277. God Who Spoke in the Beginning

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Text Information
First Line: God who spoke in the beginning
Title: God Who Spoke in the Beginning
Author: Fred H. Kaan (1968)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 87 87 87
Scripture: Genesis 1; Hebrews 1:1-2; Hebrews 1:2
Topic: King, God/Christ as; Word of God
Language: English
Copyright: © 1968, Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission
Tune Information
Name: ALL SAINTS (WEISSE FLAGGEN)
Meter: 87 87 87
Key: B♭ Major
Source: Tochter Sion, Cologne, 1741


Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gen. 1-2
st. 2 = Heb. 1:1-2

Fred (Frederick Herman) Kaan (b. Haarlem, the Netherlands, 1929) skillfully conveys through his hymn text that when God speaks, things happen. God spoke the creation into being (st. 1); God has spoken throughout history and supremely through Christ, the Son (st. 2); and God still speaks today through the Word Incarnate (Christ) and through the words and deeds of Christians who are stirred to action through his Holy Spirit (st. 3).

Under the title 'The First and Final Word" the text was first published in Pilgrim Prais (1968), a compilation of Kaan's hymns.

Baptized in the historic St. Bavo Church in Haarlem, Kaan began his theological education at the University of Utrecht but moved to England in 1952 and completed his studies at Bristol University. Ordained by the (now) United Reformed Church in 1955, he served the Windsor Road Congregational Church in Barry, Wales (1955¬1963), and the Pilgrim Church, Plymouth, England (1963-1968). From 1968 to 1978 he was initially minister-secretary of the International Congregational Council in Geneva, Switzerland, and then executive secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Church. He returned to England in 1978 to become the moderator of the Western Midlands Province of the United Reformed Church, after which he served the Central Church in Swindon and the Penhill United Reformed Church (1985-1989).

As an ecumenist Kaan has associations with Christian communities and social action groups throughout the world. He began to write hymns because he wanted to "fill the gaps" not covered by traditional hymnals especially in the area of the social responsibility demanded by the gospel. Considered one of the important contributors to the recent "explosion" in English hymn writing, Kaan has written some two hundred hymns and translations. His hymns were collected in Pilgrim Praise (1968,1972), Break Not the Circle (1975), The Hymn Texts of Fred Kaan (1985), and Planting Trees and Sowing Seeds (1989), as well as in most recent hymnals. Kaan's 1984 doctoral dissertation (Geneva Theological College) is called "Emerging Language in Hymnody."

Liturgical Use:
Probably most useful before or after the sermon, but also suitable in many other contexts.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

ALL SAINTS is a stately tune with a demanding harmony that a good singing congregation or choir will want to sing in parts. See PHH 230 for background information on , ALL SAINTS; the setting there is also in a lower key.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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