Brighter than the sun

Katrina DowlingMusicLeave a Comment

The concept that Christ is ‘brighter than the sun” has special force now. Epiphany is the season of revelation, with light being the preeminent symbol of God’s revealed presence in the world. In the Northern hemisphere it’s a midwinter season, and you can see lights shining in the darkness; in Australia, the brightness of the midsummer sun is expansive and everything is enveloped in light.

With its themes of revelation, light, the baptism of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, mission, and telling the news, Epiphany is a great time to sing gospel songs. I feel especially drawn to this genre right now. Since the choir is on summer holidays during Epiphany, I’ll be playing some gospel piano solos instead, so I thought it would be good to share the associated lyrics.

John Helgen has set “Brighter than the sun” for choir and piano in what he describes as a “down-home Southern Gospel” feel, and we’ve sung it with enjoyment at St Luke’s for many years. There are many arrangements of “I love to tell the story” – I like Joel Raney’s gospel-style piano solo arrangement.

“Brighter than the sun” (Ray Makeever)
Brighter, brighter than the sun is the candle of the Holy One.
Bigger, bigger than the sea are the waves of God washing over me.

Davezelenka: Baprism of Christ, 2005Gonna light my candle from the holy flame
of the one that’s brighter than my own name.
Gonna wash my body in the holy sea,
in the water of life that’s bigger than me

Gonna meet God’s children at the fountain of life,
where the word and the water and the Lord Jesus Christ
make a new creation out of every one.
Holy Spirit of love, let the waters run.

Gonna gather ’round and gonna welcome
in ev’ry child to be and ev’ry one who’s ever been.
Gonna breathe together with this spark of life:
Holy Spirit of God, make our flame burn bright.

“I love to tell the story” (Katherine Hankey)
I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know ’tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else could do.

I love to tell the story;
’tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it, like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
’twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long.

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