Thought for the Day by Peter Hemming (St Chad’s)
Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord.
If you are not familiar with Mary’s song of praise, having agreed to have ‘God’s baby’, the ‘Magnificat’ (My soul doth magnify the Lord from Evensong), you may find it helpful to read it here: it’s from verses 46–55 of Luke 1.
I, along with many of my generation, grew up with a lot of the familiar hymns and carols. ‘O God our help in ages past’, ‘While shepherds’, ‘Once in Royal’. It was a breath of fresh air therefore when Timothy Dudley Smith and others started to write new hymns and Christmas Songs for the church. “I did not think of myself,” wrote Dudley-Smith in 1984 “as having in any way the gifts of a hymn-writer when in May 1961 I jotted down a set of verses, beginning ‘Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord.’ I was reading a review copy of the New English Bible New Testament, in which that line appears exactly as above; I saw in it the first line of a poem, and speedily wrote the rest”. Even better, (then,) were ‘new’ tunes that did not depend on a church organ, and Michael Baughan did a great, (if now dated,) job of setting many new songs to new music.
‘Woodlands’, the tune we use, I learned at school, and it goes well on the organ at St. Chad’s. It gives a good energy to the music: and I was particularly pleased with the arrangement I made for our former music group.
We are encouraged to ‘Tell out – the greatness of the Lord, His Name, His might and the glories of His Word’. In the same way that Mary ‘praised the Lord’ in the Magnificat, we can also be sure of God’s greatness, that His Name and Power are still important and that His Word, be that Jesus and/or the Bible, hold great significance to us as believers. And telling is not something we are good at. We are happy to sing about it but witnessing to (telling) others about what God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit has done for us is much harder!
My prayer is that we would each engage with God in a way that helps us have something to really sing and talk about!
Tell Out my Soul – Lyrics Video (but don’t forget to ‘skip the ads’ that appear on these you-tube videos!)