Hot Off the Pres! | Volume 11

Cwm Rhondda

Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch
Fi bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynwy' nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, hollalluog,
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.

Myfi grwydrais hir flynyddau,
Ac heb weled codi'r wawr;
Anobaithiais, heb dy allu,
Ddod o'r anial dir yn awr;
Dere dy hunan, dere dy hunan,
Dyna'r pryd y dof i maes.

Rho’r golofn dannos i'm harwain,
A’r golofn niwl y dydd;
Dal fi pan bwy’n teithio’r mannau
Geirwon yn fy ffordd y sydd:
Rho i mi fanna, rho i mi fanna,
Fel na bwyf i lwfwrhau.

Agor y ffynhonnau melys
Sydd yn tarddu o’r Graig i ma's;
'R hyd yr anial mawr canlyned
Afon iechydwriaeth gras:
Rho i mi hynny, rho i mi hynny,
Dim imi ond dy fwynhau.

Pan bwy’n myned trwy’r Iorddonen,
Angau creulon yn ei rym,
Ti est trwyddi gynt dy hunan,
Pam yr ofna'i bellach ddim?
Buddugoliaeth, buddugoliaeth,
Gwna imi waeddi yn y llif!

Mi ymddirieda' yn dy allu,
Mawr yw’r gwaith a wnest erioed:
Ti gest angau, ti gest uffern,
Ti gest Satan dan dy droed:
Pen Calfaria, Pen Calfaria,
Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof.

Lord, guide me through the wilderness,
A pilgrim weak of aspect,
There is neither strength nor life in me,
As though lying in the grave,
It is Thou who shalt take me to that shore.

I wandered for long years,
And saw not the break of dawn;
I despaired, without Thy strength,
Ever to leave the desert land;
Do Thou grant,
The occasion to escape.

Give Thou a pillar of fire to lead me in the night,
And a pillar of mist in the day,
Hold me when I travel places
Which are rough on the way,
Give me manna,
Thus shall I not despair.

Open the sweet springs
Which gush forth from the rock,
All across the great wilderness
May a river of healing grace follow:
Give this to me
Not for me but for Thy sake.

When I go through Jordan -
Cruel death in its force -
Thou Thyself suffered this before,
Why shall I fear further?
Let me cry out in the torrent.

I shall trust in Thy power,
Great is the work that Thou hast always done,
Thou conquered death, Thou conquered hell,
Thou hast crushed Satan beneath Thy feet,
Hill of Calvary,
This shall never escape from my memory.

Cwm Rhondda, taken from the Welsh name for the Rhondda Valley, is a popular hymn tune written by John Hughes (1873–1932) in 1907.

It is usually used in English as a setting for William Williams' text Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer (or, in some traditions, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah), originally Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch ("Lord, lead me through the wilderness") in Welsh. The tune and hymn are often called Bread of Heaven because of a line in the English translation.

In Welsh the tune is most commonly used as a setting for a hymn by Ann Griffiths, Wele'n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd ("Lo, between the myrtles standing,").

The hymn describes the experience of God's people in their travel through the wilderness from the escape from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12–14), being guided by a cloud by day and a fire by night (Exodus 13:17–22) to their final arrival forty years later in the land of Canaan (Joshua 3). During this time their needs were supplied by God, including the daily supply of manna (Exodus 16).

The hymn text forms an allegory for the journey of a Christian throughout their life on earth requiring the Redeemer's guidance and ending at the gates of Heaven (the verge of Jordan) and end of time (death of death and hell's destruction).

Instances of use
The hymn has been sung on various British state occasions, such as the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and the weddings of Prince William and Catherine Middleton and of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The hymn is also featured prominently in the soundtrack to How Green Was My Valley, directed by John Ford. It is also featured at the beginning of The African Queen (film), with Katharine Hepburn singing and playing the organ. Only Men Aloud! also sang an arrangement by Tim Rhys-Evans and Jeffrey Howard on the BBC 1 Show Last Choir Standing in 2008.

There are many versions of this hymn available for your listening pleasure. I've included three for your listening pleasure. Just click on their name.

A male voice choir from Wales

A mezzo-soprano from Wales

The 1941 film directed by John Ford, based on the
novel of the same name by Richard Llewellyn.
(Note from Shelley: this is one of my top ten movies of all time)

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou are mighty;
hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain,
where the healing waters flow.
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
ever be my strength and shield,
ever be my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death, and hell's destruction,
land me safe on Canaan's side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to Thee,
I will ever give to Thee.

The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990)
These long secluded days can make life stressful at times.
This message is to help you slow things down and reflect on
what is truly important. Join us in discovering the power of
prayer and reflection, so that we may all reap
the benefits of a spiritual life.
Judy Rowland, thank you for today's inspiration!!

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