Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Hymns from different Christian Traditions - 5

Here we have a photo of inside St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh - the High Kirk of the Church of Scotland. My word, how things have changed in recent years! This could almost be taken for a Catholic Church - we must rejoice how the different denominations are starting to become less suspicious of each other.

Our hymn from the Presbyterian tradition is the ever popular 'Immortal, invisible, God only wise.' It was written by Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908) who was Moderator of the Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland in its Jubilee year (1893). This hymn was a favourite of the late Cardinal Basil Hume. He would rarely sing a hymn during Mass - but always made an exception for this one!

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unrersting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest - to both great and small;
In all life thou liviest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish - but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of Glory, pure Father of Light,
Thine Angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
'Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

A truly great hymn. I'm sure Basil is bathing in the light right now!


John the organist said...

I'm sure he is. Great photo too! Did you see Songs of Praise about the organ on Sunday?

Peter Simpson said...

Yes, I did see it. Huw Edwards is quite a good organist! I shall be mentioning Malcolm Archer in my blog on Friday.