Wednesday, August 23, 2006

O That I Had a Thousand Voices

I credit my friend Charles Roberts, Minister of Music at FBC in Hartsville, SC for pointing me to this song. The old hymn text has been slightly modified (but only slightly) by Tim Sean Youmans to make it easier to sing in a more modern style. The result is a quite pleasant and effective expression of praise in the same historic tradition as Isaac Watts and the Wesleys in a modern acoustic folk music style. I love it when people do this!

Here’s the lesson: We don’t throw something out just because it’s old … and we don’t disregard something just because it’s new. We look at it. We study it. We listen for the voice of God.

A link to an mp3 of the song is here:

Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices
by Johann Mentzer, 1658-1734

Oh that I had a thousand voices
praise my God with thousand tongues!
My heart, which in the Lord rejoices,
Would proclaim in grateful songs
To all, wherever I might be,
Great things God has done for me
Oh, that I had a thousand voices ...

All the powers that God implanted,
Keep the silence now no more;
Put forth the strength that God has granted,
Noble work is to adore.
Soul and body, join to raise
Heartfelt joy our Maker’s praise!
Oh, that I had a thousand voices ...

Forest leaves so green and tender,
Dance for joy in summer air;
Meadow grasses, bright and slender;
Flowers so fragrant and fair;
Live to show God’s praise alone,
Join to make His glory known.
Oh, that I had a thousand voices ...

Creatures that have breath and motion,
Throng the earth, the sea, the sky,
Share with me my heart's devotion,
Help me to sing praises high,
My utmost powers can never quite
Declare the wonders of His love
Oh, that I had a thousand voices ...

Creator God, humbly I ask you
Listen to my earthly song;
Till that day when I adore you
When I have joined the angels throng
And have learned with the choirs in heaven
To sing anthems to my God
Then I shall have a thousand voices ...

That's enough to think about for now.


Blogger Tim Sean said...

Morris. Thanks for the kind words. I sometimes check my trackbacks to where people are coming from to visit my site and lo and behold, there's that Mentzer tune I was fidlling with over here at Momo's Mumblings. Thanks for the link.

The melody is making it's way around the country! I had a nice e-mail from an Episcopalian in Ohio, of all places, who told me he used the recording for a meditation at a youth retreat. Kinda cool, I thought.

Love to know where you're writing from, what part fo the country and all. Drop me an e-mail. Peace.

9:15 PM  

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