I decided to take a moment, for those who are interested, to dig a little further into the songs from LIGHT.
The first song, Come Thou Fount, is one of my two or three favorite hymns, and the only song in this collection that I didn’t write the music for (except the “I Surrender All” chorus for “I Give You My Heart” of course). Interestingly enough, the first time I heard it wasn’t as a child, but in a very traditional Episcopal worship service in the very early 80s, after I was a grown-up. I remember being floored by the line “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” I would think for most of us that’s a regular thing. And if it isn’t, then you’re seriously missing out.
“Ebenezer”, by the way, is a stone of help, not just a character from Dickens. Imagine setting up some kind of regular memorial in your home or your life that reminds you of God’s help and faithfulness, in the context of the song, perhaps despite our unfaithfulness and failings. I think for the writer of the lyric, the song itself was an Ebenezer. I know it works that way for me.
I recorded the song almost entirely acoustic (with my trusty old Wechter Pathmaker), and then added a BUNCH of electric guitars. That version was glorious, but ultimately not what I ended up with, because I think that the beauty of an acoustic guitar is hard to top. I added a little hammered dulcimer sound, because Rich Mullins would have loved that I did a hymn. He didn’t think we sang them enough, and he was a huge influence on my writing and my faith. And if you notice, the time signature is off. It’s 5/4 time, and now when I do this song at church, I have a hard time NOT doing it in that wacky time signature. It just feels right. Stephen Delopoulos would love it.
I played with the lyrics just a teeny-tiny bit here, but I don’t think I changed the meaning.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Words: Robert Robinson, 1758; Arrangement ©2015 Peter J. Hamm
Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of God’s unchanging love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope, by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed his precious blood
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let thy goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above