Friday, March 21, 2008

Song of the Week: I Bind My Heart This Tide


The Mennonite hymn "I Bind My Heart This Tide" is one that is best sung a capella. The words were written by Lauchlan M. Watt in 1907, and the tune as we know it today was written by J. Randall Zercher in 1965. You can hear the MIDI here and listen to the Farther Along octet sing a harmonious version here. For those who are interested in the hymns found in Hymnal: a Worship Book, the link provides MIDIs of all the hymns listed! This is good news for someone who usually has to plunk out the melody lines very carefully on a small electronic keyboard.

This song is an appropriate hymn for Good Friday, but also for other times. The hymn was one of the four songs sung at my wedding. My wedding was in a Catholic church where the guests were a mixture of Mennonites, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, athiests, agnostics, and seekers. The reason why I chose the hymn was for the second verse:

I bind my soul this day to the neighbor far away
And the stranger near at hand, in this town and in this land.


This verse is evocative of the one in the book of Exodus 23:9:

You shall not oppress a stranger: for you know the heart of a stranger, seeing you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

If I were to take a mission statement from the Hebrew scriptures, that would be it.

Although "I Bind My Heart This Tide" sounds best sung without accompaniment, I have provided guitar chords for private study:


8 comments:

TadMack said...

This, my dear, is gorgeous. I'd never heard this one, but the roots of plainsong just come through in the chords. Lovely.

Lone Star Ma said...

That is a wonderful mission statement to take from the Hebrew scriptures. I love it, and will need to sit with it awhile.

writer2b said...

The a capella version is so incredibly full! Lovely hymn, and I enjoyed your commentary on it.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I'm glad you all enjoyed it!

This was a hard Good Friday.

Sara said...

What a gorgeous song for Good Friday. And I never would have thought of the same hymn working for a wedding, but it absolutely does. Now if only I could sing...

Lone Star Ma said...

I'm sorry it was a hard Good Friday.

Noodle said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Amy said...

The harmonies in this song are my favorite. The Sopranos lead the way, but without everyone else, the song is...well, empty.