Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Love Poetry, Hard Labor, and the Hymn (NRH 05)

NEW REFORMATION HYMN (NRH 05): If I Can Speak With Tongues of Fire (NRH 05) (Long Meter, LM, 
After singing one of very few poetic texts on I Corinthians 13 and feeling that there was so much left unearthed in the lines I was singing, I began working on the following. This hymn was intensely painful labor (with apologies to my darling wife and all mothers). Over months that became years, I have worked and reworked several versions, some shorter, and one considerably longer.

In another post I might share another hymn that is a recasting of a recasting of one of the recastings of this one (and still recasting), the hymn itself being a recasting of Paul's great text on love, which was Paul, under Divine inspiration, recasting a description of Jesus himself who is ultimate love personified.
Hymn poetry.      Musical score.   Musical score 2      Erfurt (score)     Audio.

If I can speak in tongues of fire
Yet fail to do what love requires,
I’m nothing—though high mountains move—
I’m nothing without perfect love.

I’m nothing if I try to hide
Resentment, envy, selfish pride.                      
I’m nothing—though high myst’ries find—  
If I’m not patient, humble, kind.
His heav’nly gifts God gives to me
So Christ’s perfected love I’d see
And know—and speak, and serve and give—
And in my holy Bridegroom live.

In faith and hope, love perseveres,
No anger and no rudeness hears;
Such lovingkindness—fully blessed—
Gives foretastes of eternal rest.

We see in part like children here,
A poor reflection in a mirror;
Yet in my heart I long to find
Love more by Jesus’ love refined.

Above I’ll know, as Christ has known,
How vast his love for sinners shown!
With eyes undimmed I’ll end my race
And gaze on Jesus face to face!
                            Douglas Bond, Copyright, December 28, 2007

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