This is an amazing little piece.
Written by William Billings, a 17th century composer from Boston, it is musically lush; according to Between the Lines, Billings was known for his ‘fuguing tunes’ as well as writing songs and choral pieces in support of the Revolution (he is considered to be the first American choral composer).
This tune is a pleasure to sing, and even more a pleasure to hear. And the lyrics are so simple yet so complex:
When Jesus wept, the falling tear
in mercy flowed beyond all bound.
When Jesus groaned, a trembling fear
seized all the guilty world around.
There are about a dozen sermons in those four lines, and I am feeling disinclined to write much of anything about it today (unlike yesterday when I gave you a sermon). Instead, I will leave you with this beautiful rendition: