This week's selection of traditional and modern hymns includes Martin Luther's great hymn A mighty fortress is our God, to mark Reformation Day on 31 October. There's also an arrangement for brass band of the Lutheran hymn Now thank we all our God, and the Choir of St Paul's Cathedral, London, sings Charles Hylton Stewart's beautiful setting of Psalm 23.
SONG: A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
Artist: Cambridge Singers, City of London Sinfonia Brass, John Rutter (dir)
Words/Music: Luther/Luther arr Rutter
Recording: Collegium 880126
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.
SONG: HOPE IS OUR SONG
Artist: Viva Voce, John Rosser (dir), Michael Bell (piano)
Recording: NZ Hymnbook Trust 941300
Nothing, nothing in all creation
can separate us from the love of God.
Nothing, nothing in all creation
can separate us from the love of God.
This is our faith: trouble may break us,
grief overtake us, sickness and death,
this is our creed: no place so distant
God is not present, knowing our need,
Powers of our day, angel and devil,
danger and evil make their own play;
God's love is sure, unseen but seeing
heart of our being, comfort and cure,
Never alone, though human error,
turmoil or terror shake every bone,
hope is our song: hope that is joyous,
born with Christ Jesus, where we belong,
SONG: LORD OF ALL HOPEFULNESS
Artist: Choir of Wells Cathedral, Malcolm Archer (dir), Rupert Gough (organ)
Recording: Hyperion 112105
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, At the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, At the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, Your arms to embrace.
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, At the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, At the end of the day.
SONG: PSALM 23
Artist: Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, John scott (dir)
Words/Music: Psalm 23/Charles Hylton Stewart
Recording: Hyperion CDP11002
The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
He shall feed me in a green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
He shall convert my soul, and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for his Name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me; thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen.
SONG: GOD IS LOVE: LET HEAV’N ADORE HIM
Artist: Choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, Denis Townhill (dir)
Recording: Priory PRCD 376
God is love: let heaven adore him;
God is love: let earth rejoice;
let creation sing before him,
and exalt him with one voice.
He who laid the earth's foundation,
he who spread the heavens above,
he who breathes through all creation,
he is love eternal love.
God is love, and is enfolding
all the world in one embrace;
with unfailing grasp is holding
every child of every race;
and when human hearts are breaking
under sorrow's iron rod,
that same sorrow, that same aching
wrings with pain the heart of God,
God is love: and though with blindness
sin afflicts and clouds the will,
God's eternal loving-kindness
holds us fast and guides us still.
Sin and death and hell shall never
o'er us final triumph gain;
God is love, so Love for ever
o'er the universe must reign.
SONG: WHEN IN OUR MUSIC GOD IS GLORIFIED
Artist: Cathedral Choral Society, Washington National Cathedral)
Recording: Gothic G49112
When in our music God is glorified,
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried:
How often, making music, we have found
a new dimension in the world of sound,
as worship moved us to a more profound
So has the church, in spoken word and song,
in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue:
And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night
when utmost evil strove against the light?
Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight:
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may God give us faith to sing always:
SONG: COME, WE THAT LOVE THE LORD
Artist: Choir of All Saints Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, Thomas Forster (dir), Craig Phillips (organ)
Recording: Gothic 349074
Come, we that love the Lord,
and let our joys be known;
join in a song with sweet accord
and thus surround the throne.
Rejoice, give thanks and sing.
Let those refuse to sing
who never knew our God;
but children of the heavenly King
may speak their joys abroad.
The heirs of grace have found
glory begun below;
celestial fruits on earthly ground
from faith and hope may grow.
Then let our songs abound,
and every tear be dry;
we're marching through Emmanuel's ground
to fairer worlds on high.
SONG: NUN DANKET (Tune for Now thank we all our God)
Artist: Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Music: Johann Cruger
[arrangement for brass band]
Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.