July 14, 2013

This Day, at Thy Creating Word

Fill Our Souls With Light Divine 

This Day, at Thy Creating Word was written in 1871 by the Anglican Bishop, William W. How (1823-1897). His sermons, books, and hymns are noted for their simple, warm, and direct nature in conveying the Gospel, that is in contrast to the often fiery or flowery rhetoric of other 19th century pastors. On a curious note: Bishop How is included as one of the characters in the 1977 play, The Elephant Man, (not the same as the movie). He is depicted as sympathetic to the social and spiritual welfare of John Merrick, 1862-1890 (the real-life Elephant Man) unlike others that see and treat Merrick as something less than human. In the Divine Office, This Day, at Thy Creating Word is sung to the tune Deus Tuorum Militum (Grenoble). First published in the Grenoble Antiphoner of 1753, this anonymous composition is one of the earliest French Catholic diocesan tunes that shows a departure in form from chant to a more congregational style. Another popular setting is to the tune, Winchester New as shown in the 2nd video). In the Divine Office it is sung with the Office of Readings.

Tune: Deus Tuorum Militum

THIS DAY AT THY CREATING WORD by William How, 1871 (Public Domain)

1. This day at thy creating Word
first o'er the earth the light was poured:
O Lord, this day upon us shine
and fill our souls with light divine.

2. This day the Lord for sinners slain
in might victorious rose again:
O Jesus, may we raisèd be
from death of sin to life in thee!

3. This day the Holy Spirit came
with fiery tongues of cloven flame:
O Spirit, fill our hearts this day
with grace to hear and grace to pray.

4. O day of light and life and grace,
from earthly toil sweet resting place,
thy hallowed hours, blest gift of love,
give we again to God above.

5. All praise to God the Father be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee,
whom, with the Spirit,
we adore forever and forevermore.

Tune: Winchester New

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