Among Debra's many accolades, we can now add this: published hymn-writer. She recently entered -- and won -- a hymn search contest held at Fuller Seminary. One purpose of the song was to commemorate the Fortieth Anniversary of the School of Psychology. Another was to articulate something about trust in God for healing. Finally, the theme of the worship service at which the hymn would debut was "Looking back, looking ahead." Thus, a hymn that shot an arrow in that diretion would get bonus points.
Deb thought Psalm 25 was an excellent expression of this sort of prayer, and so used it as a basis for her hymn text. She wrote it to be sung to the tune Kingsfold.
Here is the text and melody laid out, with chords hand-written above the staff. This harmonic arrangement of the tune is courtesy of the jazz pianist/preacher Bill Carter. To get a sense of the arrangement, click here for a very rough, homemade Mp3. The violinist is a particularly talented 10-year old, and the guitarist is, well, me.
We were part of that "Looking Back, Looking Ahead" service this past weekend where the hymn was first sung. Not only did we sing Deb's hymn, but I played the guitar on another song, and all the kids participated in a choir. Lovely. But the highlight of the service was something else altogether. At a certain point in the service, a somber fellow read aloud the names of alumni, trustees, and faculty of the school of Psychology who had died since the founding of the school. At each name, a loud, beautiful bell sounded one note. The best part: a cherubic little infant, maybe a year old, cooing with glee at each peal of the bell. Looking Back, Looking Ahead indeed.