STLT#24, Far Rolling Voices

Far rolling voices of the sea chant loud upon the shore.
They tell the ancient mystery of God forever more.

Newborn, the sun in glory rides across the heav’nly fields.
The starry host in silence bides and to the morning yields.

White seabirds wheel against the sky, companioned with the dawn.
God, lift our winging souls on high, share in creation’s morn.

Your universal waters sweep upon the endless strands.
Your love and mercy ever keep asurge in all thy lands.

Far rolling voices of the sea chant loud upon the shore.
They tell the ancient mystery, O God, forevermore.

This was another hymn I have never heard – I suspect many stay away from it not only because of unfamiliar intervals more prevalent in Eastern music, but also because it is constructed differently, with two variations on verses and a third, middle verse (more like a bridge) suddenly in 3/4 time to the regular 4/4 of the piece. And while I suspect many a music director has said ‘we’ll have the choir sing it’ – even that doesn’t happen, as the minister chooses other more familiar (read: Western) hymns.

It’s a shame, because while I haven’t gotten the full effect from plunking out notes on my keyboard app, it is not difficult to sing – it is an intriguing, haunting tune that echoes beautifully the themes of the lyrics. So many times we long for mystery in our hymns, things sung in minor keys that leave the questions open and draw us to wonder – and here is one, just begging for us to wrap our arms around it as we enter the ancient mystery, the starry host, the universal waters.

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