Transfiguration Hymn
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    Maybe too late to add it to your programs for this Sunday.
    But maybe not...

    Eternal is Your promise, Lord
    And all-consuming is Your grace.
    You give to us Your Holy Light
    And show to us Your holy Face.

    Held in the darkness of Your love,
    We find the greatness of Your light.
    Have mercy on us, Glorious God,
    Put all our fears and foes to flight.

    When we become destruction, Lord,
    When glory turns to shame and sin,
    When idols take the place of truth,
    Transfigure, Lord, our hearts within.

    Take us unto the mountain, Lord,
    And show to us the promised land.
    Help us to scale the heights of love
    And firmly in Your presence stand.

    © 2012 Adam Michael Wood
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


    1. A friend of mine who programs this every year likes to to ROCKINGHAM.
    That version is attached.
    (Please note that the score image I'm attaching doesn't have attribution on it and please add it if you use it.)


    2. I originally had O WALY WALY in mind when I wrote it. I don't have a score for that prepared but you might want to think about it. (If you prep a score, I'd appreciate you sharing it.)

    3. My current parish does mostly contemporary-styled "Praise and Worship" music, so I composed a new hymn tune, GRANT ROAD, in that style for this piece. That version is attached below, and I made a recording of it and you can listen to here.


    4. If you ever decide to set it to another tune, I'd appreciate you making the score available here.

    Thanked by 2Kathy CHGiffen
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,764
    Thanks for sharing this, Adam.

    Can I make one ginger suggestion? “Darkness of your love” really jumped out to me; I don’t know that I’ve ever heard any aspect of our Lord described as “darkness”. My internal sensus fidelium alarm immediately started sounding. Perhaps “myst’ry” could be an appropriate substitute? Perhaps I’m overreacting. It is an otherwise lovely text.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,032
    This Sunday I'm going to use this newly published piece from OCP. It's marketed as an Advent/Christmas song, but I think it has wider application, such as for the Feast of the Transfiguration:

    It's chant-like, it's simple polyphony, and it's scriptural.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    > Darkness of your love
    > I don’t know that I’ve ever heard any aspect of our Lord described as “darkness”

    It's the cloud of unknowing. And the fact that it is somewhat shocking to your sensibilities is precisely the point of why I used it.

    Have a book...

    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,032
    Then you're no better than Rory Coony who also tried to shock people's sensibilities with his "I myself am the bread of life, you and I are the bread of life" lyric.

    There is no darkness in God nor in his love, as attested to by Scripture:

    "Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

    I'm well acquainted with The Cloud of Unknowing, and the spirituality of St. John of the Cross, and the night of sense and the night of spirit that he describes.

    There can be an experience of darkness when God withholds consolations and a soul experiences spiritual dryness. However, that is not a darkness of God's love; it is a darkness of the experienced/apparent absence of God's love, which love is still present but not in the manner the soul has been accustomed to experiencing it previously because God is inviting the soul to a deeper conversion that is less reliant on pleasurable sensible feelings or comforting spiritual consolations.

    I don't think songs with a lyric that directly contradicts Scripture should be sung in the Church's liturgy, and they probably should not be sung in public, informal devotion either.

    I know what you're trying to convey, but I think your lyric fails to convey it adequately because it doesn't distinguish between God's love and the experienced absence of God's love, so it could mislead people.

    Liturgy is not the place for expressions of apophatic spirituality. In apophatic theology and spirituality, darkness is a darkness of ignorance about God on the part of the human knower, not a darkness in God himself. Apophatic theology and spirituality state that God is always more unknown to the human intellect than he is known, so we approach him in ignorance, or in a type of darkness. But the darkness is only apparent because God himself is supremely, infinitely intelligible; it's just that his infinite intelligibility far exceeds the capacity of our finite, created intellects to grasp.

    Mysticism, by its nature, is not liturgical because mysticism is individually and privately experienced whereas liturgy is public, communal prayer.

  • Then you're no better than Rory Coony who also tried to shock people's sensibilities with his "I myself am the bread of life, you and I are the bread of life" lyric.

    I think this could have been better/ more virtuously expressed, perhaps something like "This is a rather undesirable phrase from a theological point of view, quite like Rory Croony's lyrics, "..."

    Saying "you're no better than" seems quite unkind, especially for someone who was hoping to share something. I doubt the intentions of the OP here are bad, so if you have a thought about why you find something amiss, or some way you could improve something, perhaps it could be shared differently. Just my two cents...
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    501 x 498 - 60K
  • I don't think Adam's terminology is one that I would use (though I think I understand why he used it). I am just mindful of the need to share our perspectives charitably.

    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,060
    2 Terra autem erat inanis et vacua, et tenebrae erant super faciem abyssi: et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas.
    3 Dixitque Deus: Fiat lux. Et facta est lux.
    4 Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona: et divisit lucem a tenebris.
    5 Appellavitque lucem Diem, et tenebras Noctem: factumque est vespere et mane, dies unus.

    So in the beginning, when there was only God, there was darkness. And God created light, and divided light from darkness.
  • St. Augustine writes extensively about the meaning of darkness in Genesis in Book XI of City of God, as a symbol of deprivation of the light of God’s presence, or evil. Anyway, since even here in this forum the word evokes such different interpretations, it seems risky at best to ascribe it to God. MarkB is also spot on in his comments, tho’ I’d seriously tweak the first sentence of his post to seem less personal.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    I think the Western apophatic tradition is still too little known. But I also think we should take very seriously the warning at the beginning of the Cloud of Unknowing not to let the book fall into the hands of those who are not ready for it.
    I see this as the problem referred to in Matt 12 43-5