April 3, 2013

Praying through Hymns | Fresh as the Morning

This is part of a series focus on intentionally praying through and reflecting on hymns, instead of just deafly singing the lyrics. 

I first heard Fresh as the Morning for a vespers service at a Regional Youth Conference. I was involved in planning the conference, but not in the musical aspects. I remember being skeptical of a hymn and wanted something more upbeat, instead of something that made your mouth ache with it's slow tempo. Well, after singing through a sacred evening worship - I quickly became a believer...falling in love with the lyrics and music of this beautiful hymn.
base image // source

It's comforting to sing over and over again - "God always faithful, you do not change." Also, this hymn doesn't give a pronoun to God, which I just feel elevates God's...Godliness. The idea that God surpasses our created constructs of gender is just one that fills me with so much inner peace at how God is so without limits...

Fresh as the Morning (God of the Bible)
Words by Shirley Erena Murray | Music by Ron Klumsmeier

God of the Bible, God in the Gospel,
hope seen in Jesus, hope yet to come,
you are our center, daylight or darkness,
freedom or prison, you are our home.

Fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise,
God always faithful, you do not change.

God in our struggles, God in our hunger,
suffering with us, taking our part,
still you empower us, mothering Spirit,
feeding, sustaining, from your own heart.

Those without status, those who are nothing,
you have made royal, gifted with rights,
chosen as partners, midwives of justice,
birthing new systems, lighting new lights.

Not by your finger, not by your anger,
will our world order change in a day,
but by your people, fearless and faithful,
small paper lanterns, lighting the way.

Hope we must carry, shining and certain,
through all our turmoil, terror and loss,
bonding us gladly, one to the other,
till our world changes, facing the Cross.

There aren't many renditions of this hymn on the internet. Go figure. The above video is a lovely rendition from a Church in Arizona that played it for Easter service.

May God bind us, one to another,
Until our world changes, facing the cross. 



  1. Favorite hymn - no contest. It was first introduced to me at NYAC 2008 by Shawn Kirchner. It quickly became our impromptu theme hymn of the week.

    Shirley Erena Murray is from New Zealand. Her hymns exude themes of peace and social justice. She has a lot of stuff in the Mennonite supplements. Check out more written from her! Other favorites of mine: Touch the earth lightly (1094, hymnal supplement) and For everyone born (check it out here: http://www.hymnary.org/text/for_everyone_born_a_place_at_the_table)

    Her lyrics are fantastic, use inclusive language for God, feminine imagery - stuff you don't often see in hymns. I have an appreciation for most hymns, but it's nice to sing something that steps out of the norm.

  2. beautiful. some of my favorite worship songs are the ones that literally just read through psalms. And old hymns can't be beat. something about singing words from generations past.

  3. There is so much lovely in this post! I want to make a paper lantern.

  4. Thanks Katie, I have wanted to hear this hymn sung. This was so helpful. I enjoyed your commentary as well.