Article

“Here Is Peace” hymn study

Hymn Study
by Dean McIntyre

TITLE:"Here Is Peace"
AUTHOR: Andrew Pratt
TUNE: HERE IS PEACE
COMPOSER: Traditional Latvian melody
SOURCE: Worship & Song, no. 3123
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 146; Romans 14:19; 2 Corinthians 3:12; Ephesians 4:31-5:2
TOPIC: enemies; friends/friendship; grace; hope; justice; kindness; human love; God's love; passion; peace; pretense; reconciliation; redemption; senses; shalom; surprise; welcome; world

Background

Andrew Pratt was born in Paignton, Devon, in 1948. He has a B.S. in Zoology, an M.S. in Marine Biology from the University College of North Wales in Bangor, with a postgraduate certificate in education at St. Luke's College, now Exeter University, in Exeter. His call to ministry came in 1979 while in Wrexham, North Wales, and he took up theological training at the Queen's Ecumenical College in Birmingham. During his three years of study at Birmingham University, where he earned a postgraduate diploma in theology, Pratt began writing hymns as a means of exploring theology. Since leaving Birmingham, he has served a number of Methodist circuits in northwest England, while writing more than 400 hymns and publishing three hymn collections with Stainer & Bell, Ltd. His hymn writing led to research in hymnody, and in 1997 he received an M.A. in English from the University of Durham for his research into Frederick Faber's Hymns on the Four Last Things, followed by a Ph.D. from Liverpool University for his study of the origins of the Methodist Hymn Book (1933), published by Epworth in the United Kingdom as O For a Thousand Tongues (2004).

Pratt lectures at Hartley Victoria College (part of the Luther King Partnership for Theological Education in Manchester, England). He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Merseyside and has appeared on BBC television's Songs of Praise. He edits the Bulletin of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland and has regularly led workshops on hymn writing. Many of his hymns have been inspired by, or have responded to, contemporary situations. He has authored numerous articles and co-authored a book on death and bereavement with Marjorie Dobson, Poppies and Snowdrops. Pratt continues to serve as editor of The Hymn Society Bulletin, is a member of the board of the Methodist Publishing House and the Music Resource Group, preparing new hymn resources for the Connexion. He is a trustee of the Pratt Green Trust, which provides grants for work in hymnology. He was invited to appear on BBC's Songs of Praise as an expert on the nation's favorite hymns.

The HERE IS PEACE tune is an alteration of a traditional Latvian melody, a minor or modal melody known as KAS DZIEDAJA -- from its association with the Latvian poem of the same name. The minor tune is sometimes known as CAPTIVITY, derived from post-Vatican II Roman Catholic association with Ewald Bash's paraphrase of Psalm 137, "By the Babylonian Rivers" (The Faith We Sing, no. 2217). The minor tune has been transformed into HERE IS PEACE in Worship & Song through a change to the parallel D major and the resulting harmonic changes.

Music

Melodically, HERE IS PEACE opens with its first phrase rising and falling within the lower fifth of the octave. Following a dramatic full octave leap on the words "Here is peace" are sequential triads with a descending stepwise close. While it has a rather rich harmonic palette, the accompaniment remains rather simple so as not to overshadow the strength of the text.

Words

"Here Is Peace" explores in three short stanzas the true meaning of peace. Peace results from several qualities:

 

  • Stanza 1: from grace, shalom, kindness, and "passion ruled by reasoned sense."
  • Stanza 2: from grace, love that lasts, a welcoming spirit, and when "enemies become as friends."
  • Stanza 3: from grace, ignorance turned to hope, illumined senses, and from God's boundless love.

 

The fact that grace is listed as the first quality in all three stanzas indicates that God's grace and our gracious actions are important and integral parts in all acts of peacemaking.

Sources

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Hymn Studies, Hymnals By Name, Worship & Song