Music Notes for Seventh Sunday After Pentecost — July 7, 2024

Lord of All Hopefulness – Text: Jan Struther (1901-1953) / Music: Melody Irish trad.


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One of the finest of the “all day” hymns, this Sunday’s final hymn in church was written by Jan Struther and submitted to the editors of Songs of Praise in 1931, along with several other hymns. It was written to “Slane”, expressly to ensure the retention of that tune. Struther’s style is still contemporary, and her language, typically, abounds with vitality and optimism. Anglican priest and liturgist Percy Dearmer once referred to the hymn: “I am lately returned from a service of university students, who have speedily made it their favourite. It is indeed a lovely example of the fitting together of thought, words and music.”

Jan Struther was born in Westminster, London in 1901, and as early as 1917 she started contributing articles, poems, and short stories to periodicals. Her famous work was Mrs Miniver 1940, a novel about a typical English middle-class household just prior to World War II. During the war years the author and her two children lived in New York, where she was much in demand as a lecturer.

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Gerald Harder