The Methodist blog has recently had this entry and I thank Judith Simms for drawing it to my attention
This is interesting but while the change of ‘welkin’ has been remarked on before I do not concur with Ted Campbell’s admiration for Whitfield. The amendment alters the meaning of the hymn as Wesley originally penned it. Firmament today would be better understood as ‘cosmos’. The word ‘cosmos’, creation, ringing is much more powerful and incarnationally significant than angel song. Charles Wesley write swiftly but chose words with great care. I wonder if we have his reflection on this amendment?
When the weeping of the nations
fills our hearts with holy dread,
when a virus rings with pity
those who cannot reach their dead,
God is in our consternation,
weeping by each sufferer’s bed.
Distanced, lacking human comfort,
no more in a mother’s arms,
fearful faces peer through visors
watching, even breathing harms,
knowing only humane kindness
brings the peace that heals, disarms.
God bring strength in human weakness,
give us grace that we might see
through the mists of mortal blindness
how to live through agony,
how through quiet compassion, silence,
we might mark our empathy.
Andrew Pratt 31/12/2020
Words © 2021 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England. http://www.stainer.co.uk.
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Tune: PICARDY Metre: 87 87 87
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 it die.
2 Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
for those that here we see no more;
ring out the feud of rich and poor,
ring in redress for humankind.
3 Ring out each slowly dying cause,
archaic forms of party strife;
Ring in a new regard for life,
with open borders, fairer laws.
4 Ring out false pride in birth and creed,
the civic slander and the spite;
ring in the love of truth and right
ring in the end of human need.
5 Ring out the curse of poverty.
Ring out the grasping lust of wealth.
Ring out those things that harm our health,
Ring out old wars, bring unity.
6 Ring in a time when all are free,
a time when none will fear to stand
when all are welcome in this land.
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) alt. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© 2014 Stainer and Bell Ltd.