All across the world tomorrow there will be a minimum rebellion and battle of wills when the vicar stands to announced the singing of one particular song.
Mr Davies (3rd seat in on the right hand side, 4th row from the front) will pointedly sing “Redeemer” in a loud deep voice whilst Mr Jones (aisle seat, front row directly looking down the vicars throat) will belt out “Jehovah” ensuring that the lovely stained glass windows rattle to the depth of his baritone voice.
Of course, I am talking about the great hymn “Guide me oh thou great….” (sung, of course, to the tune Cwm Rhondda)
It’s a hymn that is guaranteed to provoke a rumbling as people passionately sing out “the proper version” – and I am one of those. A Mr Jones to be precise.
Before I go further into some reasoning here I think I should explain, for the record, that the *original* lyric has always been “Jehovah” but the English Hymnal (and then Hymns Ancient and Modern) has always printed “Redeemer.
So why am I a Jones and not a Davies? It’s not actually to do with the authenticity of the lyric, although that does add nice weight to the discussion. There are hymns and songs where I can prefer a different wording or arrangement (Be Thou My Vision is my favourite hymn but there are about 20 different wordings and I like 1 specific group of verses for that). What this boils down to though is the *meaning* of the word.
Redeemer carries with it a great joy and freedom – representing what Christ has done for us.
Jehovah says so much more about the whole nature and character of The Trinity. It means a multitude of things, and expresses so much more.
meaning “The Lord thy sanctifier”
meaning “The Lord my shepherd”
meaning “The Lord who is present”
meaning “The Lord our healer”
meaning “The Lord our righteousness”
meaning “The Lord will provide”
meaning “The Lord our banner”
meaning “The Lord is peace”
meaning “The Lord of Hosts”
meaning “The God of Recompense”
Provider, sanctifier, healer, peace, present, shepherd and oh so many more – every time I sing it I am reminded of all the facets of our awesome God… And it means son much more when I do.
It’s easy sometimes to just sing the words we see in front of us – but it’s great to really delve into what they mean and discover the richness that a different time wording may well offer.
(boy do I miss Barbara F sometimes)