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In the bulb there is a flower.

But, Mom, I don't want to sing these songs. They're so-o-o-o boring!"

It was in response to such a cry from her daughter that Natalie Sleeth took up the challenge of writing hymns. Sleeth grew up in a musical family where she began piano lessons at age four and later majored in music theory. She wrote many hymns and songs; in particular, hymns for children and young people (see #466 "Praise the Lord With the Sound of Trumpet," #622 "Go Now in Peace," #755 "Go Ye, Go Ye Into the World" and #761 "Who's Goin' to Tell the Story?").

The text of "In the Bulb There Is a Flower" (#674) came to her as she reflected on the contrasts in life and death, spring and winter. She planted a tulip bulb to watch it become a flower. The pairing of the words bulb and flower, song and silence, end and beginning points to continuity in the midst of seeming discontinuity.

This hymn was first sung in 1985 as part of a choir festival concert but has since become a congregational song. In the midst of the January blahs or the dry, dreary times in our lives, this hymn reminds us of God's promise of new life and "at the last, a victory."

Judee Archer Green is an associate secretary, Education for Discipleship, and a member of the task force to revise The Book of Praise.
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Author:Green, Judee A.
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Date:Jan 1, 1998
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