logo

Forest Hill & 43rd Street
Richmond, VA 23225


To Know Christ and to Make Him Known



Nov. 15, 2020: Danny’s Music Message

 “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ,” arr. Mark Sedio
and
Hymn 541 “Come, Labor On”


For this week, I thought I would look at several hymns that seem to me to fit pretty well with the Gospel lesson this week.  The first is the hymn “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ,” which is not in our hymnal, but which is in several hymnals of other denominations and which I used to play fairly often when I worked in a Presbyterian church.  The tune for this hymn is based on a Jamaican melody (adapted by composer Doreen Potter), and the words are by the twentieth-century hymn writer and minister Fred Kaan.  As a young man Kaan lived through the German occupation of the Netherlands.  In the sixties, Kaan became a minister at Pilgrim Church in Plymouth, England; and he eventually wrote a collection of hymns entitled “Pilgrim Praise,” which was reprinted several times in the late sixties and in the seventies.

Anyway, here are the words to the hymn to read along with my recording of Mark Sedio’s organ arrangement of “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ.”  (Mark Sedio, whom you might have heard of before,  is a well-known church organist up in Minneapolis.)


1. Let us talents and tongues employ,
reaching out with a shout of joy:
bread is broken, the wine is poured,
Christ is spoken and seen and heard.
Jesus lives again; earth can breathe again.
Pass the Word around: loaves abound!

2. Christ is able to make us one,
at his table he set the tone,
teaching people to live to bless,
love in word and in deed express.
Jesus lives again; earth can breathe again.
Pass the Word around: loaves abound!

3. Jesus calls us in, sends us out
bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
gives us love to tell, bread to share:
God (Immanuel) everywhere!
Jesus lives again; earth can breathe again.
Pass the Word around: loaves abound!

And then, for a hymn that we are more used to, I decided to do Hymn 541 “Come, Labor On” — tune written by Anglo-American composer T. Tertius Noble in the early twentieth century and words written by Scottish hymn writer Jane Borthwick in the mid-nineteenth century.  Borthwick, (as you might remember from a music message several months ago), was the author of the hymn “Be Still, My Soul” — the hymn mentioned in the book “For the Glory,” which Women’s Bible Study read back in August. Like a great many other German hymn-writers, Borthwick translated that one into English; and when she published her hymns, she often used the pseudonym H.L.L. (Hymns from the Land of Luther).  Besides all her hymn writing and translating, Borthwick was also very active as a missionary and wrote books about her experiences in mission work.

Anyway though, here it is — my recording of me playing Hymn 541 “Come, Labor On” along with the words to the first three verses.  Thanks for listening and singing along, everyone!

1 Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle, on the harvest plain
While all around him waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
“Go work today.”

2 Come, labor on!
The enemy is watching night and day,
To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
While we in sleep our duty have forgot,
He slumbered not.

3 Come, labor on.
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here;
By feeblest agents, may our God fulfill
His righteous will.