"If Only Grief Was Like This Hymn"

Here's a hymn of lament partly inspired by Psalm 22 and my own personal struggles with clinical depression.  It is sung to the tune SALVATION and the meter is CMD.

Click here for a pdf of this hymn.

If only grief was like this hymn, so measured and precise,
with rhyme and reason ev’rywhere, so perfect and concise.
Predictable its verses are, its tone and texture sure.
The grief I have has none of this, its pattern so obscure.

If only pain was logical, so linear and brief;
instead my grief eludes my grasp, as secret as a thief.
Some days it hides and slumbers near, so quiet and so still,
but other days it rages fierce, and fights against my will.

If only woes came once then left so soon and then undone,
instead my saddest song comes back, more verses to be sung.
Some times I feel as though I’m torn, as if I’m ripped apart,
so isolated and disgraced, a veil across my heart.

Come Holy Spirit in this hour when I, your servant, cry;
Come hold me in your loving arms, don’t let my heart’s hope die.
Come lead me to a better place, where warmth and mirth preside,
Come send me forth in happiness, with providence my guide.


Comment

Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.

"Nine Months Was Mary's Advent"

My wife has often reminded me that while most of us see the Season of Advent as a a four week period, Mary's advent was 9 months!  I have often pondered on that and decided to write a hymn exploring that theme.  It is sung to the tune:  VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN (7.6.7.6. D), which is commonly used to sing "O Lord, How Shall I Meet You" (#104 in Glory to God hymnal).  

Click here for a pdf of the text.

Permission is given for use in congregational worship.  Please give the following credit:  "Copyright 2015 Stephen M. Fearing | www.stephenmfearing.com"

Nine months was Mary’s advent, nine months her blessed wait.
Her travels long and toilsome, her path a joyful fate.
She carried Christ our savior within her blessed womb,
the journey just beginning would reach an empty tomb.

With Joseph, Mary pondered these things long in her heart.
Her trust was true and faithful, would guide them from the start.
Her Lord had chosen Mary to bear God’s only son,
This advent wait of blessing where grace had just begun.

With courage may we follow this Mary’s faithful feet,
and trust our God to save and to make our joy complete.
Help us to wait like Mary as when her tale began.
May we, like her, give fully ourselves to serve God’s plan.


Comment

Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.

"Good People, Come and Listen"

Here is a Christmas hymn that would work especially well for either a Christmas Eve service or a Christmas Day service (as well as the rest of the season of Christmas).  It is written to the tune BEREDEN VAG FOR HERRAN which is commonly sung to the hymn "Prepare the Way, O Zion."  The meter is 7.6.7.6.7.7. with refrain.  

This hymn has at least two possibilities for singing:

  1. Have everyone sing every verse, or,
  2. Have a cantor sing verse 1, the choir sing verse 2, and everyone sing verse 3.

Click here for a pdf of the hymn.

Permission is given for use in congregational worship.  Please give the following credit:  "Words by Stephen M. Fearing, 2015 | www.stephenmfearing.com"

Good people, come and listen to Good News from above:
our God has shattered darkness, he comes with light and love.
The newness now is springing, the joyful bells are ringing.
The Word made flesh arrives, and saves our thankful lives!

We sing for we are happy, we sing for Jesus born,
we sing for God among us, we welcome God’s new morn.
Join us in gladsome singing, for joy the Christ is bringing.
The Word made flesh arrives, and saves our thankful lives!

We gather here to listen to stories from before:
how Jesus came to save us, to heal and to restore.
We sing with adoration, for God is our salvation.
The Word made flesh arrives, and saves our thankful lives!

Comment

Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.

"Lord, I Lift My Soul to You"

Here is a new hymn that is a paraphrase of Psalm 25, the lectionary psalm for the 1st Sunday in Advent, Year C (November 29th, 2015).  It is written to the tune ABERYSTWYTH (7.7.7.7 D) which is commonly used for "Watchman, Tell Us Of The Night").

This hymn was a challenge to write; to my knowledge, this is the first time I've written a hymn with an "ABABCDCD" rhyme scheme (all the others have been "AABBCCDD").

Click here for a pdf of the hymn.

Permission is given for use in congregational worship.  Please give the following credit:  "Copyright 2015 Stephen M. Fearing | www.stephenmfearing.com"

Lord, I lift my soul to you; in your holy name I trust.
Long I've known your paths are true; all your ways are good and just.
Waiting ever for your love, lead me in your truth and grace
Perfect guidance from above, ever more in your embrace.

Merciful your acts, O Lord; bring salvation to my heart.
Wisdom is my sole reward; from you may I ne'er depart.
May your presence with me stay, your instructions fill my soul.
Guide me, Lord, along the way, only with you am I whole.

Recall not my sins of late; help release me from their hold.
Save me from my dismal fate; keep my humble, keep me bold.
Always to your face I gaze; look upon your servant now.
I shall follow all my days, this my only, solemn vow.

Lonely and downcast am I; act with mercy, guard my life.
On your goodness I rely; help me in these times of strife.
May redemption be my course, and my troubles be no more.
With your grace my only source, you will my new life restore.


Comment

Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.