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musings from linda 2/2/24

When I was in youth choir at church, we were handed a new choral anthem which made everybody chuckle.  Since most of us had pets, seeing the title DRAW US IN THE SPIRIT’S TETHER brought up images in our 10-year-old minds of God leading church folks around on a leash!


My adult self, however, has grown to LOVE the image suggested by Percy Dearmer’s poem of a loving community gathered together — “tethered” to the Holy Spirit, linked to Christians in every time and place.  


Though Dearmer published the text in England in 1931,  the tune we now use was not composed until a few years later when Harold Friedell— renowned organist and professor in New York City both at Juilliard School and Union Theological Seminary’s School of Sacred Music — used the poem to compose a hymn tune.  Then, in 1957 he arranged the tune in anthem form for his own church choir to sing  — and it has been a consistent “best-seller” ever since!

Someone once described it in this way:


            “There are occasionally anthems — indeed marriages of text and tune —

                   that give us a glimpse of HEAVEN………. This is one of them.” 

Read this beautiful text: 


      Draw us in the Spirit’s tether; for when humbly in Thy name, 

      Two or three are met together, Thou art in the midst of them.  Alleluia! Alleluia!

      Touch we now thy garment’s hem.


            As disciples used to gather in the name of Christ to sup

            Then with thanks to God our Maker, break the bread and bless the cup.

            Alleluia! Alleluia!  Knit Thou our friendship up. 


       All our meals and all our living make as sacraments of Thee

       That by caring … helping … giving … we may true disciples be.  Alleluia!  Alleluia! 

       We will serve Thee faithfully. 

The anthem begins in the Upper Room with the disciples and then comes full circle in the final verse to ALL of us as we are invited to embody the Spirit in our own lives, becoming disciples in our own time by making sacred EVERYTHING we do —  eating, caring, helping, giving — endeavoring to cultivate what Richard Rohr calls a “Christ-soaked world…” 

This Sunday, we gather around the table to break bread together, celebrating and re-affirming once again that we are all “tethered” to God — and one another — in great LOVE.  You will also hear the choir sing this lovely anthem!   For a preview, click on this link, close your eyes and listen...  As you let the exquisiteness soak into your soul, experience for yourself the touch of Jesus’ hem… 

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