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To Know Christ and to Make Him Known

Aug. 16, 2020: “Londonderry Air” arr. by H. Sanders and “O Christ the Same”

Music Message for August 16, 2020 from Danny
(If you do not see the music icons/links within this post, please click on the Aug. 16, 2020 title/link above.)

“Londonderry Air” arranged by Herbert Sanders and “O Christ the Same”

This week I decided to look at the tune “Londonderry Air.” Like the tune “Slane” from a couple weeks ago, this tune is a hugely popular Irish folk tune—though this one is usually associated with secular lyrics.

The tune “Londonderry Air” comes from County Londonderry in Ireland and is popular with many in the Irish diaspora in America. The early twentieth-century lyrics “Danny Boy” is most often used with this tune today, but there were other sets of lyrics used with this folk tune prevalent in the nineteenth century.

There are also many hymn texts that make use of this tune—and one of my favorites is “O Christ the Same” by Timothy Dudley-Smith (the retired bishop who also wrote the words to “Tell Out, my Soul,” which I mentioned last week). “O Christ the Same” is not in our hymnal, but can be found in the ELCA supplemental hymnal “With One Voice,” which we often used at my church in Nassau County, New York when I was in grad school on Long Island.

So, anyway, first I have an organ arrangement of “Londonderry Air” from the 1920s by Anglo-Canadian church composer Herbert Sanders, and then I have my own organ treatment of the hymn “O Christ the Same” along with Dudley-Smith’s beautiful words to read or to sing along with. (By the way, my hymn recording is in a lower key than the organ piece is in—so it should be easier to reach the high note for most of us if you are singing along…) Thanks very much for listening, everyone!

[Herbert Sanders organ piece]

[Hymn O Christ the Same]

1 O Christ the same, through all our story’s pages,
our loves and hopes, our failures and our fears;
eternal Lord, the King of all the ages,
unchanging still, amid the passing years:
O living Word, the source of all creation,
who spread the skies, and set the stars ablaze,
O Christ the same, who wrought our whole salvation,
we bring our thanks for all our yesterdays.

2 O Christ the same, the friend of sinners sharing
our inmost thoughts, the secrets none can hide,
still as of old upon Your body bearing
the marks of love, in triumph glorified:
O Son of Man, who stooped for us from heaven,
O Prince of Life, in all Your saving power,
O Christ the same, to whom our hearts are given,
we bring our thanks for this the present hour.

3 O Christ the same, secure within whose keeping
our lives and loves, our days and years remain,
our work and rest, our waking and our sleeping,
our calm and storm, our pleasure and our pain:
O Lord of love, for all our joys and sorrows,
for all our hopes, when earth shall fade and flee,
O Christ the same, beyond our brief tomorrows,
we bring our thanks for all that is to be.