Heaven’s heart is pulsing (website only)

Heaven’s heart is pulsing
to Creation’s hymn:
as the Father speaks, the
new world starts to sing.
Light and love are radiant -
everything is good.
All the world is ringing
with the song of God.

Say among the nations,
‘Let the earth rejoice,
for the Lord is worthy
of our highest praise’.

Golden on the hillside
shines the evening light.
All of heaven’s palette
shades the infinite.
Every life is marked as
God’s own work of art:
won, through cross and suffering;
saved and set apart.

Say among the nations,
‘Let the earth rejoice,
for the Lord is worthy
of our highest praise’.

Now Salvation’s rhythm
moves our feet and hands:
‘Do the works of justice’
is the Grace command.
Make us more than singers
in redemption’s choir,
so the lives around us
see our hearts on fire.

Say among the nations,
‘Let the earth rejoice,
for the Lord is worthy
of our highest praise’.

Words: © Gareth Hill 2011 Publishing/Song Solutions CopyCare, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, TN22 1QG www.songsolutions.org

Metre: 65.65.65.D (including refrain)

Suggested tunes: Written with “Rachie” and “Armageddon” in mind – set tunes for “Who is on the Lord’s Side” (Hymn & Psalms 722)

Ideas for use

Here is a hymn suitable for a wide range of contexts. It’s a possible harvest hymn, but also a broad hymn of praise. It’s a hymn that suggests the possibility of using all our creative energies (“feet and hands” as well as voices) to celebrate God’s presence in our world and lives – see for example ideas on the ArtServe website and cf. Teach me to dance to the beat of your heart (StF 477).

This is also a hymn with emphatically Methodist credentials, underlining God’s grace offered to all – not just to “those and such as those” (see below, and cf. Thou God of truth and love (StF 620); What shall I do my God to love (StF 436); There’s a wideness in God’s mercy (StF 416))

More information

"Golden on the hillside shines the evening light" © Depositphotos.com/chaoss

Though submitted to StF+ with the celebration of harvest in mind, Gareth Hill’s text responds to a far wider brief, namely God’s presence within all of creation and the consequent possibility of salvation for all people and created things.
He begins at the very beginning, with an opening verse that recalls the creation story in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 1: 1—31) – but which emphasises the sense that divine activity and celebration pre-dates the creation of the world in which we ourselves live. The “song of God” is pre-existent and we become participants in it.

If the evening light “golden on the hillside” with which v.2 begins reflects our most ideal image of an often less-than-ideal world, it is no less ideal than the Eden evoked in Genesis 2:10-14, which the first man (Adam) is required to farm and look after (Genesis 2:15). More importantly, Gareth’s idea that every life is God’s “work of art” and that everyone (not just a few) is “saved and set apart” reminds us of the traditional Methodist teaching: “All need to be saved, all may be saved, all may know themselves saved, all may be saved to the uttermost.”

Such good news comes with a demand: that we should speak and ‘be’ what we know to be true. Echoing Jesus’ “great commission” to his disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) we are required not only to respond to God’s love with praise but to be God’s spokespersons (“say among the nations…”, refrain) and God’s image (“so the lives around us see our hearts on fire”, v.3).

Gareth observers that, for him, verse 3 “is about responding to the Micah question: ‘What does the Lord require of you?’ (See Micah 6: 6-8).” And he adds: “I suspect, however, that many of my hymns begin with examining grace and then asking, ‘So what now?’.”

Categories: Creation and Providence, Hill, Gareth, Hymns only online (submit to stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk), Mission and Evangelism, Wholeness of Creation.

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