Lord and lover of creation

Photo from https://alexmillerweddings.co.uk/

Today’s hymn from Sing Praise is “Lord and lover of creation” by John Bell and Graham Maule.  As John Hartley pointed out when deciding not to include it in morning prayer, it’s a wedding hymn, and more a prayer for the couple than for the singers.

The first verse asks God to bless the couple as they come together celebrating their common love.  The second verse gives thanks for the people and circumstances that brought them together, for sometimes it takes a dispassionate third person to help a couple realise what they see in each other.  The third verse is, in good Celtic tradition, a blessing on their home, and the last looks to a long future together, concluding with the warning echoing that of the priest’s traditional words that “none dare break or bind those your name has joined together”. 

As often in John Bell’s hymns there are some strikingly original phrases: “friends who touched and summoned talent”, “your children wed and welcome”, “health in home and hearts and humour”, “much to share and more to treasure”.

For once John Bell didn’t write his own tune to this, but picked a much older one ‘Westminster Abbey’, probably on the grounds that a wedding congregation would be much less likely than regular worshippers to be confident picking up a new tune. But with a bit of luck they might know this tune as ‘Christ is made the sure foundation’.

1 thought on “Lord and lover of creation”

  1. As Stephen said, I didn’t schedule this hymn for Morning Prayer – it is an “intercessions” hymn for a wedding, for the slot after the couple have made their vows and we are praying for them, and it only really makes sense if one has a particular couple in mind as one sings it. I suppose I could have asked everyone to think of a particular couple – but it is rather specific in its attitude of (for example) saying that this is a new chapter in their lives, suggesting that they are just about to set up home together, and that they are just embarking on the journey of growing in trust and commitment – so it wouldn’t really work for a couple who had already been married a dozen years or so and were simply renewing their vows.

    I felt the hymn’s mood was too reflective for the suggested tune “Westminster Abbey”, and for a variety of other well-known tunes of this meter, like “Regent Square” or “Rhuddlan” or “St Helen”. I did wonder about “Picardy” (also known as “French Carol”) which is often used for “Let all mortal flesh keep silent” or “Grafton”? In the Hymns for Today’s Church book I was rather drawn to the tune “Cotton Weaver (Lancashire Cottage)” and did embark on a re-write of the harmonies of that tune before making my decision not to sing it for Morning Prayer.

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