For Thou, our Father God,
   Art present everywhere,
   And bendest low Thine ear
   To catch the faintest prayer,
   Waiting rich blessings to bestow
   On all Thy children here below.

5 We all are travelers here
   Along life's various road,
   Meeting and parting oft
   Till we shall mount to God,—
   At home at last, with those we love,
   Within the fatherland above.

</idle musing>

We've a story to tell to the nations

501 Message. 10. 8. 8. 7. 7. With Refrain.

1 We've a story to tell to the nations,
   That shall turn their hearts to the right;
   A story of truth and mercy,
   A story of peace and light,

   For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
   And the dawning to noonday bright;
   And Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth,
   The kingdom of love and light.

2 We've a song to be sung to the nations,
   That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
   A song that shall conquer evil,
   And shatter the spear and sword. [Refrain]

3 We've a message to give to the nations,
   That the Lord who reigneth above
   Hath sent us His Son to save us,
   And show us that God is love. [Refrain]

4 We've a Saviour to show to the nations,
   Who the path of sorrow has trod,
   That all of the world's great peoples
   Might come to the truth of God. [Refrain]
                         "Colin Sterne"
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
A good premillennialist hymn! I remember hearing it on Christian radio growing up. A daily syndicated teaching ministry used it as their theme song. I don't recall what the ministry was (and an internet search came up empty), but the tune is engraved in my head. I also don't recall ever singing it in church.

Incidentally, "Colin Sterne" is the pen name of H. Ernest Nichol, which is why it is in scare quotes (the scare quotes are original in the Methodist hymnal).
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Representative, not verbatim

Sperber and Wilson point out that ‘direct quotations are the most obvious examples of utterances used to represent not what they describe but what they resemble." This needs to be constantly borne in mind, since the expectation of exact resemblance is a modern notion. Even when direct speech is marked as such by textual punctuation, expectations of faithful representation are a modern phenomenon. The lengthy speeches found in the works of Thucydides, Xenophon and others are most unlikely to have been represented in the exact form in which they were spoken, although Polybius, criticising other historians, claims that he was reporting what was actually said.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 30

See how great a flame aspires

500 Culford. 7. 7. 7. 7. D.

1 See how great a flame aspires,
   Kindled by a spark of grace!
   Jesus' love the nations fires,
   Sets the kingdoms on a blaze;
   To bring fire on earth He came,
   Kindled in some hearts it is;
   O that all might catch the flame,
   All partake the glorious bliss!

2 When He first the work begun,
   Small and feeble was His day;
   Now the word doth swiftly run,
   Now it wins its widening way;
   More and more it spreads and grows,
   Ever mighty to prevail,
   Sin's strongholds it now o'erthrows,
   Shakes the trembling gates of hell.

3 Saw ye not the cloud arise,
   Little as a human hand
   Now it spreads along the skies,
   Hangs o'er all the thirsty land;
   Lo! the promise of a shower
   Drops already from above;
   But the Lord will shortly pour
   All the Spirit of His love!
                         Charles Wesley
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
As usual for a Wesley hymn, there is another verse:

3 Sons of God, your Saviour praise!
   He the door hath opened wide;
   He hath given the word of grace,
   Jesus' word is glorified;
   Jesus, mighty to redeem,
   He alone the work hath wrought;
   Worthy is the work of Him,
   Him who spake a world from nought.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

How do we get there?

What relevance theory aims to do is not to produce better interpretations than actual hearers or readers do, but to explain how they arrive at the interpretations they do construct, whether successfully or unsuccessfully.—D. Wilson, “Relevance and the Interpretation of Literary Works,” UCL Working Papers in Linguistics, 2011, 69–80, cited in —Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read,28

Tozer for Tuesday

The Holy Spirit shifts his interest into a new sphere—the kingdom of God. The love life shifts from self to God; he is dedicated now to the honor of another. He was once dedicated bitterly to his own honor, but now he is dedicated to the honor of God. And he is changed in this too. He used to desire social approval. He wanted to be approved by the people, and now that has all changed. He desires to be approved by God Almighty.

As long as a man is a natural man, he wants to be popular with the crowd; but when he is born new, he says, “I don’t care so much now about the crowd, but I want to stand approved of God. I want God to say in that day ‘this is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased’; and I can well afford to stand the angry attacks of the people if I can only keep right with God.”—A.W. Tozer, Reclaiming Christianity, 100

Lord, while for mankind we pray

499 Manoah. C. M.

1 Lord, while for mankind we pray
   of every clime and coast,
   O hear us for our native land,
   the land we love the most.

2 O guard our shores from every foe,
   with peace our borders bless;
   with prosperous times our cities crown,
   our fields with plenteousness.

3 Unite is in the sacred love
   of knowledge, truth and Thee;
   and let our hills and valleys shout
   the songs of liberty.

4 Lord of the nations, thus to Thee
   our country we commend;
   be now her refuge and her trust,
   her everlasting friend.
                         John R. Wreford
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Seems an appropriate prayer for this period in history. Some hymnals modify verse 3 extensively and insert a verse.

2 Our fathers' resting places here,
   and here our kindred dwell,
   our children too: how should we love
   another land so well?
</idle musing>

Monday, April 08, 2024

Hey! It works!

The truly wonderful thing about RT [relevance theory] is that it works! It is actually true to human behaviour and expectations, in describing how we not only make sense of words and phrases, but also body language. Furthermore, it gives a very good account of the way in which communication may fail and this is true not only to personal experience, but to the many examples in the biblical text.https://wipfandstock.com/9781532603679/a-relevant-way-to-read/ —Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 26

O Lord, our fathers oft have told

498 St. Anne. C. M.

1 O Lord, our fathers oft have told,
   In our attentive ears,
   Thy wonders in their days perform'd,
   And in more ancient years.

2 ’Twas not their courage, nor their sword,
   To them salvation gave;
   ’Twas not their number, nor their strength
   That did their country save.

3 But thy right hand, thy pow'rful arm;
   Whose succor they implor'd—
   Thy Providence protected those,
   Who thy great name ador'd.

4 As thee, their God, our fathers own'd,
   So thou art still our King;
   O therefore, as thou didst to them,
   To us deliv'rance bring.

5 To thee, the glory we'll ascribe,
   From whom salvation came;
   In God our shield we will rejoice,
   And ever bless thy name.
                         Psalm XLIV
                         Tate and Brady, 1698
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Sunday, April 07, 2024

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand

496 National Hymn. 10. 10. 10. 10.

1. God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
   Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
   Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
   Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

2. Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
   In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
   Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay,
   Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

3. From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
   Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
   Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
   Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

4. Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
   Lead us from night to never ending day;
   Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
   And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
                         Deaniel C. Roberts
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I always loved the trumpet blasts at the beginning of this hymn. It was a great processional, waking you up and jolting you to pay attention. I was surprised to find that it's only in 414 hymnals, though.

Another thing that is obvious in this particular section of the hymnal is that the Methodist Church was never considered a "peace church." The rampant glorification of going to war for your country in this section is nauseating to me. It permeates what would otherwise be very good hymns to the point where it negates their goodness. YMMV, of course.
</idle musing>

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Christ for the world we sing!

481 Kirby Bedon. 6. 6. 4. 6. 6. 6. 4.

1 Christ for the world we sing!
   The world to Christ we bring,
   With loving zeal;
   The poor, and them that mourn,
   The faint and overborne,
   Sin-sick and sorrow-worn,
   Whom Christ doth heal.

2 Christ for the world we sing!
   The world to Christ we bring,
   With fervent prayer;
   The wayward and the lost,
   By restless passions tossed,
   Redeemed at countless cost,
   From dark despair.

3 Christ for the world, we sing;
   The world to Christ we bring
   With joyful song;
   The new-born souls, whose days
   Reclaimed from sin’s dark ways,
   Inspired with hope and praise,
   To Christ belong.

4 Christ for the world we sing!
   The world to Christ we bring,
   With joyful song;
   The new-born souls, whose days,
   Reclaimed from error's ways,
   Inspired with hope and praise,
   To Christ belong.
                         Samuel Wolcott
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Friday, April 05, 2024

But it's supposed to make sense!

Humans assume that what is being addressed to them makes sense and they will either struggle until they find a relevant interpretation, or give up the attempt if the effort is greater than the potential interpretation.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 24

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun

479 Duke Street. L. M.

1 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
   does its successive journeys run,
   his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
   till moons shall wax and wane no more.

2 To him shall endless prayer be made,
   and praises throng to crown his head.
   His name like sweet perfume shall rise
   with every morning sacrifice.

3 People and realms of every tongue
   dwell on his love with sweetest song,
   and infant voices shall proclaim
   their early blessings on his name.

4 Let every creature rise and bring
   the highest honors to our King,
   angels descend with songs again,
   and earth repeat the loud amen.
                         Isaac Watts
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
This Watts hymn is in over 1700 hymnals and some insert a verse after verse 3:

4 Blessings abound where'er he reigns:
   the prisoners leap to lose their chains,
   the weary find eternal rest,
   and all who suffer want are blest.
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Language as underdetermined

When we say that language is underdetermined, we are asserting that humans do not say everything they ‘mean’ but only what is ‘relevant’. A speaker does not have to spell out every single detail of his potential communication. To do so would make communication overloaded and so be less relevant to the hearer.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 12

Eternal God, whose power upholds…

476 Everyland, No. 1. C. M. D.

1 Eternal God, whose power upholds
   Both flower and flaming star,
   To whom there is no here nor there,
   No time, no near nor far,
   No alien race, no foreign shore,
   No child unsought, unknown:
   O send us forth, Thy prophets true,
   To make all lands Thine own!

2 O God of love, whose Spirit wakes
   In every human breast,
   Whom love, and love alone, can know,
   In whom all hearts find rest:
   Help us to spread Thy gracious reign
   Till greed and hate shall cease,
   And kindness dwell in human hearts,
   And all the earth find peace!

3 O God of truth, whom science seeks
   And reverent souls adore,
   Who lightest every earnest mind
   Of every clime and shore:
   Dispel the gloom of error’s night,
   Of ignorance and fear,
   Until true wisdom from above
   Shall make life’s pathway clear!

4 O God of beauty, oft revealed
   In dreams of human art,
   In speech that flows to melody,
   In holiness of heart:
   Teach us to turn from sinfulness
   That shuts our hearts to Thee,
   Till all shall know the loveliness
   Of lives made fair and free!

5 O God of righteousness and grace,
   Seen in the Christ, Thy Son,
   Whose life and death reveal Thy face,
   By whom Thy will was done:
   Inspire Thy heralds of good news
   To live Thy life divine,
   Till Christ has formed in all mankind
   And every land is Thine!
                        Henry H. Tweedy
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Well, I'm on a roll here; this one only occurs in 53 hymnals! The author wrote a few other hymns, but they were even less popular. He also was a professor of homeletics at Yale in the early 1900s.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

As much, and no more

Put briefly and in colloquial terms, relevance causes us to say as much as we need to and no more. Too much information is a distraction. Relevance is also the principle that guides our interpretation of the speaker’s attitude to the information which he is communicating.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 10

O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling

475 Tidings. 11. 10. 11. 10. with Refrain

1 O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling,
   To tell to all the world that God is Light,
   That He who made all nations is not willing
   One soul should perish, lost in shades of night.

   Publish glad tidings,
   Tidings of peace;
   Tidings of Jesus,
   Redemption and release.

2 Behold how many thousands still are lying,
   Bound in the darksome prison-house of sin,
   With none to tell them of the Savior's dying,
   Or of the life He died for them to win. [Refrain]

3 Proclaim to every people, tongue, and nation
   That God, in whom they live and move, is Love;
   Tell how He stooped to save His lost creation,
   And died on earth that we might live above. [Refrain]

4 Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious;
   Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;
   Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious;
   And all your spending Jesus will repay. [Refrain]
                         Mary A. Thomson
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Go to the link on the bio for the story behind this hymn. As usual, there are more verses; cyberhymnal adds these two:

4. ’Tis thine to save from peril of perdition
   The souls for whom the Lord His life laid down:
   Beware lest, slothful to fulfill thy mission,
   Thou lose one jewel that should deck His crown. [Refrain]

6. He comes again! O Zion, ere thou meet Him,
   Make known to every heart His saving grace:
   Let none whom he Hath ransomed fail to greet Him,
   Through thy neglect, unfit to see His face. [Refrain]

</idle musing>

Come let us use the grace divine

540 St. Martin's C. M.

1 Come let us use the grace divine,
   And all with one accord,
   In a perpetual cov'nant join
   Ourselves to Christ the Lord:

2 Give up ourselves through Jesu's pow'r,
   His name to glorify;
   And promise in this sacred hour,
   For God to live and die.

3 The cov'nant we this moment make
   Be ever kept in mind;
   We will no more our God forsake,
   Or cast these words behind.

4 We never will throw off his fear,
   Who hears our solemn vow;
   And if thou art well pleas'd to hear,
   Come down and meet us now.
                         Charles Wesley
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Hymnary.org adds some verses:

5 Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
   Let all our hearts receive!
   Present with the celestial host,
   The peaceful answer give!

6 To each the cov'nant blood apply,
   Which takes our sins away;
   And register our names on high,
   And keep us to that day.

</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

The principle of relevance

In spoken or written communication the main principle that creates successful communication is the principle of relevance. The speaker assumes that a hearer listens to what he has to say because she is interested in it: it has relevance for her. That may seem to be overstating the position of the hearer, but in fact we do not merely throw words at one another; those words do relate to situations, contexts in which both speaker and hearer share a common body of knowledge. Humans do not make remarks, or even signs, without an assumption that the hearer will increase her knowledge by listening, or will be able to reassess some information previously held. We listen because we expect relevance, even though we might not articulate it as such. This does not necessarily, or even usually, involve a conscious process, but even a superficial consideration of why we communicate with one another involves the belief that the listener will have some interest in what we have to say. This might not be the perspective of the hearer, or necessarily be of benefit to the hearer, but it will be relevant to her. Even those situations in which a speaker wants to obtain information may give some relevance to a hearer. On many occasions fear makes us unwilling to ask a question, or to ask for help, because of the inferences which the hearer will draw from such a request. The hearer may not want to hear what a speaker has to say but that does not thereby deny its relevance.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 4

Tozer for Tuesday

If Jesus Christ cannot change me; if my Christianity is not real; if the problem I face is not a real problem; if it does not mean heaven, hell, death and the grave; then I do not want to be wasting my time with it at all. I would rather take a walk and listen to the birds sing than listen to any man preach who tries to smooth me down or to put up a problem that does not exist and play with it. That is what is going on all the time.

The giveaway of this religious word game is that a person says he is fundamentally different, but the same old principles motivate the life.—A.W. Tozer, Reclaiming Christianity, 97–98

O holy city, seen of John

474 Ford Cottage. 8. 6. 8. 6. 8. 6.

1 O holy city, seen of John,
   where Christ, the Lamb, doth reign,
   within whose foursquare walls shall come
   no night, nor need, nor pain,
   and where the tears are wiped from eyes
   that shall not weep again.

2 Hark, how from men whose lives are held
   more cheap than merchandise,
   from women struggling sore for bread,
   from little children's cries,
   there swells the sobbing human plaint
   that bids thy walls arise.

3 O shame to us who rest content
   while lust and greed for gain
   in street and shop and tenement
   wring gold from human pain,
   and bitter lips in blind despair
   cry “Christ hath died in vain!”

4 Give us, O God, the strength to build
   the city that hath stood
   too long a dream, whose laws are love,
   whose crown is servanthood,
   and where the sun that shineth is
   God’s grace for human good.

5 Already in the mind of God
   that city riseth fair:
   lo, how its splendor challenges
   the souls that greatly dare;
   yea, bids us seize the whole of life
   and build its glory there.
                         Walter Russell Bowie
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

Monday, April 01, 2024

An intention to communicate

I would suggest then that the very fact of creating a text for public view implies that the writer has an interest in making something manifest to someone other than himself. He is indicating his intention to communicate. This may seem trite, but it is a necessary presupposition to any attempt to interpret an utterance. If a writer has the intention to communicate, then the effort of interpretation is not a futile one. It may not be successful, but it is certainly worth the effort. Authorial intention has been regarded as an irrecoverable notion in recent scholarship, but given the communicator’s ‘intention to inform’ it is a legitimate exercise to attempt to find clues to such intention in the speech or text, even if there is no certainty.—Margaret Sim, A Relevant Way to Read, 2

King of the city splendid

473 Beloit. L. M.

1 King of the city splendid,
   Eternal in the height,
   May all our country's cities
   Be holy in Thy sight:
   Cleansed from the deeds of darkness
   Cities of light.

2 Inspire the sons of labour,
   That honest toil may be
   Their token, in life's hardness,
   Of loyalty to Thee.
   That Thou mayst in their hand-work
   Love's heart-work see.

3 Teach love to gladden children
   Who know not childhood's mirth,
   Wronged of their rights no beauty
   In their scant reach of earth:
   To hope's large sunshine give them
   A second birth.

4 Lord, end the spell of passion,
   Break Thou the drunkard's lure:
   Thou art the one Physician
   The human heart to cure;
   The wavering will to strengthen,
   Foul life make pure.

5 Soon may our country's cities
   Thy robe of glory wear:
   Each place of toil a temple,
   Each house a home of prayer:
   Each city's name of beauty
   The Lord is There!
                         George T. Konster
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
Well, I sure know how to pick them! This one only occurs in nine hymnals! I don't recall ever singing it, and it definitely has a pre-Holocaust/WW II feel to it with the hope of millennialism (the author passed away in 1912, so pre-WW I, which was the death of many premillennial hopes). Nonetheless, I think of it as a prayer that God will bring about his kingdom.
</idle musing>