MWM: First Thing

[This is an installment in the Monday Worship Music series.  Find other, related posts through this link.]

Many years ago, I was inspired — and here, I use the word in a quasi-secular manner, although I don’t discount, at least at points, that God might have been directly involved in “inspiring” — to write a bunch of songs.   Only a few of these have ever been used outside my own direct sphere of influence.  Furthermore, considering the few songs I’ve created in more recent years, although they’ve all seemed worthwhile at the time, appear not to be stylistically attractive these days.  Some of my creations were probably never destined to be sung, even if I’d been given the right opportunity at the right time years ago.  One such song is “First Thing in the Morning,” composed between 17 and 19 years ago.

Based on stanzas 1,2,5, and 6 of Isaac Watts’s “Early, My God, Without Delay,” my own “First Thing in the Morning” is a loose paraphrase-and-excursus that initially grew out of my admiration for Watts’s expressions.  As the song developed, it also came to incorporate thoughts from Psalm 63, which has long been a favorite.  The work is specifically conceived for four finely honed voices — three trebles and one light tenor who can also sing in the baritone range with some authority.  The harmonies are very close, difficult for even most professional musicians, and can still give me goose pimples . . . but I don’t expect that they would strike others similarly.  Truth be told, the music is kind of un-doable.  (Ever heard of an old vocal group called “First Call”?  If they were still in existence and added a fourth voice, they could do it, but no one else I’ve ever heard could.)

Considered overall, this song is a series of connected meditations and amounts to a personal offering that did (does) a world of good for my own spirit but was never destined for a wider audience.  (It’s ironic that I was originally sensing that the Watts verse needed a musical face lift in order to be presentable to the then-contemporary church.  Now, this musical creation is out of style, if it ever was in style!)

With all this ado, I offer here the words and then the first few bars of the music.  Mostly, I would be pleased for readers to share the words with me here, and perhaps worship in spirit.

First thing in the morning, my God —
I will not delay.
I rush to seek Your face!
First thing in the morning, my God —
I rush to seek Your (holy) face!
~ ~ ~
Here I am in the midst of worship;
My eyes are open wide.
Here I am in the midst of worshipping You;
I thirst inside!
~ ~ ~
Seeing You and drinking of You are the most excellent things in my life.
You are my God — Jehovah-Provider — quenching me when life is dry.
~ ~ ~
Father, I hunger.
I can’t get enough of You.
You’re the only One Who satisfies.
After the thunder,
Oh, drench me in Your Spirit’s rain,
Or I will be like one who dies.
~ ~ ~
The best things in life can’t even come close to stirring my soul.
(O my soul, bless the Lord!)
The best things in life can’t even get a song running through my mind.
~ ~ ~
So as long as I live, I will live to make You happy.
And my worship I will give, knowing Your protection and love.
I will worship You with all of my being,
Lifting my hands,
All of me freeing.
I will worship You, Lord, truly with my ev’rything.
Wanting to meet You in spirit, to honor my King.
~ ~ ~
First thing in the morning, my God. . . .

“First Thing in the Morning”  words and music by Brian Casey, © 1994-1996 Encounter Music.

First Thing in the Morning *incipit* — approximately 1/8 of the entire song
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