St. Giles’ Cathedral
Holy Week 2020 Daily Devotion
Hymns for Holy Week
Wednesday 8th April 2020
There is a green hill far away
There is a green hill far away,
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains he had to bear,
We only know it was for us
He hung and suffered there
He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven
Saved by his precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven, and let us in.
O dearly, dearly, has he loved,
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.
Reflection by Rev Nancy Norman
If colour is fundamental to creating the mood of something, then how perceptive it was of Cecil Frances Alexander to describe that hill not by its size or its shape but by its colour. Her poem, paired with the tune composed by her Victorian contemporary, William Horsley, offers a quiet grandeur to Holy Week.
Writing principally but not exclusively for children, Mrs Alexander excelled at expressing in words and images what is at the heart of the Christian faith, but without trivialising it or the mystery that is beyond human understanding. ‘He died that we might be forgiven / He died to make us good …’. And if any of the church’s hymns have woven their way indelibly into minds and hearts, then surely these too: ‘All things bright and beautiful’, and ‘Once in royal David’s city’, two others of the 400 that she wrote.
The greenness of things; the prodigality of the natural world, the intricacies of which we do not devise but observe with awe; the green itself the outcome of an astonishing process; the emergence of shoots and buds, and new leaves on old trees, a lavish display of hope.
The life-affirming ‘greenness’ of our hope in the loving purposes of the Creator; the long view; the partial nature of our vision and our knowledge, yet sensing a wholeness given; recognising the links, both strong and fragile, by which we and the entire global community are held together and sustained.
The ‘greenness’ and vitality of our faith; a green hill that is not far away, but through Christ brought near in an unfailing divine love from which nothing can separate us.
Today’s Hymn There is a green hill far away
for all who keep essential services going, locally and globally
for all whose lives are dedicated to the cure of disease
for our families and friends and communities, and for people everywhere, in differing circumstances of fear and hope
for all whose acts of kindness, devotion and generosity, skill and patience, ripple outwards to reach us all ….
Music for Reflection
J.S.Bach Herzlich tut mich verlangen BWV 727