The whole bright world rejoices

Fellow festival-goers in lights, Edinburgh 2017  (Photo: Irene Bom)

After a series of solemn daily meditations for Holy Week, now for something bright and cheerful: a seventeenth century Easter carol, to channel our “laughing cheer” and “boundless joy”, for Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

Easter carol

The whole bright world rejoices now:
with laughing cheer! with boundless joy!
The birds do sing on every bough:

Then shout beneath the racing skies:
with laughing cheer! with boundless joy!
To him who rose that we might rise:

God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
with laughing cheer! with boundless joy!
Our God most high, our joy, our boast:

from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #822

From the blog – also on an Easter theme
2017 windows on Holy Week #8

Wild hope #2

Shaped by the wind  (Photo: Irene Bom)

I wonder: What is the relationship between hope and waiting? Maybe Psalm 130 can give us some clues.

Psalm 130 features on a CD called Send us a Friend that I made with Friends and Neighbours in 2013. The song is called “My soul waits for the Lord”. It’s in English and in Dutch. I’ve included a link below.

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

1  Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2  Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3  If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5  I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6  I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7  Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8  He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

My soul waits for the Lord

My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning
Watchmen for the morning
My soul waits for the Lord.
For with Him there is mercy.
Hope in Him.

Mijn ziel wacht op de Heer
meer dan wachters op de morgen
Wachters op de morgen
Mijn ziel wacht op de Heer
Want bij Hem is genade
Altijd weer.


The Dutch verse came first. It was surprisingly easy to translate into English – all except for the last line, “Altijd weer”.

“Altijd weer” means “every time again – when and as you need God’s mercy”. There’s no 3-syllable way of saying that in English, so eventually I chose “Hope in Him.”

See also Wild hope #1


To keep our hearts in tune

Children learning about God's heart for the world
Children learning about God’s heart for the world (Photo: Irene Bom)
In October 2017 I visited the Scots Kirk in Lausanne, as part of a Local Church Review team.

At lunch one day I met Geraldine Ewen (82) who has been a part of the Lausanne congregation for 23 … 25 years. She told me about her links with the Salvation Army, through her grandparents. Still today Geraldine occasionally foregoes Sunday worship in her own church to attend the Salvation Army Sunday morning service with the band playing all the lovely hymn tunes.

Here is Geraldine singing one of the songs she learned as a child, and sharing how this and other songs from her childhood continue to do her heart good.


Geraldine (singing):

Whisper a prayer in the morning
Whisper a prayer at noon
Whisper a prayer in the evening
to keep your heart in tune

Irene: Tell me the story of the song.

Geraldine: It was Salvation Army that we used to sing it. Yes. I don’t know if it was used by other churches.

Irene: You learned it from your grandparents or not?

Geraldine: Yes. Yes, and from Sunday School.

Irene: Right. Thank you.

Geraldine: But it’s something that has come, come with me all along. And when I go to Bible Study … we have Bible study in Le Mont. One of the girls here, she runs it in her home. And sometimes I just think of a chorus, a refrain, you know.

My grandfather, he used to sing, ‘He came right down to me … He came right down to me to condescend to be my friend. (in a whisper) He came right down to me.’ That’s another lovely one. ‘Condescended to come right down to me.’

Irene: What’s your name?

Geraldine: Geraldine.

Irene: Geraldine.

Geraldine: Geraldine Ewen from Lausanne, yes.

Verse 2 of “Whisper a prayer in the morning”:

Prayer changes things in the morning
Prayer changes things at noon
Prayer changes things in the evening
And keeps your heart in tune

See also: From generation to generation