Do you know who Eleanor Farjeon is?
I did not, but today is her birthday. Per Wikipedia: Eleanor Farjeon was an English author of children’s stories and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire. Many of her works had charming illustrations by Edward Ardizzone. Some of her correspondence has also been published.
The reason I’m bringing up Eleanor Farjeon is because I saw information posted about her on a Facebook page this morning. I didn’t stop because of her name, or her birthday, but because lines from a children’s hymn she wrote were posted. A hymn she wrote in 1931 that you probably know and love.
Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word!
Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in the completeness where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with the elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day!
Now this hymn has special meaning to me, which is what made me stop and notice this morning. As many of you know, and for those who don’t, I am a musician. I started playing guitar when I was five. Before I could read, even. And sometime around 3rd, 4th, 5th grade I played this hymn in church – solo me – on guitar. I remember so clearly standing up on the stage (sorry, if that isn’t the correct church term, I’m not so churchy anymore), with me guitar playing away with Cat Stevens singing in my head.
It was quite a moment. I’m sure that wasn’t my first time playing, as a matter of fact, I remember playing a lot in grade school. For assemblies, for show & tell, even sitting in art class. I used to sit and play while the other kids were working on projects. Looking back I led quite a different life. But standing up there in the quiet church playing in front of the congregation was really something. That feeling has stuck with me all these years. And that song always touches my heart.
Happy birthday, Eleanor. And thank you.
Me, circa 1973