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Tune in on Thursdays

Shared by Jan B.

“Seek, O seek the Lord” is probably my favourite hymn. We had it at our wedding and I will possibly have it at my funeral when the time comes. It was sung at our wedding at St Stephen’s Macquarie Street by the choir of Cleveland Street Boys’ High School where I was in charge of Music at the time.

It is not a long hymn but the words touch the heart – I particularly love the last two lines: How can we love God – and not each other? (in the original and in the Catholic Hymn books the last line reads “and not our brother”).

The hymn is written in a particular form for a particular reason. It is written in an antiphonal form which really means two choirs, but which can be thought of as verses with a repeated refrain or even ‘call and response’. The particular reason was that it was written, along with quite a lot of others, to introduce congregational singing into the Catholic Church following the liturgical reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Seek, O seek the Lord, while he is near;
trust him, speak to him in prayer
and he will hear.

1. God be with us in our lives,
direct us in our calling
break the snares the world contrives
keep us from falling.

2. God, increase in us the life
that Christ by dying gave us
though we faint in mortal strife
his blood will save us.

3. Strengthen in our hearts
the love we owe to one another
how can we love God above
and not each other?

TiS 464 music by Richard Connelly, words by James McAuley


I was first introduced to ‘Seek, O seek the Lord’ and Richard Connelly when as a young high school music teacher, I was invited to St Brigid’s Marrickville Church along with a close group of musician friends (mainly Catholic) to record an LP of ‘Songs for the Year of Grace’ a short book of songs written and produced by Richard Connelly.

All these songs were written to be sung with a cantor singing the verse and the congregation singing the antiphon or refrain. These were to be sung in English and not Latin. Catholic congregations were used to having the Mass sung in Latin and this was a very new concept. There are ten of Richard’s hymns in Together in Song and all except No.622 are in this form. Yvonne used one of them for the Easter period in the services leading up to Easter at Pilgrim last year.

***

May call and response be the rhythm of your day –
each moment an invitation 
to be open to God’s voice, 
to seek God’s face
and to dance in step with God’s Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Tune in on Thursdays

  1. I enjoy the music but especially appreciate Jan’s notes giving the item such context. It appeals to the social science and historical gene that exists in me. Geo

  2. I do not yet know the music of this hymn but the words are lovely, soothing, calming and challenging, perfect for this time. Thank you and I am praying for everyone.

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