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 – 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
Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place,
Words: David J Evans
Tune: Be Still
CCLI - 1073121
This week’s hymn is a contemporary hymn which was written in 1986 by British composer David Evans (b.1957). He has written many worship songs, however Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord is the most well-known. It has become very popular both at Holy Trinity and around the UK with it being voted number one of Holy Trinity’s Top Ten Hymn’s in September 2018 and voted number nine, also out of ten, in a poll of the UK’s Favourite Hymns by Songs of Praise in September 2019.
David Evans was very involved in contemporary worship but felt that it had been largely oblivious to the awesomeness of God’s presence within it, which is why he decided to write this hymn. It is said that his main inspiration when writing the words was Exodus 3:1-6 which is the story of Moses and the burning bush; however it contains many biblical references throughout.
The tune he wrote to go with the words is called Be Still which he himself describes as a simple tune. The simplicity of the tune fits well with the more reflective outer verses. The climax, however, is definitely line three of verse two, ‘How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light!’, which we build up to throughout the verse before calming down for a much more reflective last verse. That is how we interpret it at Trinity anyway!
Billy Colbourne – Assistant Organist