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O for a world where everyone.

Sometimes, when I hear the evening news, I think the opening verse of the hymn "O for a World Where Everyone" might be our prayer:

"O for a world where everyone

respects each other's ways,

where love is lived and all is done

with justice and with praise."

The text is one of many written by Miriam Therese Winter. Her most popular song is "Joy Is Like the Rain." Winter is a member of the Roman Catholic order of Medical Mission Sisters, and she has been writing biblical songs since the time of Vatican II in the 1960s. A professor at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, she studied in Washington D.C., at Princeton in New Jersey, and at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. While studying at McMaster, she was hired by St. Paul's Presbyterian Church to develop a youth choir and introduce the congregation to contemporary hymnology. She is also the author of articles on liturgy and music as well as of resources for worship featuring women of the Bible. Woman Word (1990) focuses on women of the New Testament; Woman Wisdom (1991) and Woman Witness (1992) feature women of the Hebrew Scriptures.

"O for a World Where Everyone" is rich in references to Scripture. With help from the Scripture index, I found a dozen, including: Isaiah 9:1-7 and 11:6-9, Matthew 5:3-4, Luke 6:20-21, Romans 15:7, I Corinthians 1:18-30, Ephesians 3:14-15 and 4:15, Colossians 3:25, Revelation 21:1-6.

The melody was written by Carl G. Glaser in 1828 in Germany. An American, Lowell Mason, adapted it and gave it the name Azmon, Hebrew for "fortress." He used it for a psalm setting, "Come, Let Us Lift Our Joyful Eyes." This tune is often used with the text "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing." It appeared in both the 1897 and 1918 editions of The Book of Praise under the name Denfield.

This hymn is appropriate for Christian Family Sunday and for any other occasion when issues of peace, justice, love and unity are highlighted.

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:May 1, 1998
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