Today is Good Friday—at least for those observing the liturgical calendar followed by most Christians in the western hemisphere. It is a Christian holy day, but not a U.S. federal holiday, nor a New York State holiday, and yet, curiously, Wall Street—the New York Stock Exchange—is closed today. It’s been closed on Good Friday as a rule since its inception. Hard-nosed capitalists or no, it seems that no one has had the gumption to break that particular precedent. Well, deference to much of anything being in such short supply, I think one can only applaud it when one sees it.
My purpose today, however, is just to reflect a little on a song. I think it might be described as a Good Friday kind of song, and it’s a song I’ve grown to love, although a few months ago I had not even heard of it.
Accounts tell us that in 1872, an American Methodist minister named Lewis Hartsough wrote the lyric and the tune, during the course of a revival meeting in Iowa. The song become known by its first line: “I hear thy welcome voice.”
Yet, I’ve never heard the song sung in English, and I would guess not all that many people have.
The song was noticed not long after its first publishing by a Welsh Methodist minister named John Roberts (also known by his poetic name of Ieuan Gwyllt). He translated the song into Welsh, and I guess you could say that from there it went viral. (This being the age before antibiotics, perhaps back then they would’ve said that it went bacterial.) It quickly became a deeply beloved hymn of the Welsh, such that many presume that it has been Welsh all along. Continue reading Gwahoddiad – I Hear Thy Welcome Voice – Arglwydd Dyma Fi