O Father You are Sovereign

Like most hymns, this by Margaret Clarkson doesn’t make for great reading by itself:

1 O Father, you are sovereign
in all the worlds you made;
your mighty word was spoken,
and light and life obeyed.
Your voice commands the seasons
and bounds the ocean’s shore,
sets stars within their courses
and stills the tempest’s roar.

2 O Father, you are sovereign
in all affairs of man;
no pow’rs of death or darkness
can thwart your perfect plan.
All chance and change transcending,
supreme in time and space,
you hold your trusting children
secure in your embrace.

3 O Father, you are sovereign,
the Lord of human pain,
transmuting earthly sorrows
to gold of heav’nly gain.
All evil overruling,
as none but Conqu’ror could,
your love pursues its purpose–
our souls’ eternal good.

4 O Father, you are sovereign!
We see you dimly now,
but soon before your triumph
earth’s ev’ry knee shall bow.
With this glad hope before us,
our faith springs up anew:
our sovereign Lord and Savior,
we trust and worship you!

There is one line, however, that jumped out at me as I sang this in church a few months ago. I put it in bold above. “Chance” and “change” make a nice pair, but combined with the syllables of “transcending,” it’s quite arresting. (I might alter is to “All change and chance transcending” to make it less of a tongue-twister. But sometimes tongues need to be twisted.)

I also like the use of “transmuting” in the third stanza. There’s not much science, pseudo or otherwise, in hymns. Although I think the language of hymns should be drawn from the Bible, it would be fun to sing about quarks and leptons occasionally.

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