Look and Learn

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This paraphrase from the Sermon on the Mount moves and soars like the birds it pictures. Its instruction is gentle but firm, reminding us of what we know but always seem to forget: we can safely put our trust in God. 


Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song speaks about looking and learning from God’s creation, particularly the flowers and the birds. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Questions and Answers 27 and 28 profess that we learn to have “good confidence in our God and Father…for all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.” Belgic Confession, Article 13 testifies that we may trust that God watches over us with such fatherly care that not “even a little bird can fall to the ground without the will of our father.”


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Introductory/Framing Text

Eternal God, as we leave this place, guide our feet.
As our steps take us into an unknown future,
give us confidence in your faithfulness.
Help us see opportunities to serve and to love.
Support us with your love
so that we can work with you and rest in you. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Almighty and ever present God,
you uphold heaven and earth and all creatures.
All things come from your generous hand:
You send the nourishing rain, the refreshing wind,
the warming sun, the blustering snow.
You make buds appear, flowers bloom,
fruit grow, and harvests mature.
Through each day of our lives,
whether in sickness or health,
prosperity or poverty, joy or sorrow,
you are in control.
Help us to be patient when things go against us,
thankful when things go well,
and always confident that nothing
could ever separate us from your love.
For your unending faithfulness, we thank and praise you.
To you be glory, now and forever. Amen.
—based on Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A’s 27-28
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

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Tune Information

F Major


Musical Suggestion

The rising and falling pentatonic melody perfectly reflects the text, as it moves with an appearance of being carefree, but is firmly held within five tones. Play with a bright and lyrical tone. This song may be accompanied with the Western-style harmony provided. For a more Eastern flavor, accompany with unison flute or another C instrument, and add wind chimes (used sparingly, perhaps sounding lightly throughout or struck once on the first beat of every second measure). This song is an excellent “bridge builder” for congregations that sing classic hymnody, but want to begin learning songs from around the world. 

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Author and Composer Information

This text and tune are by Nah Young-Soo, member of the voice facultly at Hanyang University College of Music, Seoul, Korea.
John Bell (b. 1949) was born in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, intending to be a music teacher when he felt the call to the ministry. But in frustration with his classes, he did volunteer work in a deprived neighborhood in London for a time and also served for two years as an associate pastor at the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam. After graduating he worked for five years as a youth pastor for the Church of Scotland, serving a large region that included about 500 churches. He then took a similar position with the Iona Community, and with his colleague Graham Maule, began to broaden the youth ministry to focus on renewal of the church’s worship. His approach soon turned to composing songs within the identifiable traditions of hymnody that found began to address concerns missing from the current Scottish hymnal:
I discovered that seldom did our hymns represent the plight of poor people to God. There was nothing that dealt with unemployment, nothing that dealt with living in a multicultural society and feeling disenfranchised. There was nothing about child abuse…, that reflected concern for the developing world, nothing that helped see ourselves as brothers and sisters to those who are suffering from poverty or persecution. [from an interview in Reformed Worship (March 1993)]
That concern not only led to writing many songs, but increasingly to introducing them internationally in many conferences, while also gathering songs from around the world. He was convener for the fourth edition of the Church of Scotland’s Church Hymnary (2005), a very different collection from the previous 1973 edition. His books, The Singing Thing and The Singing Thing Too, as well as the many collections of songs and worship resources produced by John Bell—some together with other members of the Iona Community’s “Wild Goose Resource Group,” are available in North America from GIA Publications. 
— Emily Brink
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