Father, Lord of All Creation

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

Father, Lord of All Creation

Father, Lord of all creation,
ground of being, life and love;
Height and depth beyond description,
only life in you can prove:
You are mortal life's dependence:
thought, speech, sight are ours by grace;
Yours is every hour's existence,
sovereign Lord of time and space.

Jesus Christ, the man for others
we, your people, make our prayer
help us love, as sisters, brothers
all whose burdens we can share
where your name binds us together
you, Lord Christ, will surely be
where no selfishness can sever
there you love the world may see.

Holy Spirit, rushing, bringing
wind and flame of Penteocst
fire our hearts afresh with yearning
to regain what we have lost.
May your love unite our action,
never more to speak alone:
God, in us, abolish faction,
God, through us, your love make known.

Stewart Cross

Tune: Abbot's Leigh
Music: Cyril Taylor descant John Wilson

CCLI - 1073121







Hymn Commentary 

This week’s Hymn for the Week is definitely one for Trinity with ‘Father’ in verse one, ‘Christ’ in verse two and ‘Holy Spirit’ with its ‘rushing, burning wind and flame of Pentecost’ in verse three – perhaps that’s why we have found a descant to go with the drama of this third verse.

The words of Father, Lord of all Creation were written by David Stewart Cross.  Born in 1928, he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and ordained in 1955.  From 1968 to 1976 he was a producer and broadcaster for BBC religious broadcasting at Manchester.  His time there included a TV Songs of Praise from Blackburn Cathedral – a diocese he would later serve as bishop from 1982 until his untimely death in 1989.  His career also took him to posts in Hexham, St Albans, Chorlton-in-Medlock (Inner Manchester) and Doncaster.  This hymn is his most well-known.  

The tune to Father, Lord of all Creation is Abbot’s Leigh.  A tune of the early 1940’s, it initially gathered its fame through the radio before being published in Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1950.  The composer was Cyril Taylor.  Born in Wigan in 1907, he was a chorister in Oxford from where he also graduated.  He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1932.  He too was involved with the BBC’s religious broadcasting department but much earlier in the century: 1939 to 1953. Subsequent posts were as Chaplain for the Royal School of Church Music, Vicar of Cerne Abbas in Dorset and Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral.  He contributed twenty hymn tunes to the BBC Hymn Book of 1951 and, as for Abbot’s Leigh itself, it shares its name with a village in North Somerset; one presumes that the tune was named after this place although I have found no evidence to substantiate this.  The composer died in Petersfield in 1992.

Charles Pavey - Organist & Choirmaster

Anthem for the Week

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