Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hymn for Sunday - O for a heart to praise my God

I hate to admit it, but I have always sold this hymn short. I think it's because I've always heard it sung to the same tune as "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing" (which I heard first and more often) that I have considered it something of an also-ran.

But recently, there's been a personal reason to reconsider it. As I am beginning to see ever more clearly God's teaching on the importance of the heart throughout Scripture, the lyrics of this hymn are transformed from a set of disembodied words to a personal prayer.

O for a heart to praise my God

Words: Charles Wesley, 1742
Music: Stockton, Song 67, Holy Cross, Wetherby, Kilmarnock
Meter: CM

O for a heart to praise my God,
a heart from sin set free,
a heart that always feels thy blood
so freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
my great Redeemer's throne,
where only Christ is heard to speak,
where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
believing, true and clean,
which neither life nor death can part
from him that dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
and full of love divine,
perfect and right and pure and good,
a copy, Lord, of thine.

My heart, thou know'st, can never rest
till thou create my peace;
till of mine Eden repossessed,
from self, and sin, I cease.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
come quickly from above;
write thy new name upon my heart,
thy new, best name of Love.

(Taken from an entry located at the Oremus Hymnal. This work is in the public domain.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How People Use the Bible on the Internet

Spent a little (too much) time yesterday at Some interesting stuff. Think about the creativity of Google, and mash it up with the web-awareness of the Crossway folks, and you'll have some idea of what you'll find there.

They have a page that uses Google data to look at Twitter and Facebook to see how people are quoting the Bible. Fascinating technology.

There are other interesting pages as well. There's one that estimates the translation share on the web based on web searches. I'd love to see the companion to this--what translation people use when they are quoting.

Another one has visual cross-references. Since we're studying Romans at church, I compared Romans to the Bible as a whole. Not sure what I'm looking at, but I do think there's a future for this kind of thing--computer analysis of texts based on input from users. See, for example, a comparison of Hebrews and Leviticus. Or this one, comparing Song of Solomon to the Bible. (By the way, you can click on the graphic, and it links to a picture that you can download.)

Definitely something to watch for the future.

Projects like this redeem the internet. I love it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hymn for Sunday - Just As I Am, Without One Plea

Going through Romans on Sunday mornings at church, and also reading through John Stott's book "The Cross of Christ." God keeps bringing me face-to-face with what I bring to the table in salvation, which is nothing. I don't mind, because I need the reminders, and the more I wrestle with my own sinfulness, the more I can love my wonderful savior.

Those thoughts are what led me to this hymn.

Just as I am, without one plea
Words: Charlotte Elliott, 1841
Music: Woodworth, Saffron Walden, St. Crispin, Misericordia

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt;
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive;
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
has broken every barrier down;
now to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
the breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
here for a season, then above:
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

(Taken from an entry located at the Oremus Hymnal. This work is in the public domain.)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Bible Translations Revisited

I've been thinking for awhile about writing a series of articles about the Bible. Specifically, Bible translation. It's been a longtime passion of mine, and I've written snippets about it previously, but several things have coalesced that have made me want to revisit it more systematically. (Series are much easier to do now that blogs have tags available.)

With that said, since this is the kingdom, not competition, I'm thrilled to find out when someone is already working on this, especially when it is someone I know. I stumbled across my friend Kim Shay's blog entry about Bible translations, and it is just the sort of thing I'm thinking about writing. I commend it to you.

I am also working on revising my listing of bible copyrights into a full-blown discussion of them. Until it is finished, my original listing is available on my blog's copyright page, or as a downloadable PDF on scribd.

More to come...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hymn for Sunday - Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty

One of the things I've noticed recently in going through the Psalms is the pervasiveness of praise.

Consider this excerpt from Psalm 103:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

Bless the LORD, you angels of his,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
and hearken to the voice of his word.

Bless the LORD, all you his hosts,
you ministers of his who do his will.

Bless the LORD, all you works of his,
in all places of his dominion;
bless the LORD, O my soul.

(vs. 1,2,20,21,22)

This picture, of God's praise coming from everywhere—from within the psalmist, and from creation, high and low—reminded me of a stanza in the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty," where earth, sky, and sea all praise God.

The lyrics below were obtained from the Oremus Hymnal online, which lists more than 40 separate Anglican hymnals that contain this particular hymn.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty

Words: Reginald Heber (1783-1826), 1827
Meter: 11 12 12 10

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Holy, holy, holy! All saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

(Psalm quote adapted from The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, 1979 edition, obtained from The (Online) Book of Common Prayer. Lyrics for the hymn are from an entry located at the Oremus Hymnal. Both of these works are in the public domain.)