I am thrilled to have been given a new hymn and a poem from Philip Garside who is a publisher (contact information below for those who are looking!)
Let me first give you background information on both pieces from his letter and follow with the hymn lyrics, the text of the poem and finally the music.
From Philip:The hymn, Loving God of Aotearoa, was written for the induction service of Rev Desmond Cooper when he became President of the Methodist Church here in 2010. Desmond liked Holst’s tune but was looking for less patriotic/militaristic words.
Here is an explanation of the Maori words in the hymn.
Aotearoa is the the name for this country.
Rimu is a forest giant tree, a type of native red pine
Tui is a melodious song bird
Matariki is the Maori New Year, celebrated in winter, when the Matariki constellation of seven stars rises above the horizon. The constellation is also known as the Pleiades and Subaru.
Matariki offers a chance for a new start each year and is linked, in my mind, to the biblical concept of Jubilee
All vowel sounds in Maori are soft. There is a guide to pronouncing Maori here: http://www.maorilanguage.net/how-to-pronounce-maori/
People in other countries may like to substitute their own local words/concepts for Aotearoa, rimu, tui and Matariki.
While retaining copyright to the words, I am very happy for churches, choirs and others to freely copy and sing the hymn, with acknowledgement.
The poem Healing of the Nations was written as a response Revelation 22:2, as prompted by the Living the Questions study course which we took part in at church last year.
I also had in mind the scene in The Lord of the Rings where Aragorn uses the crushed leaves of kingsfoil to heal. And also the laying of wreaths at ANZAC Day ceremonies, similar to Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day in other parts of the world.
Loving God of Aotearoa
1. Loving God of Aotearoa,
hear now our call to you,
We have gathered in your presence,
to celebrate anew!
Yes, we come from many places,
speaking, thinking differently,
But in you we are united,
one whole, strong family.
Let us heed your call to service
and follow lovingly,
May we be compassionate people,
alive in you and free.
2. Scripture tells of faithful people,
who spread your light and love.
Now inspire, lead, direct us,
so we can be like them.
May the Way that Christ has taught us,
and the power of your Word,
Set a fire burning in us,
for justice and for love.
3. Rimu tall, with tui singing,
proclaim your majesty,
You who care for all creation,
will always care for me.
Matariki’s spirit guide us,
rise within us all the year.
Help us live and speak forgiveness,
your people want to hear.
Words: Philip Garside 2010. http://www.pgpl.co.nz
May be copied freely with acknowledgement.
Hymn dedicated to Rev Desmond Cooper.
Tune: Thaxted (I vow to thee my country).
Healing of the Nations
With laurel leaves
the winners crowned
Olympian effort applauded
With laurel leaves
the emperor crowned
power and force rewarded
How then to crown
the Lord of Life
the Saviour long-expected?
With sharp, hard thorns
was Jesus wreathed
prophecy and love contorted.
A laurel ring
past wars recalled
the fallen dead remembered
Crushed, healing herbs
dressed wounds and hurts
bodies whole again
Lest we forget
the dying sun
green shoots, new life
1 June 2014
A response to Revelation 22:2b,
as prompted by the Living the Questions study course