Saturday, 2 November 2013

A hymn for the Christmas Bowl appeal

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
a challenge here we see,
to share with neighbours in all lands
our one humanity.

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
may our commitment be
that peace and justice in all lands
shall be reality.

An empty bowl, uplifted hands:
to set the captives free
and joining people in all lands
in one community,

A cup of wine, uplifted hands:
O Christ, lead us to be
your body broken for all lands,
now and eternally!

Robert J. Faser, 1996, tunes: Winchester Old, TiS 299; Bangor, TiS 515ii

I wrote this hymn for the Christmas Bowl appeal (an appeal related to Act for Peace, the overseas aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia).  It has frequently appeared in the promotional kit for the Christmas Bowl from the time I wrote it in the mid-1990s until the present.  It uses the image of the Christmas Bowl logo (as seen in this link to the Christmas Bowl website) to speak of the work of the Christmas Bowl in promoting peace, justice, compassion, human rights, and a broader sense of global community.  The final verse seeks to link the Christmas Bowl to the Eucharistic heart of our Christian spirituality.

I originally had Bangor in mind as the tune for this hymn, but I thank Peter Weeks for the inspired suggestion of using Winchester Old ("While shepherds watched their flocks by night ...") as the tune for this hymn.  Winchester Old is now my preferred tune for this hymn.


  1. We need a new tune
    I could probably write it but am slow with such things...harmonies not always good!
    But like the lyrics

    1. Stephen, obviously a variety of tunes would be good. I don't think there's any difficulty with either of the existing tunes, though. Both are accessible to the sort of congregation that supports the Christmas Bowl.

  2. In response to a request for more information re the music (but without using the original request, for reasons of maintaining the privacy of the person's e-mail address:):

    The music for this hymn is found in most standard hymnbooks.

    The preferred tune "Winchester Old" is number 299 in Together in Song and number 223 in the Australian Hymn Book.

    The alternate tune "Bangor" can be found at number 515 in TiS or number 436 in the AHB.

    If you have problems getting a full-music copy of either book, please check with any Uniting Church minister or Anglican priest, or any organist at a Uniting Church or Anglican congregation.

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes with your Christmas Bowl launch.


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