I’ve a wonderful collection of old hymn books, many inherited from my dear friend Fr Mark Dalby. I haven’t room on the Rectory book shelves for them so they occupy two selves in the church office at St Chrysostom’s. Looking through them recently I came across ‘a hymn to be sung at the blessing of a home.’ That’s not a subject heading, I think, in many modern hymn books!
Well, for many years we’ve encouraged home and house blessings at St Chrysostom’s so I thought this could be a worthy addition to the toolbox of items to be possibly used at home blessings.
Although ‘Bless the four corners of this home,’ is sometimes described as an Irish house blessing the words are in fact those of the American poet and writer, Arthur Guiterman (1871 – 1943). It had a short life as a hymn, appearing first in 1935 and not being found in hymn books after the 50s. Its limited popularity appears confined to the United States. Here is the hymn with music:
We decided to ‘resurrect’ the hymn and bring it to British shores! So after Benediction on Epiphany Sunday Paul and Kenson organised us in singing, and recording, the hymn. We had great fun doing it. Paul led the singing, accompanied by Kenson, and they did a splendid job. All present joined in with the last phrase. Thank you to Paul and Kenson and to all who sang. Our recording is now available on YouTube so anyone can hear it. We invite you to Click here to hear it.
So if you are not inclined to do a more elaborate blessing of your home, we wrote of earlier in the blog (see here) here’s a simple suggestion. With a nice cup of tea, or a glass of wine, relax, perhaps light a candle, and listen to the singers offering the prayer as they sing in St Chrysostom’s Church, and make the words a prayer of blessing for your home too.