One of our most beautiful hymns is #18, “What Wondrous Love Is This.” This tune is based on a folk melody in The Southern Harmony, by William Walker, published in 1835. Michael Tacy, Music Director at The Gathering at Northern Hills, has put together a rendition that is peaceful and meditative. Please enjoy listening to this new version of a familiar hymn. If you want to sing along, the lyrics are on the video.
Enjoy the YouTube video, What Wondrous Love Is This
Our featured hymn is #163. Les Tacy, Music Director, gives an introduction to the hymn, then plays and sings it with Steph Tacy on viola in the background.
Enjoy the YouTube video, For the Earth Forever Turning.
Our featured hymn is #131, “Love Will Guide Us,” one of our favorites at Heritage.
This version features the quartet of, starting in the upper left corner and moving clockwise: Bob Booth, Jaime Castle, Joan Stoffregen, and Les Tacy. The video is produced by Steph Tacy. The tune is named Olympia, after Olympia Brown, the first woman to be fully ordained by a national denomination in America, the Universalist Church.
This hymn asks us to lead with love. That is, let love be our guide. When we do that, we have a greater impact on the world and those around us.
Enjoy the YouTube video, Love Will Guide Us.
Our UU Hymn is performed by Les and Steph Tacy.
Kimberley Debus, author of the blog “Farfringe.com,” communicated with the author of this hymn, Mary Grigolia, and was given this lovely origin of Hymn 396:
“I wrote this song when I was in seminary, taking a class on death and dying. Our assignment was to write our eulogy. I thought and thought of what to say, what not to say. And decided that as a songwriter, I needed to say it in music.
“After I decided I would write a song for my project/paper, I set the perfect ambiance: prepared a tray with journal and pen, tea and healthy snacks, went outside into the perfect afternoon, to sit under the Meyer lemon tree in my backyard, ready for and courting inspiration. I spent several hours journaling and grateful for the beauty of the afternoon. And no music came. None. Not a note. And I realized the hubris of the ego saying it would write the song. Scooping up everything, accepting the folly of my presumption, as I was balancing the tray, coming through the door (yes, a literally liminal experience), I realized I was singing something under my breath. And it was the whole round. Complete.
“What I take from the experience is the great responsiveness of the Universe/Spirit/Deep and Creative Self, when we allow ourselves to be present, to listen, to sing along, but not to assume we can control its scope or view.
“I Know This Rose is the answer to my invitation (to the deep Self). The way I hear/feel it, I am the rose; opening is in my nature. Even when it comes time to let go of this body practice, I know this rose will open.
“And although I may feel afraid of the changes, afraid of the unknown I can’t control, afraid of allowing the ego to follow the calling of something deeper, I know those fears will burn away (in the fire of transformation, this very physical practice of loving and living and letting go).
“And as my fear burns away, I know, I trust that the wings of my heart, my soul, will unfurl their (my) wings.
“Yes, I know this rose will open. I am the rose. We are all the rose. Opening.
“May we all trust in the opening!”
Enjoy the UU Hymn I Know This Rose Will Open.
Our hymn is “Blessed Spirit of My Life,” #86, by Shelley Jackson Denham. This is a mediative version composed by Michael Tacy, Music Director at the Gathering at Northern Hills. As you can see, he has renamed it “The Prayer.” The reason for this can be found on Kimberley Debus Blog, “Notes from the Far Fringe,” which states, “The incredible Shelley Denham wrote this as a prayer, and called the tune ‘Prayer.’ And wow, what a prayer. It is gentle to self even as it calls for strength. It is a quiet prayer of preparation, of focus and stillness.”
You can listen to this and use it as a means to mediate and center yourself. The rain in the background is fitting for the beginning of spring.
Experience the YouTube video, Blessed Spirit of My Life.
This featured hymn was the very first Hymn of the Week, when Music Director Les Tacy started this effort in May 2020. Interestingly, the hymn was “‘Tis a Gift to be Simple,” and the video was done in simplicity as well with guitar and vocals. The song is #16 from our hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition.
Please sing along with the YouTube video ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple.
Our featured hymn is #134, Our World Is One World. Michael Tacy, Music Director at the Gathering at Northern Hills, has recorded this hymn with lyrics included. This hymn is a reminder that we are all connected, and optimism is important. But there is also a second message to this song – almost like a word of caution about how a person thinks and about how a person sees the world. For example, if a person seeks power and wealth at all costs, then everyone is affected. So, hopefully we take from this that we need to love, give, share, and build bridges. This hymn is written by Cecily Taylor.
Enjoy the YouTube video, Our World Is One World.
We invite you to open your hymnals to hymn #348, “Guide My Feet.” The words are also on screen in the video. This hymn is featured in honor of MLK day January 17, 2022.
The text is inspired from Psalm 119 of the Old Testament. It is a song calling for God’s guidance as we seek to walk a path that is difficult at times. As Kimberley Debus, author of the Blog Notes from the Far Fringe, farfringe.com, states: “Psalm 119 is a long lament to God for mercy. The writer is seeking protection. So, it is no wonder the enslaved Africans might have heard this psalm and wanted to ask for the same thing.”
A special thanks to Stephanie Tacy, who is the audio and video editor for all musical pieces performed by Les Tacy.
Enjoy the YouTube video Guide My Feet.