New Welsh Hymn by Dr Siôn Aled Owen
At the beginning of the Summer School in Trefforest, I heard that the worship team were looking for a hymn on the theme of social justice for the Communion Service at the end of the week. Rather rashly, I offered to compose a brand new hymn for the occasion. I usually need a tune in my head to enable me to compose the words of a song or a hymn, so I asked Cass Meurig, one of our candidates who has herself composed and performed many Christian songs, often to Welsh folk tunes, to suggest a tune for me. She immediately suggested ‘Ym Mhontypridd mae ‘nghariad’ (In Pontypridd is my loved one), a folk tune from the very locality where we were meeting.
Travelling seems to inspire my composing, so since I had to visit the St Padarn’s site in Llandaf on the Wednesday of the Summer School, I decided that then would be a good opportunity to work on the hymn. There was a strike on the trains that day, so the hymn was composed on the bus to Landaf and back – so my thanks are due to Stagecoach South Wales for their patronage!
Below is a translation from the original Welsh. Owing to the heavy rhyming demands, it diverts quite a lot from the original in places, but I hope that it preserves the theme and the spirit of the words inspired on that bus.
Our Father, may your caring
for all inspire our daring
to love a world that’s gone astray,
our lives your way declaring.
Our Brother Jesus, break us,
then in your form re-make us,
who learn to love both friend and foe:
to that tomorrow take us.
Come Spirit, friend, endower
of strength to those who cower:
give us that yearning for what’s right
no might can overpower.
In Trinity before us
you challenge and implore us
to save the world you made as good:
to what should be, restore us.