I’ve invited the Diocese of Oxford to dwell in the Word this year in two passages from Colossians (1.15-20 and 3.12-17). We are exploring what it means to be a more Christ-like Church, contemplative, compassionate and courageous for the sake of God’s world. I’m really appreciating reading these texts with a variety of groups as the weeks go by.

One of the verses in the second part of the passage says this: “Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God”.  The early Church catches the joy of the resurrection and creates new songs of praise. Some of these songs find their way into the New Testament.

Our first Colossians passage, 1.15-20 is one of those hymns or spiritual songs. It’s a profound and wonderful hymn to Christ.

I’ve tried to turn it into something that groups and congregations can sing together. Regular readers of this blog will know that each year I try and write a new hymn as the verse for our Christmas card.

The verses of the hymn are based on Colossians 1.15-20: praising Christ first for creation and then for salvation. The chorus sets this praise of Christ in a simple song of praise to the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The tune I have in mind is the Skye Boat Song. The chorus is meant to be sung to “Speed bonny boat like a bird on the wing”. The verses are sung to the slightly different tune of “Many’s the lad…”

I think it works best if you sing it fairly slowly. You are welcome to reproduce the words and have a go.

I have an idea it might work well as a piece sung in harmony by choirs as an anthem at Communion or at a quiet moment in the service. Let me know how you get on.

 

Praise to the Father, praise to the Son, Jesus our Lord and King
Praise to the Spirit, Holy and strong, lift up your hearts and sing.

Heaven and earth, land, sea and sky
Planets and stars and light
All things were made through Jesus Christ
Icon of love infinite

Praise to the Father…

All things exist in Christ the Lord
Christ was before all things
All things are held in Christ the Word
From Christ all new life springs

Praise to the Father…

Christ is the source, Christ is the head
The church is his body on earth
Christ above all raised from the dead
Calling us into new birth

Praise to the Father…

In him God’s life loves to abide
Calling the earth into one
Christ through the cross offered his life
Peace for creation is won

Praise to the Father, praise to the Son, Jesus our Lord and King
Praise to the Spirit, Holy and strong, lift up your hearts and sing.

Steven Croft, 2018
After Colossians 1.15-20
Suggested tune: The Skye Boat Song; repeat the chorus after each verse.

A set of three Bible studies for Lent is in preparation based on Bishop Steven’s addresses to the clergy conference earlier this year. We expect these to be available to order from store.oxford.anglican.org in January.

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