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HYMN 187 High upon a Mountain/Top of the World

Swedish: Högt på ett berg

Text: Kurt and Roland (Swedish country gospel) Tune: Richard Carpenter "Top of the World"

1. Think how wonderful to know

To be free to do all that we would

Think of walking all about, in the sun, on a beach

Hearing breezes softly whispering your name.

I cannot stop thinking all about

That you give me summer, sun and skies of blue

I hear music and I see how we laugh and we smile

And we sing about the beauty that you make.

R/I’m sitting high upon a mountain and I’m looking

Far across creation, I see forest, I see meadows and the sea

I see people so small and it helps me understand

We need all you do, especially me.

2. Many do not think that you exist

But I know you both can feel and know

When we see all you do, both the small and the large

I am thankful that you really think of me.

Just think if everyone knew what I know.

For it is no secret

All the freedom and the joy you give each one

R/

Tr. Gracia Grindal--rough, it cannot be sung to the tune yet


1. Tänk vad skönt att bara finnas till

Vara fri att göra allt det som man vill

Tänk att gå sakta fram, under sol, på en strand

Höra vinden stilla viska fram ditt namn

Jag kan inte sluta tänka på

Allt Du ger mig sommar, sol och himmel blå

Jag hör sång och jag ser, hur man skrattar och ler

Och man sjunger om det sköna som Du ger

R/Jag sitter, högt på ett berg och tittar

Utöver jorden, jag ser skogar, jag ser ängar, jag ser hav

Jag ser människor små, och jag börjar att förstå

Vi behöver alla Dig och särskilt jag


2. Många vet ej om Din existens

Men jag tycker att Du både syns och känns

När jag ser allt Du gjort, både litet och stort

Blir jag tacksam att Du tänker just på mig.

Tänk om alla visste vad jag vet

Ja, det är ju inte alls nån' hemlighet

Att den frihet och glädje jag har alla

Dar' Ja, den vill Du ge till alla och en var

R/Jag sitter, högt på ett berg och tittar

Utöver jorden, jag ser skogar, jag ser ängar, jag ser hav

Jag ser människor små, och jag börjar att förstå

Vi behöver alla Dig och särskilt jag


MEDITATION

"Why should the devil have all the good tunes?" Martin Luther on using secular tunes for his hymns is reported to have asked. (We aren’t quite sure about this.) Yesterday I used a hymn by Martin Luther from 1524 in which he used a very familiar pilgrim hymn at the time for his new text. People now have for the most part forgotten the old text, and if they remember anything, associate it with Luther’s hymn text. Today I am going forward five hundred years where the same thing happens quite frequently. Plus the theme of this song is not too different from the Wesley hymn, "Jesus, Lover of my Soul."

I have been fascinated for some time with the Swedish gospel tradition going back to Lina Sandell. There is, in Scandinavia, as I have noted with Skjærgårds Gospel in Norway, a vigorous community of Christians, choirs, groups, and aficionados, who gather for gospel festivals and sing Gospel music or listen to some of the best groups who do so. It is where Sissel comes from, the SKRUK choir. The Oslo Gospel choir does the same and new groups appear with regularity.


Karen and Richard Carpenter

The story of this song is fascinating. "Top of the World", it was written in the early 1970s by the Carpenters. Karen sang it with her velvety contralto. It is a love song to the beloved. There is no clear reference to God in it, but there is no reason it cannot be a love song to Jesus.

The song in Swedish is more clearly a praise song, praising the creator for his works and the friendship of Jesus and all he gives us. At least that is the way the Gospel singers hear it. The Wesley hymn is much more intimate in its imagery than this. But its idea is the same although the focus is different. It looks at us and describes our feelings. When we are in love with another human being, everything is changed. One’s whole life and being is moved by something outside of ourselves for once! That is what is so wonderful about being in love.

So also, when we know Jesus. Many who have come to know him suddenly in a conversion experience like Charles Wesley and millions of others have felt their lives turn around and the center of their universe shift away from themselves to God, their creator, redeemer and comforter. The Greek word for conversion is metanoia, meaning a complete turning around. As Pat, one of our Bible study members said, when that happened to her, it was as though the world, which had been an old black and white photo, suddenly turned into technicolor. And so we sing praise!

HYMN INFO

In the 1970s a Swedish gospel duo Kurt and Roland went to Nashville, where all gospel and country singers end up one day or another. They wrote Swedish words to the Carpenter hit, “Top of the World” “Högt på ett berg.” It became a hit among Swedish gospel singers and has been sung by a variety of the most well-known singers as you will see below.


It has been fun to go back and see how the estimation of the Carpenters has grown. The tragic death in 1983 of Karen to anorexia was a great loss to pop music. Karen and Richard, her brother, went to school in California State College in Long Beach. She excelled in drumming, and he studied keyboards and composition. As they rose to prominence they worked with luminaries like Herb Alpert, Burt Bachararach, and many others. They were once thought to be too clean cut and shallow in their songs and music. People are now noticing that his compositions are well wrought with sophisticated harmonies and rhythms. Richard continues to write new compositions and rework their old songs. The songs have been translated into many languages, and many have been set to new texts, like this one. See what you think.

LINKS

Carina, Jard and Magnus Samuelson

https://youtu.be/l_1Rh0HGnNA

Lena Maria

https://youtu.be/PhSQe9Gmfz8

Kurt and Roland

https://youtu.be/NIsZvVTl620


Swedish Minns du Sången--like the Gaither Homecoming gatherings

https://youtu.be/oUHx-ttbJtE


The Carpenters/you can read the English text on this site

https://youtu.be/yUMAmI5YcBQ



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