Come, Thou Fount of ev'ry blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee; May I still Thy goodness prove.
Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand'ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter Bind my wan-d'ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love,
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
Oh, that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in the blood-washed linen, How I'll sing Thy wondrous grace!
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry;
Take my ransom'd soul away;
Send Thine angels soon to carry Me to realms of endless day.
I have been wanting to share this as a song of the week for a while now. For a couple reasons. First I absolutely love this hymn and since we have gotten new hymnals at our church, they have included this hymn in it and we sing it more often. Then I got a piano solo version arranged by Brian Chung. I had gone to a workshop in Green Bay a couple years ago that he presented. I bought his books and ever since I have wanted to thank him for blessing me with his arrangements.
I got to meet up with him at the National Music Teachers Convention this past March and got to tell him personally. He is a very talented and humble man. He thought that I might be having trouble on another song in the book (I was) and he ran to a piano and showed me how it went. He said the editors went back and forth on it about the counting, but that it really wasn't that hard. I now have to learn For the Beauty of the Earth just because I was shown personally from the author of the arrangement himself!
Back to this song though. The reason I love this arrangement is how he mixed it with Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie. I don't know about you, but I first heard that song on a car commercial. I like the way he mixed the two. I don't think it was by accident. Gymnopedie has a kind of traveling sound, like you are moving through life at a peaceful pace. Probably why it was picked for the car commercial. When I first started practicing it, it reminded me of Psalm 1 which is about the way of the righteous. So the arrangement starts out just moving along peacefully and innocently. I also noticed after many times of playing it, that the melody is solo without any harmony. I don't know, but sometimes I feel like I am in charge on my walk with God and I am moving along at my own pace, innocent enough.
With the first verse of this hymn, the pictures that are drawn with words I think is what draws me to this hymn. Right away: Tune my heart to sing your praise. My heart needs tuning every day. And being a musician, it has maybe more meaning because you realize that tuning never stays. I just had my piano tuned the other day. It took 2 hours to work on the piano (well we talked too), but just knowing the constant tuning of any instrument gives you an awesome picture of God constantly tuning our hearts.
My favorite verse is verse 3 where it talks about binding us with God's grace like a fetter. I love the word pictures. And my favorite: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love. I guess when younger I thought walking with God was walking with God and you never strayed from that. But I have learned now that I'm older and getting a little wiser that we are the biggest deceivers of ourselves. In the piano solo, the music gets stormy - in the music it says to play with increasing passion. I believe this is matching the words of verse 3.
After playing it many, many times I wondered if the last section is written with a certain purpose. Either known or unknown by the author. As we learn to be bound to God and learn to walk with Him, it's still not perfect. The music goes into 4th's for harmony, which I have always considered pretty, but dissonant. I wonder if that is his way of portraying this. We are walking along, in step with God, slightly off but somehow making beautiful music together.
One more note on this. We sang this in church this week. Our Pastor's daughter is maybe 3 years old. She LOVES to sing. I have noticed there are certain hymns she loves and will belt them out at the top of her lungs. This is one of them. She can't read yet, but has many of the hymns memorized. If she doesn't know the words, she sings la la la. Loud. It fills me with so much joy to hear her singing without any reservations. Seems she has had her heart tuned to sing His praise!