I am a little bit excited to get to this hymn today.
First, because it’s just so beautiful. It’s sweeping and lush in its composition, and similarly sweeping and lush in its lyric. Written for Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia, Kim Oler captured something here that is a bit ineffable even as it is grounded and real.
Second, I love this hymn because of a memory I have of a fellow congregant at my home congregation in Saratoga Springs, NY. I don’t remember the service or my role in it, but I do remember Jane Root coming up to me afterwards, tears in her eyes, thanking us for doing this hymn because it was her favorite and made her cry every time. Which made me cry. To which we laughed and shared a deep connection for a moment.
Third, I can’t help but wonder if Peter Mayer was a little inspired to write “Blue Boat Home” (1064) because of this song – and I spent the five or so minutes between singing this and getting settled at my computer imagining a mashup of the two … and surprisingly, it works.
For the earth forever turning; for the skies, for ev’ry sea;
for our lives, for all we cherish, sing we our joyful song of peace.
For the mountains, hills, and pastures in their silent majesty;
for the stars, for all the heavens, sing we our joyful song of peace.
For the sun, for rain and thunder, for the seasons’ harmony,
for our lives, for all creation, sing we our joyful praise to Thee.
For the world we raise our voices, for the home that gives us birth;
in our joy we sing returning home to our bluegreen hills of earth.
This song is truly beautiful. Unlike some of the other hymns we sing that seem to be very ‘in your face’ about beauty, hope, and aspiration, this one gently entices you into a consideration of beauty, hope, and aspiration. More, it makes you feel part of it, not looking in at it. It’s so elegantly crafted that it in four short verses it entices and embraces and maybe changes us a bit.