Another piece from our St John the Divine Choristers today, taken from our Advent Sequence service.
The words to the Anthem are:
We sing to God, whose wisdom form'd the ear,
Our songs, let Him who gave us voices, hear;
We joy in God, who is the Spring of mirth,
Who loves the harmony of Heav'n and Earth;
Our humble sonnets shall that praise rehearse,
Who is the music of the Universe.
And whilst we sing, we consecrate our art,
And offer up with ev'ry tongue a heart.
Text: Nathaniel Ingelo (1621-1683)
I'd never heard this song before the Advent Sequence. I was thinking about hope because Alastair had sent out a request for contributions to this blog, and two couplets in this anthem spoke to me of hope.
We joy in God, who is the Spring of mirth, Who loves the harmony of Heav'n and Earth
We don't often think of God in terms of "mirth". It's so easy to think of the divine as something serious and transcendent ... and yet, if we believe in the creative nature of the divine ... mirth and our ability to feel and express that delight comes from that same source.
I grew up in a church tradition that kept "Heav'n and Earth" very separate with a clear divide between the spiritual (aka the good) and the physical (aka the sinful flesh). Particularly as a queer person, it's one of the things I had to unlearn on my journey to finding my way back to faith. The picture of God who delights and finds harmony in the balance between heaven and earth, that for me is hope.
The second couplet are the closing lines.
And whilst we sing, we consecrate our art, And offer up with ev'ry tongue a heart.
What better reminder of hope than our ability to create and offer our creations, our very selves, back to the divine?