Our Songs to You, Dear Lord, Begin
Joanne Harris Rodland/John Ferguson

Composer Joanne Harris Rodland, arr. John Ferguson
Text Thomas H. Troeger
SATB, organ, brass quartet
Topics Music, Worship
3' 45" Price $2.50 (U.S.)
Released 11/07
Catalog no. 410-643 Difficulty Mod. easy

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Our songs to you, Dear Lord, begin
by breathing deep the air.
The element that we draw in
your spirit blends with prayer.
From these two gifts of prayer and breath
all songs of faith arise:
our anthems, psalms, laments at death,
the cherished hymns we prize.

You do not listen from a-far
but join with us in song.
You know the hearts vast repertoire
and how we yearn and long
to give our speechless prayers a sound,
a rhythm, shape and aim,
a tune that bears the meaning found
beyond what speech can name.

The tears of grief our hearts withhold
through music find release,
assuring us that you enfold
our sorrow with your peace.
And praise and thanks too deep for words
through music find their voice:
the notes rise up like flocks of birds
that make the skies rejoice.

Direct your songs that trill and flow
through ev’ry liv-ing thing
to be the music that you sow
between the notes we sing
until each breath and prayer we blend
becomes through music’s art
a ladder that our hearts ascend
to reach and touch your heart.

--Thomas H. Troeger, © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

The text by Thomas H. Troeger celebrates the elemental cornerstones of worship, as breath gives way to song. The sturdy tune is varied with an evocation of "tears of grief" in the third stanza, before the final, joyous stanza. The brass quartet provides additional color to the organ accompaniment, making it suitable for Sundays celebrating music. It would also be an excellent choice for combined choir festivals as the tune and setting are easily learned.


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