Colours of Day / Light up the Fire

This is a folk-style song about the resurrection, which makes heavy use of the metaphor of Jesus as the light or the "sun of God".   It is regarded by some people as a children's hymn, while others use it with all age groups.

This song was written by Parchment (who were originally called Trinity Folk - ref).  This was British religious folk band which played together between 1972 and 1978.  Members Sue McClellan, John Paculabo and Keith Rycroft are equally credited as the composer/author.  The published title is "Light up the Fire" - but it has become known over the years as "Colours of Day".

As "Light up the Fire", the song was the title track of Parchment's first LP, released in 1972.  It was the winner of a competition to choose a theme song for the 'Nationwide Festival of Light', an event held by a grassroots movement formed by British Christians concerned about the changes in society towards the end of the 1960s.  Releasing the song as a single was (one of?) the prize(s) for winning this competition, and this briefly reached number 31 in the UK charts (the general charts, not Christian-music specific).   The B-side of the recording contained the almost unknown Let There be Light in the Land.

As a hymn, it has attracted a certain amount of scorn from both serious musicians and liturgists. Equally, there are stories from people who have found that it to be life-changing.

Sheet music is available from some in-print hymnals, including:
but no other published versions have been located.



Church congregation, lead by a music group with guitar accompaniment:

Solo singer with backing track:

Instrumental: piano with energetic organ backing:


The lyrics are copyright, so cannot be reproduced here in full.

The tune is in 3/4 time, and often published in the key of G.   There are three verses, with four lines in each, and a there is a four-line chorus repeated between each verse.

A rough outline of the words is:
1   Colours of day dawn into the mind ... 
Chorus:  So light up fire and let the flame burn 
2  Go through the park, on into the town ... 
3  Open your eyes, look into the sky ....

See more ... 


  1. I was at a church in Paisley in the early 1970's and Parchment, the Christian group who wrote this song, were singing at the church that night. I remember Sue sang in her bare feet! It's lovely that it has become part of the fabric of all church worship.

  2. I was in my early teens. I heard 'Light up the Fire' sang at what was at the time called a 'Jesus Rally'. at the Ardingly Showgrounds. Considering I heard it only once, I have remained deeply moved by it- I think Cliff Richard hi-jacked part of it. I hope the writers have received the credit they've deserved for this iconic hymn.