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A Service of Praise in Story, Song

Here is a morning moment to center upon at the start of a day (either singly or together). Sometimes, morning may be precisely what you most need to hold in front of you in the quiet beginnings when you rise to shake the sleep away. Not getting ahead of yourself, not running headlong toward the tasks that lie in wait for you, or opening up the morning news to the myriad concerns and distractions that will be summoning you soon enough, but pausing to breathe and consider the sheer mysterious grace in the gift of a new day. This day.

The liturgy below re-frames the creation story within the context of morning. And just as each person is unique, so too does each morning arrive to leave its own store of surprises and opportunities. Liturgy of the Morning comes from a poetic collection called Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community” by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Between sections of the liturgy, I’ve added an assortment of beloved hymns as musical interludes for you to read, or listen to, or sing along with (thanks to Maureen Howell who assisted and accompanied me). A prayer by Louis F. Benson concludes this post.


Liturgy of the Morning


On the first morning,
God said: ‘Let there be birds.’

And God separated voice from voice;
and in some voices, God put a song,
and the song sang to the land,
and to the light, and to the light on the land,
and when the people heard it, the morning had begun.
The first morning.
And God said that it was Good.


Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
Fresh from the Word!
(Words: Eleanor Farjeon, 1931; Tune: Traditional Gaelic Melody)


+ + +


And on the second morning, God said:
‘There will be dreams from the night
that will need the light of the morning.’

And so God put wisdom in the early hours.
The second morning.
And God said that it was Good.


Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
(Words: Jan Struther, 1931; Tune: Traditional Irish Melody)


+ + +


And on the third morning, God said:
‘Let there be a certain kind of light
that can only be seen in the morning.’

And God created gold, and dew,
and horizons, and hills in the distance,

and faces that look different
in the light of the morning,

and things that look different
in the light of the morning.

The third morning.
And God said that it was Good.


When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries,
May Jesus Christ be praised! Alike at work and prayer
to Jesus I repair: May Jesus Christ be praised!
Katholisches Gesangbuch,1828; Edward Caswall, tr., 1854; Tune: Joseph Barnby, 1868)


+ + +


And on the fourth morning, God said:
‘Sometimes the day will be long.
Let there be a warmth in the morning,
let people sleep for some mornings,
and let the rest of the morning be good.
The fourth morning.
And God said that it was Good.


In the morning, when I rise,
in the morning, when I rise,
in the morning, when I rise,
give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus,
you may have all this world,
give me Jesus.
(Words and Tune: Traditional African-American Spiritual)


+ + +


And on the fifth morning, God said:
‘There will be people who will rise early every morning,
whose day will begin in the night, by the light of moon and stars;
they will see the sun rise, these early risers.
And God put a softness at the heart of the dawn.
The fifth morning.
And God said that it was Good.


Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise Him all creatures here below;
praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(Words: Thomas Ken, c. 1670; Tune: Thomas Tallis, c. 1561)


+ + +


And on the sixth morning, God listened.
And there were people working,
and people struggling to get out of bed,
and there were people making love
and people making sandwiches.
There were people dreading the day,
and people glad that the night was over.
And God hoped that they’d survive.
And God shone light, and made clouds,
and rain, and rainbows, and toast, and coffee,
places to love the light and places to hide from the light.
Small corners to accompany the lonely, the joyous,
the needy and the needed.
The sixth morning.
And God said that it was Good.


All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voice and with us sing
alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
thou silver moon with softer gleam,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
(Words: Francis of Assisi, 1225; tr. William H. Draper, 1925; Tune:
Geistliche Kirchengesäng, 1623)


+ + +


And on the last morning, God rested.
And the rest was good.
The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.


This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.
(Words: Maltbie D. Babcock, 1901; Tune: Franklin Sheppard, 1915)




The sun is on the land and sea,
The day begun;
Our morning hymn begins with Thee,
Blest Three in One;
Our praise shall rise continually
Till day is done.

Thy love was ever in our view,
Like stars, by night;
Thy gifts are every morning new,
O God of light;
Thy mercy, like the heavens’ blue,
Fills all our sight.

We do not know what grief or care
The day may bring:
The heart shall find some gladness there
That loves its King;
The life that serves Thee everywhere
Can always sing.


And so, may I sing in my heart today. Amen.


Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community, Pádraig Ó Tuama. Canterbury Press Norwich, © 2017.