Text:In the Beginning
Author (st. 1-6):Hanna Lam
Translator:Sietze Buning
Composer:Wim ter Burg
Harmonizer:Bert Polman
Media:MIDI file

151. In the Beginning

Text Information
First Line: In the beginning the whole world was gloomy
Title: In the Beginning
Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam (1966)
Translator: Sietze Buning (1982)
Meter: 11 9 11 9
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ;
Topic: Songs for Children: Bible Songs; Creation; Word of God
Copyright: Text and music © 1982 Paideia Press
Tune Information
Composer: Wim ter Burg (1966)
Harmonizer: Bert Polman (1982)
Meter: 11 9 11 9
Key: F Major
Copyright: Text and music © 1982, Paideia Press

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gen. 1:1-5
st. 2 = Gen. 1:6-8
st. 3 = Gen. 1:9-13
st. 4 = Gen. 1:14-19
st. 5 = Gen. 1:20-25
st. 6 = Gen. 1:26-31
st. 7 = Gen. 2:1-3

Somewhat similar to Psalm 104, "In the Beginning" tells the creation story from Genesis 1 in verse form. The first six stanzas are devoted to the six days of creation. Stanza 7 focuses on the LORD's day of rest and turns this narrative song into a prayer for all of God's children. Stanzas 1-6 were originally written in Dutch by Hanna Lam and published in all four volumes of Alles wordt nieuw (1966-1978).

Johanna (Hanna) Lam (b. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1928; d. Bunnik, the Netherlands, 1988) collaborated with composer Wim ter Burg in the writing of these popular collections of songs based on biblical teachings and stories. Lam received a degree in social education from the University of Amsterdam and was committed to preparing worship songs for children, particularly in congregations where her husband served as pastor in the Hervormde Kerk; their last parish was in the community of Bunnik. The songs were initially intended for children, but they have been widely accepted and sung by adults as well.

Stanley Wiersma (PHH 25), using the pen name Sietze Buning, translated the first volume into English in 1982 with the title All Will Be New. That same year, he also provided a new stanza 7 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Creation-story focus; prayer services for crops and industry; harvest thanksgiving. The prayer in stanza 7 is appropriate for Labor Day and many other occasions in Christian worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Like many of the tunes by Dutch composer Willem (Wim) ter Burg (b. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1914; d. Maarn, 1995), IN BET BEGIN is childlike, easy to sing by adults and children alike. This is one of the tunes he composed for the original Dutch text by Hanna Lam that began with those words (hence, the tune name, which means "in the beginning").

Wim ter Burg was a music therapist in the Bartimeushage Instituut, a school for mentally and physically disabled students in Doorn, the Netherlands. He was cantor and organist in the Reformed Church in Baarn, and earlier served congregations in Enkhuizen, Amsterdam, and Nijmegen. Ter Burg composed most of the tunes for the four volumes of Alles wordt nieuw (1966-1978).

The keyboard accompaniment (1982) by Bert Polman (PHH 37) is for organ trio style or for piano. For variety, play the tune an octave higher on a light and gentle registration for stanzas 4 and/or 5. Flute, recorder, oboe, or violin are suitable descant instruments; the guitar chords also suggest ostinato patterns for Orff instruments. When singing the entire song, assign stanzas 1 through 6 to alternate groups within the congregation and have everyone sing stanza 7 in a stately manner.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages.

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