'Sing of the East as sunlight’s rays
wake earth in all its glory'
In the summer of 2018, at the annual conference of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, I was introduced to a lovely old song which has American roots, called ‘How Can I Keep from Singing'. I felt I wanted to re-construct the song bearing in mind those who through their personal darknesses find it almost impossible to ‘keep on singing’, which is sad because it is widely accepted that singing builds a sense of well-being.
Here is what emerged. I hope it will be helpful to some and enjoyed by others. The tune can be found in a number of hymnaries including Common Ground No 51: Worship & Rejoice 2003 - 424: Lift Up Your Hearts 443:Evangelical Lutheran 2006 - 763: Also in a Sankey and Moody book No 356
Sing Of The East
Tune: How can I keep from singing.
(These verses are written in a sequence which follows the daily path of the sun in the northern hemisphere. If sung in the southern hemisphere, north and south need to be reversed: east and west remain as they are positioned in the hymn simply because both hemispheres rotate in the same direction.)
Sing of the east, as sunlight’s rays
wake earth in all its glory;
as colours fresh emerge from dusk:
a new day of God’s story.
Come praise the Lord for joy-filled hours
when gifts of love are brimming.
Or if should be dark clouds oppress,
Lord, help us keep on singing.
Sing of the south when mid-day sun
gives warmth and light abundant,
nurturing life in many forms
that fill us with enjoyment.
Sing of the west when sunset hues,
with gold and red abounding
bestow upon the clouds and skies
a beauty quite astounding.
Sing of the north when brilliant stars
show God’s immense foundation;
know that, though little, you are lovedby Christ who shaped creation.
To find The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland's Home page, go to https://hymnsocietygbi.org.uk/