I was included in the loop of a series of emails from church musicians who had attended a music symposium in Florida. They all seemed to agree that there was a dearth of hymn poetry on the theme of unity and oneness in the body of Christ as explored by Paul in Ephesians 2:11-22. I began reading the passage, cross-referencing, and gathering phrases, words, and ideas. In December of 2009, when what the Bible means about confessional unity had been wrenched from the theoretical to the wincingly real and immediate in our lives, the following lines came together as if I had been given a poetical/theological spinal block--painlessly, at least while writing the hymn.
While listening to a sermon on the text "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, but to God the things that are God's," I began furiously jotting down a flood of ideas for this hymn. My wife at times scowls at me during a worship service when I begin doing this; she thinks it might be a bad example to the children. I explain to her (later, not during the service) that it's just my version of taking notes on the sermon. I don't think she entirely buys this, but I'm imminently satisfied with it. Readers of the Crown & Covenant Trilogy will hear hints and allusions reminiscent of the grand struggle of Covenanters to uphold the Crown Rights of the Redeemer in his Kirk.
New Reformation Hymn by Douglas Bond based on Isaiah 6 and the 7 stages of the order of Christian worship rediscovered in the Protestant Reformation.
New Reformation Hymn by Douglas Bond based on the five Solas of the Reformation, with refrain inspired by Calvin's personal seal, "My heart I offer thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely."
Paul Jones, Music Director, organist, and composer at Tenth Presbyterian, Philadelphia, and I collaborated on this hymn, he providing the excellent musical composition, and I the poetry. It's based on the five "solas" of the Reformation, sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, with a refrain based on John Calvin's personal seal, "My heart I offer thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely." The audio is Paul conducting his Tenth Pres choir from the organ--the man's brilliant!
Creator God, our Sovereign Lord, by Douglas Bond, is written in quatrains of iambic Long Meter with a developing refrain arranged in an 8.6 couplet in iambic meter. The five stanzas are organized around the five theological priorities of John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation, expressed in Latin as, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria, and in English as the Bible alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, to God alone the glory. The refrain makes parallel references to these five solas, and also alludes to Calvin’s inscription on his personal seal, Cor meum tibi offero, Domine, prompte et sincere, or in English, “My heart I offer thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.”