|The Laughter of God
2. To the grieving folk bound with chains of gloom
he spoke of his kingdom of joy and of room
that he'd make for those who with tears by the tomb
had denied there could be a new morning. Refrain.
3. Then remember how in the garden there
he trembled and shook as he knelt in prayer,
but he still found faith in the dark night to dare
that with God he would rise in the morning. Refrain.
4. So then let us sing and in him delight
for Christ lives again and has set us aright
with God above and we'll pass through the night
when he calls us to joy in the morning. Refrain.
Words: © 1986 Arthur W. Collins
Music: Traditional English melody ("John Peel")
Well, my musical offerings are so far rating a gigantic yawn, which makes me worry about putting this one out there, but this is the end result of this series of posts, and the cobbler should stick to his last so I'll see it through.
Years ago, I was wondering just how far one could go in baptizing various musical forms. How unlikely a source for a hymn could you start with? So I deliberately set myself the challenge of finding a very UN-sacred melody to write a hymn to. I decided that "John Peel," the old paean to fox-hunting, was about as out there as I could find. I set out to write new lyrics for this old tune, and here they are.
The setting I found in Folks Songs of Old England was a rollicking one that sounded great on a pipe organ. At a community UM vespers service twenty years ago, a District mass choir under my direction sang this piece to great acclaim. Nobody had a clue where the music came from.
As I look it over now, I am dissatisfied with some hackneyed phrasing here and there, but don't know that much can be done with it. It certainly is no worse in the lyrics department than many a much-loved hymn. And I think it works well as a joyous Easter song. But you all will have to make your own judgments.
At any rate, I don't find this unlikely piece of MUSIC to be at all inappropriate for sacred use.