Brother Sister Let me Serve You

During this time whilst we can’t sing together in worship we are aiming to post a different hymn each week. For some Sundays it will be the obvious hymn in Common Praise for a particular Sunday and a brief commentary – partly with reference to The Penguin Book of Hymns edited by Ian Bradley, The Nation’s Favourite Hymns by Andrew Barr or research on the internet – will be published with our hymn choice for the week. The words of the hymn will be provided alongside a recording of the hymn, courtesy of Lucy Colbourne at home whilst Lancaster University is in lockdown. This will have been recorded by Billy Colbourne (Assistant Organist) and includes use of his Hauptwerk organ also at home, with the sounds of Salisbury Cathedral’s organ.

Charles Pavey – Organist & Choirmaster

Brother, Sister, Let me Serve You

Brother, sister let me serve you, 
let me be as Christ to you; 
pray that I may have the grace to 
let you be my servant too. 

We are pilgrims on a journey 
and companions on the road; 
we are here to help each other 
walk the mile and bear the load. 

I will hold the Christ-light for you 
in the night-time of your fear; 
I will hold my hand out to you, 
speak the peace you long to hear. 

I will weep when you are weeping; 
when you laugh I'll laugh with you; 
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we've seen this journey through. 

When we sing to God in heaven 
we shall find such harmony, 
born of all we've known together 
of Christ's love and agony. 

Brother, sister let me serve you, 
let me be as Christ to you; 
pray that I may have the grace to 
let you be my servant too. 

Richard Gillard

Tune: Servant Song
Music: Richard Gallard arranged Betty Pulkingham

CCLI - 1073121










Hymn Commentary 

Written in 1977, The Servant Song as it was originally known, is one of the younger Hymns for the Week we have had at Holy Trinity.  It must be the week for youthfulness for this week’s Anthem for the Week, Like the murmur of the dove’s song, is five years younger than that.  It is also one of the rarer examples where the words and music were composed by the same person.

Brother, sister, let me serve you is an expression of the Christian call to community and friendship, marked by selfless service; walking alongside and bearing one another's joys, sorrows and fears.  The first verse to be written – on a scrap of paper – was the third verse, back in 1976.  The composer, Richard Gillard, recounted how he returned to that scrap of paper (which he had left in his guitar case) that winter and the remaining verses came quickly, although not in the same order we sing them today.  He has had little musical training but, from the age of seven began to play the ukulele and other similar instruments, often to accompany his own singing and learning by experiment.  It usually needed an expert to set out his songs and the arrangement published in Holy Trinity’s hymnal, Common Praise, is by Betty Pulkingham.  Born in 1928, she died in her native USA last year.

Richard Gillard was born in Malmesbury, Wiltshire in 1953.  The eldest of six children, he emigrated to New Zealand with his family when he was three years old.  Living on the northern island, his faith background is a mixture of the Anglican Church on his mother’s side of the family and the Pentecostal Church on his father’s.  Regarding the hymn he says it "was first published in 1978 on a record album by Scripture in Song called "Father Make Us One".  He says he prefers “the down-to-earth groundness of a guitar accompaniment and a simple folk-song treatment.  But I let go of it long ago and have very little to say any more.  And that’s as it should be.”

Although not explicit in The Servant Song, there is a biblical focus which comes from Matthew 20:26b-28: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Charles Pavey - Organist & Choirmaster


Anthem for the Week

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