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363. Your Hands, O Lord, in Days of Old

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1 Your hands, O Lord, in days of old
were strong to heal and save;
they triumphed over pain and death,
o'er darkness and the grave.
To you they went, the blind, the mute,
the palsied and the lame,
the leper set apart and shunned,
the sick and those in shame.

2 And then your touch brought life and health,
gave speech and strength and sight;
and youth renewed, with health restored,
claimed you, the Lord of light.
And so, O Lord, be near to bless,
almighty now as then,
in every street, in every home,
in every troubled friend.

3 O be our mighty healer still,
O Lord of life and death;
restore and strengthen, soothe and bless
with your almighty breath.
On hands that work and eyes that see,
your healing wisdom pour,
that whole and sick and weak and strong
may praise you evermore.

Text Information
First Line: Your hands, O Lord, in days of old
Title: Your Hands, O Lord, in Days of Old
Author: Edward Hayes Plumptre, 1821-1891 (1866. alt.)
Meter: CMD
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Topic: Brevity & Frailty of Life; Epiphany & Ministry of Christ; Sickness & Health (1 more...)
Tune Information
Meter: CMD
Key: F Major
Source: W. Gawler's Hymns and Psalms, 1789

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Matt. 14:35-36
st. 2 = Mark 6:55-56

Edward B. Plumptre (b. Bloomsbury, London, England, 1821; d. Wells, Somersetshire, England, 1891) wrote this text in 1864 during his tenure as chaplain at King's College, London. Considered to be one of the finest on the theme of health and healing, the text was first printed as the leaflet A Hymn Used in the Chapel of King's College Hospital. Published the following year in the second edition of Plumptre's Lazarus and Other Poems, "Your Hands, O Lord" also appeared in the 1868 Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern. Originally the text's first line read, 'Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old."

Stanzas 1 and 2a recount the healing miracles of Christ. Stanzas 2b and 3 are a prayer for that same healing power of Christ to be present today.

Plumptre was an eminent classical and biblical scholar who gained prominence in both church and university. Educated at King's College, London, and University College, Oxford, he was ordained in the Church of England in 1846. Plumptre served as a preacher at Oxford and a professor of pastoral theology at King's College, and held a number of other prestigious positions. His writings include A Life of Bishop Ken (1888), translations from Greek and Latin classics, and poetry and hymns. Plumptre was also a member of the committee that produced the Revised Version of the Bible.

Liturgical Use:
Latter part of the Epiphany season; Lent; worship services that focus on Christ's miracles of healing; at healing services or prayer services for the sick.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

ST. MICHAEL'S is an anonymous tune first published by William Gawler (b. Lambeth, London, England, 1750; d. London, 1809) in 1789 in his London collection Hymns and Psalms Used at the Asylum for Female Orphans (1785-1789). Gawler was organist at the Asylum of Refuge for French Orphans in Lambeth, the first such residence in England for homeless girls. He published a variety of voluntaries for organ.

In some hymnals the tune has been attributed to Mozart or Haydn. ST. MICHAEL'S (which refers to the archangel Michael in the Bible) is also known as ST. MICHEL'S, MOZART, or GOSHEN. Some hymnals set this text to ST. MATTHEW, a useful alternate tune (see 21).

The tune is a rounded bar form (AABA), which displays the symmetry of phrases and the cadences often associated with the classical style. Sing in harmony. Perhaps a choir could sing stanzas 1 and 2a, which tell the story, with the congregation joining in with the prayer in stanzas 2b and 3.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Audio recording: Piano Harmony (auto-generated)
MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
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