Lord for the Years

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

Lord for the Years

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided:
Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us:
Lord of the word, receive Your people's praise.

Lord, for our land in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care:
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world when we disown and doubt him,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain,
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without him:
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord for ourselves; in living power remake us -
self on the cross and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us:
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

Timothy Dudley-Smith

Tune: Lord of the Years
Music: Michael Baughen arr David Iliff

CCLI - 1073121





Hymn Commentary 

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b.1926, Manchester), the writer of the words for this week’s Hymn for the Week, hurriedly put the five verses together whilst on a train; and he wouldn’t have been the first to compose anything on a train or whilst waiting for one, me included.  I enjoy this hymn – but perhaps not for the right reasons – and it’s because of the third line in verse two: ‘teaches and trains’; teaching has been a life-long job and trains have been a lifelong passion, as it has for Billy, Assistant Organist too.  For better reasons than I have frivolously suggested above though, Lord, for the years is in fact, his favourite hymn.  It is also a favourite hymn of George Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury.  In his first sermon as an archbishop in 1991 he said: “The church is light years from many of the people I grew up with; woe to us if we preach religion instead of the gospel – that earthed gospel that takes us directly into the market place of the world.  

Lord for the Years is a hymn about nations and their problems but it is also a very bold hymn; also in verse two: ‘the word of life which fires us, speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze’.  Due to holidays, I am writing this a couple of weeks before the commentrary will be published and, at the same time, the Parish Profile, which we hope will attract our next incumbent, is currently going through the last stages of checking and presentation (Ginny, my wife is proof reading it before it goes to Billy to make it look as good as it reads)…how much we, at Holy Trinity hope for an incumbent that  leads us to the Lord who also will ‘in living power remake us’ (verse five).

Timothy Dudley-Smith has written over four hundred hymns.  Now retired as a bishop, he admits to being totally unmusical.  It was his friend and also a retired bishop, Michael Baughen (b. 1930, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire), who composed the tune which he called Lord of the Years.  The version of the music in Holy Trinity’s hymnal Common Praisewas arranged by David Iliff (b.1939, Margate), a previous organist at Malvern Priory.  And the hymn’s final crowning glory is that it one of Holy Trinity’s Top Ten!

Charles Pavey - Organist & Choirmaster

Anthem for the Week

Back to Hymn for the Week