O Women of Our Sacred Page

In the Spring of 2013, my friend and colleague, Rev. Kory Wilcoxsen of Crestwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lexington, KY, commissioned a hymn to accompany the summer sermon series.  The "Her-Story" series will highlight women from the Hebrew scriptures, many of whom do not get much of a voice in the biblical text and certainly do not get much airtime from the pulpit. 

As I began work on the hymn, I noticed that a few of the women (Miriam, Deborah, and Hannah) have songs ascribed to them.  This started me thinking about our singing the songs of these women, and the first and last stanza started coming together.  It was a joy to get to know these women and to put their songs with my own.

Because this hymn was composed for an eleven-week series, it is longer than most hymns I have composed.  I don't imagine it will ever be sung in its entirety (I know many church folks who get all upset if you see more than three!).  Crestwood will be singing the bookend stanzas with a stanza for one woman each week.  If you do wish to use this hymn, please feel free to use which stanzas you choose.  (and, of course, let me know you've used it, please.)

As Kory posts the sermons from Crestwood each week on his blog, I will link to them from here.  So if you wish to earn more about these remarkable women, check back here throughout the summer.

O Women of Our Sacred Page
Tune: DOVE OF PEACE  (I Come with Joy)*

O women of our sacred page, we hear your faithful song.
Your voices call from age to age, and now we sing along.  And now we sing along. 

Eve - click for Crestwood 6/2/13 sermon - Kory Wilcoxsen
Companion in the garden, cast out, she cries in birth.
As mother of humanity, her song sounds o’er the earth, her song sounds o’er the earth.

A mother in the desert weeps for her thirsting boy,
God heeds her cries, reveals a well. Her song becomes of joy, her song becomes of joy.

Two bold and faithful midwives defy Pharaoh’s command.
The Hebrew sons live on and thrive.  Sing praise throughout the land, sing praise throughout the land.

A mother rests her baby there in the river’s care.
The lullaby of love she sings conveys her fervent prayer, conveys her fervent prayer.

A prophet by the seaside, lifts up her voice to sing,
“Our God has triumphed gloriously!” Our praises now we bring, our praises now we bring.

A tarnished, outcast woman shields strangers in her home.
“The Lord is God!” her faith portrays, her song of trust intones, her song of trust intones.

A kind and loyal daughter moves to unknown terrain,
“For where you go, I will go, too,” her song of love proclaims, her song of love proclaims.

A widow, pained and bitter, mourns for her sons who’ve passed.
Her daughter bears a baby boy.  She sings with joy at last, she sings with joy at last.

A queen renowned for beauty, how wise she grows to be.
She bravely saves her suff’ring kin, her song a bold decree, her song a bold decree.

A leader, judge, and warrior, calls Israel to engage.
In victory, she sings God’s praise. Peace reigns throughout the age, peace reigns throughout the age.

A childless woman bargains, receives a babe to hold.
The cherished son she commits to God. Her song of praise is bold, her song of praise is bold. 

O God, these women of the page call us to join their song.
May our lives ring beyond this age, that others sing along, that others sing along.

Copyright © 2013 by Rachel Frey. All rights reserved.   

*An alternate tune is ROYAL OAK (All Things Bright and Beautiful), using the first stanza as the refrain (omitting the "O" in the first line and adding a pickup note in the second), and not repeating the last phrase of each stanza..

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