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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist



February 8, 2019

Colours of what do what?

evelyn @ 3:48 pm

Colours of day dawn into the mind,
The sun has come up, the night is behind.
Go down in the city, into the street,
And let’s give the message to the people we meet.

So light up the fire and let the flame burn,
Open the door, let Jesus return.
Take seeds of His Spirit, let the fruit grow,
Tell the people of Jesus, let His love show.

Go through the park, on into the town;
The sun still shines on, it never goes down.
The light of the world is risen again;
The people of darkness are needing a friend.

Open your eyes, look into the sky,
The darkness has come, the Son came to die.
The evening draws on, the sun disappears,
But Jesus is living, His Spirit is near.

Recently, I was asked to play ‘Colours of Day’ at a funeral. ‘Colours’ is a fairly early post-Vatican II offering, which seems to have remained reasonably popular generally and is sometimes requested at funerals. However, it has to be a careful choice; its chorus – ‘light up the fire and let the flame burn’ – is definitely NOT appropriate for a cremation.

As I played, I reflected on the words, which have always seemed to me to be rather strange.

What are the colours of day, anyway? ‘Dawn’ suggests they might be sunrise colours, but ‘into the mind’? Does the stuff about darkness being behind mean a mental transformation? Dark night of the soul and all that?

Just when one starts thinking that this is deep mystical musing, and not for the Philistines, the whole thing turns prosaic. We are told to ‘go down in the city, into the street’ and in verse 2, to ‘go through the park, on into the town …’. Someone has said the next line should be ‘Turn right at Tesco’s …’

In verse 2 ‘the light of the world is risen again’ but in verse 3 ‘the Son came to die’ and ‘the sun disappears’. Shouldn’t these be the other way round? Or might there be an underlying morning-midday-evening sequence, as in ‘I watch the sunrise’? All very puzzling.

As far as the music itself is concerned, it’s just a seventies’ ditty, but the whole thing was written by no fewer than three people!



So light up the fire …

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