Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hymn of the Month -- Lead, Kindly Light

It is my guess that you'd have to be quite into church music to be very familiar with the hymn Lead, Kindly Light. At least it's not one that I have known well. I hear it in my head played on a big pipe organ and sung as a king of dirge. You may have a different experience with it than I, but this is what comes to mind when I retrieve it from my memory bank.

Lead, Kindly Light was written as a poem in 1833 by John H Newman and set to a tune by John B Dykes in 1865. In 2007 The Telegraph published a short but interesting story of the origin of the hymn.

I recently came across a re-write of the song by musician Audrey Assad. She's updated the words but kept to the intent of the original lyrics, and she's given it a new tune. It is one of the loveliest songs I've heard in a long time.

Lead, kindly light, amidst the grey and gloom
The night is long and I am far from home
Here in the dark, I do not ask to see
The path ahead -- one step enough for me
Lead on, lead on, kindly light.

I was not every willing to be led
I could have stayed, but I ran instead
In spite of fear, I followed my pride
My eyes could see, but my heart was blind
Lead on, lead on, kindly light.

And in the night, when I was afraid
Your feet beside my own on the way
Each stumbling step where other men have trod
shortened the road leading home to my God
Lead on, lead on,
my God, my God,
Lead on, lead on, kindly light

© Audrey Assad Inc (BMI) / Heavily inspired by Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman's poem of the same name>

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