Feast of Robert Murray (December 10)   1 comment

Flag of Canada 1868-1921

Above:  Flag of Canada, 1868-1921

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERT MURRAY (DECEMBER 25, 1832-DECEMBER 10, 1910)

Canadian Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

Some people set out upon a course–a godly one–yet find themselves pursuing a different path–also a godly one.  That statement applies to Robert Murray (1832-1910).

Our saint was a child of John William Murray and Christina Matheson Murray, who emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia in 1822.  He, born at Earltown, near Truro, Nova Scotia, on Christmas Day, 1832, was a talented you who read theology and composed poetry prior to his tenth birthday.  Murray seemed destined for parish ministry when he graduated from the Halifax Free Church College and received a license to preach.  He became an editor instead.

From 1855, when Murray was 22 years old, to 1910, when he died, our saint edited the Presbyterian Witness (1841-1925).  During our saint’s tenure the affiliation of the Witness changed due to a series of ecclesiastical unions.  It went from being a publication of the Synod of the Free Church of Nova Scotia (1844-1860) to one of the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia (1860-1866) to one of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of the Lower Provinces (1866-1875) to one of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (1875-1925).  Murray, who supported Canadian confederation (not a universally popular political change, especially in Nova Scotia) in 1867, advocated church union.  Part of this Protestant ecumenism was, for him, a product of anti-Roman Catholicism.  Murray, also an opponent of Anglo-Catholicism, which he considered destructive to souls, was a man of his time, culture, and subculture.  I, as a post-Vatican II Episcopalian with Roman Catholic tendencies, invoke my Anglican collegiality, thereby recognizing him as a saint while offering no excuses for his anti-Catholicism.  Murray, who died fifteen years before the formation of The United Church of Canada in 1925 from Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations, probably would have supported that union also, for he favored the union of all Protestant denominations in Canada.

Our saint married Elizabeth Carey (1835-1920) on August 24, 1867.  The couple had seven children, five of whom survived into adulthood.

Murray, a hymn writer, composed at least seven hymns.  He also published hymns in the Presbyterian Witness, with only “M.” to identify the author.  He sought to avoid giving the impression of claiming equality with other Canadian poets.

Our saint died at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on December 10, 1925.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILL CAMPBELL, AGENT OF RECONCILIATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT LIPHARDUS OF ORLEANS AND URBICIUS OF MEUNG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MORAND OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND MISSIONARY

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Robert Murray and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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One response to “Feast of Robert Murray (December 10)

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  1. Pingback: Robert Murray | GATHERED PRAYERS

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