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The Still Small Voice
Hymns by Patricia Blaze Clark

Hymn text collection

Author Patricia Blaze Clark
Released July 2005
Catalog no. 125-425 (Soft-cover, 48 pp.)
Price $12 (U.S.)

Read the Foreword by Russell Schulz, and the Introduction by Patricia Clark. Download an excerpt of this book.

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Review
"In this excellent collection of Clark's hymns we are introduced to a significant voice that nurtures our spirits. Helpful footnotes throughout the collection include: Possible tunes (many by contemporary tune writers), Lectionary/Season, Scripture references, and Topics. The subject sections are Welcome, Creation, Incarnation, Refreshment, Discipleship, and Resurrection.

Clark is committed to using economy of words in her texts. Clark gifts us with original and meaningful expressions as she affirms our call to live our faith in today's world. This call resounds in the last four lines of her text, 'Not in the Whirlwind's Chilling Death,
     That still, small voice, persistent call,
     still echoes down the days,
     its gentleness still urges all
     to follow in God's ways.

The text, 'Wisdom Freed a Holy People,' helps us praise God as we sing 'new-born people' witnessing 'Wisdom's mighty word.' The beginning of 'Even When Young' uplifts 'wisdom's grace.'
     Even when young, I praised for wisdom's grace;
     in temple courts I sought her day and night,
     and I will seek her to the very end;
     she is my heart's delight.

Clark uses original names for God. In 'Spirit Moving Over Chaos' she continues the next three verses with naming God Breath, Wind, Power, and Lifeforce, Inspiration. Her text, 'Nameless Women' sings of the many nameless women who still are 'paving roads as yet untrod.' She also uses a lovely metaphor in the refrain of 'When Love Is New.'
     To all love's seasons God imparts some special grace,
     as hearts, entwined, grow strong in Love's embrace;
     life-giving blooms swell into fruits of promise,
     enclosing seeds of love that shelter Heaven's kiss.

Among texts affirming feminine qualities of the divine is 'Jesus, Gentle Mother.' Here she likens Jesus to a mother gathering her brood, weeping for our failures, tending our ills, and feeding us with 'pure milk, giving us our fill.'

We welcome Pat Clark's creative expression, which further enriches the church's song." --The Hymn, Summer 2006

Description
The first hymn collection of this gifted poet.

Introduction by Patricia Blaze Clark
This collection represents my first attempts at hymn-writing. It all began when, as a seminary student, I was given the assignment: "Write a Hymn." The guidelines were rather flexible and the professor indicated that we might use a favorite scripture passage as a starting point. I chose the 1 Kings passage that tells of the "still, small voice" of God. It appealed to me because that is how I have always perceived divine inspiration getting my attention. When it came time to choose a title for this publication, I sought my husband's counsel. He asked me what I called my first hymn and there it was: "The Still Small Voice"!

I credit the initial encouragement in this endeavor as having come from my seminary liturgical music professor, Russell Schulz. After he read my hymn text--having covered the page with ubiquitous suggestions--he further suggested that I should do more of it. I was later encouraged by Carl Daw, when I attended a hymn-writers' workshop, and by Brian Wren, during a continuing education summer program. All along the way I have been supported and cheered on by family and friends (especially my husband), as well as colleagues in the hymn-writing business. The latest affirmation came from David Schaap who approached me about putting together this collection for publication. To him and to all who have brought me to this day, I am grateful. And, in no small degree, I owe eternal thanks to "The Still Small Voice" that continues to sing in me.

--Patricia Blaze Clark
Austin, Texas

Foreword by Russell Schulz
That Patricia Blaze Clark named this collection The Still Small Voice comes as no surprise. The holiness of modesty and of ordinary things is one of her favorite themes. Every one of her hymns grows out of a faithful hope in the people who sing them--ordinary folks let loose in the real world, called by God to attempt being the church.

Pat Clark writes directly, because she intends to find people where they are and help them sing their faith. She inevitably will choose real character over pretension and she trusts theological clarity over the rush of inspiration. She's glad if her hymns are more precise than exuberant, more joyous than cheery, more thoughtful than breathtaking, because she banks on the participation of the singer's interior still, small voice.

Here is a hymn-writer who is imaginative and works out her ideas with a steady and facile hand. She never forgets who will use her finished product. She respects them and gives them something good. Hers is a voice we need amidst the present whirlwind of congregational song.

With one accord,
made in God’s image,
come in community, welcoming all.
(“People of God,” page 20)

Welcome to The Still Small Voice.

--Russell Schulz
Austin, Texas

 

 

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