Archive for the ‘The Methodist Hymnal (1966)’ Category

Beneath the Forms of Outward Rite   2 comments

Above:  St. John’s Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.

Image in the Public Domain

Text (published in 1928) by James Arnold Blaisdell (1867-1957), U.S. Congregationalist Minister and President of Pomona College, Claremont, California

Hymn Source = The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), The Methodist Church


Beneath the forms of outward rite

Thy supper, Lord, is spread

In every quiet upper room

Where fainting souls are fed.


The bread is always consecrate

Which men divide with men;

And every act of brotherhood

Repeats thy feast again.


The blessed cup is only passed

True memory of thee,

When life anew pours out its wine

With rich sufficiency.


O Master, through these symbols shared,

Thine own dear self impart,

That in our daily life may flame

The passion of thy heart.


Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown   1 comment

We Would See Jesus   2 comments

Christ Pantocrator

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Source = The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-)

Text (1913) by John Edgar Park (1879-1956)

The conflation of the birth narratives from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in the first stanza annoys me.  Two years or so separate those stories.


We would see Jesus; lo! his star is shining

Above the stable while the angels sing;

There in a manger on the hay reclining;

Haste, let us lay our gifts before the King.


We would see Jesus, Mary’s son most holy,

Light of the village life from day to day;

Shining revealed through every task most lowly,

The Christ of God, the life, the truth, the way.


We would see Jesus, in the mountain teaching,

With all the listening people gathered around;

While birds and flowers and sky above are preaching

The blessedness which simple trust has found.


We would see Jesus, in his work of healing,

At eventide before the sun was set;

Divine and human, in his deep revealing,

Of God and man in loving service met.


We would see Jesus; in the early morning

Still as of old he calleth, “Follow me”;

Let us arise, all meaner service scorning:

Lord, we are thine, we give ourselves to thee.

Almighty Father, Who Dost Give   2 comments

Christ Pantocrator Icon

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Text (1922) by John Howard Bertram Masterman (1867-1933), Anglican Bishop of Plymouth (1923-1933)

Hymn Source = The Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1941)

The Christian Youth Hymnal (1948) contains three of the four stanzas and lists the second stanza as the first and the first stanza as the third.

The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966) uses only the first three stanzas and reorders them:  2, 3, 1.  The hymn becomes, “Lift Up Our Hearts, O King of Kings.”

I care about what people wrote and in what order they arranged their stanzas.


1.  Almighty Father, who dost give

The gift of life to all who live,

Look down on all earth’s sin and strife,

And lift us to a holier life.

2.  Lift up our hearts, O King of kings,

To brighter hopes and kindlier things;

To visions of a larger good,

And holier dreams of brotherhood.

3.  Thy world is weary of its pain,

Of selfish greed and fruitless gain,

Of tarnished honor, falsely strong,

And all its ancient deeds of wrong.

4.  Hear Thou the prayer Thy servants pray,

Uprising from all lands today,

And o’er the vanquished powers of sin

O bring Thy great salvation in.

God the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest   2 comments

Apotheosis of War

Above:  Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereshchagin

Image in the Public Domain


This is a hymn for use in time of war.  Sadly, we human beings keep acting is ways which keep the sentiments of the hymn current.


This is one of those great Anglican contributions to English-language hymnody.



The story begins with Henry Fothergill Chorley (1808-1872), a Quaker-born novelist, playwright, libretticist, and literary and music critic in London, England, the United Kingdom.  In 1842 he published a hymn, “God, the All-Terrible! Thou Who Ordainest.”  My sources identified the the publication as having occurred in Part Music (1842), by John Pike Hullah (1812-1884).  A search at led me to my reprint of the Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes (Henry Ward Beecher, Plymouth Congregational Church, Brooklyn, New York, 1855), where I found these verses:

1.  God, the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest

Thunder Thy clarion, and lightning Thy sword;

Show forth Thy pity on high where Thou reignest,

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

2.  God, the Omnipotent! mighty Avenger,

Watching invisible, judging unheard;

Save us in mercy, O save us from danger,

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

3.  God, the all-merciful! earth hath forsaken

Thy ways all holy, and slighted Thy word;

But not Thy wrath in its terror awaken,

Give to us pardon and peace, O Lord.

4.  So will Thy people with thankful devotion,

Praise Him who saved them from peril and sword;

Shouting in chorus, from ocean to ocean,

Peace to the nations, and praise to the Lord.

(Hymn #1101)



Hymns of the Spirit (American Unitarian Association, 1864), included an abbreviated and different version of the text, starting with the second stanza.  Thus the hymn became “God, the Omnipotent! Mighty Avenger!”  The context of the U.S. Civil War was evident:

1.  God the Omnipotent! mighty Avenger!

Watching invisible, judging unheard!

Save Thou our land in the hour of her danger,

Give to us peace in Thy time, O Lord!

2.  Thunder and lightnings Thy judgment have sounded;

Letters of flame have recorded Thy word,

‘Only in righteousness true peace is founded’:

Give us that peace in Thy time, O Lord!

3.  So shall the people, with thankful devotion,

Praise Him who saved them from peril and sword;

Shouting in chorus, from ocean to ocean,–

‘Peace to the nation, and praise to the Lord!’

(Hymn #262)



In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), John Ellerton (1826-1893), a priest of The Church of England and author of no fewer than 86 hymns, wrote “God the Almighty One, Wisely Ordaining,” based on Chorley’s hymn.  The text debuted in Robert Brown-Borthwick’s Select Hymns for Church and Home (The Church of England, 1871).  I found the original version of that hymn via Google Books.

1.  God the Almighty One, wisely ordaining

Judgments unsearchable, famine and sword;

Over the tumult of war Thou are reigning;

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

2.  God the All-righteous One! man hath defied Thee;

Yet to eternity standeth Thy word;

Falsehood and wrong shall not tarry beside Thee;

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

3.  God the All-pitiful, is it not crying,

Blood of the guiltless like water outpoured?

Look on the anguish, the sorrow, the sighing;

Give to us peace in our time, O Lord!

4.  God, the All-wise! by the fire of Thy chastening

Earth shall to freedom and truth be restored;

Through the thick darkness Thy kingdom is hast’ning,

Thou wilt give peace in Thy time, O Lord!



The first joining of the Chorley and Ellerton texts occurred in the 1874 revision of Church Hymns (The Church of England, 1871), as one can read for oneself by following the hyperlink and seeking hymn #262.  Since then many hymnals have contained various composites of the Chorley and Ellerton texts, frequently with alterations to them.  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contained the hymn, but listed it as “God, Lord of Sabaoth, Thou Who Ordainest.”  The hymn was “God the All-Merciful! Earth Hath Forsaken” in the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917) but “God the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest” in the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  The influential Hymnal (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895) and its successor from 1911 listed the hymn as “God, the All-Terrible,” but The Hymnal (1933) changed the title to “God the Omnipotent.”  Among more conservative Presbyterians (especially in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America) who use either the 1961 or the 1990 versions of the Trinity Hymnal, God remains “All-terrible.”  God was “All-terrible” in The Methodist Hymnal (Methodist Episcopal Church and Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1905), but “Omnipotent” in The Methodist Hymnal of 1935 (Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Protestant Church, and Methodist Episcopal Church, South; later The Methodist Church, 1939-1968).  As late as The Hymnal of 1918 (Episcopal Church, authorized in 1916) God was “All-Terrible,” but the deity was “Omnipotent” instead in The Hymnal 1940 (published in 1943).  The consensus among hymnal committees is that God is “Omnipotent,” not “All-terrible.”

The variation on the hymn in The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal Church, 1985) contains four stanzas–two from Chorley, two from Ellerton, and all of them altered.  This is the version I sing in church:

1.  God the Omnipotent! King, who ordainest

thunder thy clarion, the lightning thy sword;

show forth thy pity on high where thou reignest:

give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

2.  God the All-merciful! earth hath forsaken

thy ways all holy, and slighted thy word;

bid not thy wrath in its terrors awaken:

give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

3.  God, the All-righteous One! earth hath defied thee;

yet eternity standeth thy word,

falsehood and wrong shall not tarry beside thee:

give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

4.  God the All-provident! earth by thy chastening

yet shall to freedom and truth be restored;

through the thick darkness thy kingdom is hastening:

thou wilt give peace in thy time, O Lord.

Hymn writer Brian Wren (1936-) wrote of hymns in Praying Twice:  The Music and Words of Congregational Song (Louisville, KY:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2000, page 297):

I have shown that congregational songs are communal.  Though they usually originate from particular authors, their primary purpose is to give shared expression to shared experience, not parade the author’s personality.  Because they are communal a faith community may, in principle amend them.

The story of “God the Omnipotent!” fits that statement well.



Denominations revise their official hymnals from time to time.  In so doing they add some texts and remove others.  Here is a partial list of denominations which have removed “God the Omnipotent!” (however they have listed it) from their official hymnody as of 2015, based on hymnals of which I own physical copies:

  1. the American Baptist Churches U.S.A., during their transition from the Hymnbook for Christian Worship (1970) to no official hymnal;
  2. the Anglican Church of Canada, during the transition from The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada (1971) to Common Praise (1998);
  3. the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, during the transition from The Covenant Hymnal (1973) to The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996);
  4. the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, during the transition from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006);
  5. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, during the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) to the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996);
  6. the Free Methodist Church of North America and the Wesleyan Church, during their transition from Hymns of Faith and Life (1976) to no official hymnal;
  7. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, during its transition from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) to Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006);
  8. the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), by way of its predecessors, the Presbyterian Church in the United States and The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., during the transition from The Hymnbook (1955) to The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972);
  9. the Reformed Church in America, during its transition from Rejoice in the Lord:  A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures (1985) to Lift Up Your Hearts:  Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (2013);
  10. the Southern Baptist Convention, during the transition from Baptist Hymnal (1956) to Baptist Hymnal (1975); the text is absent even from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship‘s Celebrating Grace Hymnal (2010);
  11. the Unitarian Universalist Association, sometime after Hymns of the Spirit (American Unitarian Association, 1864) and before Hymns of the Spirit (American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America, 1937);
  12. The United Methodist Church, during its transition from The Hymnal of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1957) and The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966) to The United Methodist Hymnal:  Book of United Methodist Worship (1992); and
  13. the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, during the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) to Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal (1993); neither is the hymn present in Christian Worship:  Supplement (2008).

That list covers a wide theological range.  So does the list of denominations which have retained it–from The Episcopal Church to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the United Church of Christ to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America.  The list of denominations which have never added it to their official hymnody is also diverse, ranging from the Christian Reformed Church of North America to the Church of Nazarene.  Sometimes the presence or absence of the hymn indicates more about tastes in hymnody and worship style than about theology.

Another piece of supporting evidence for that conclusion comes from two non-denominational Evangelical hymnals Tom Fettke edited:  The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (1986) and The Celebration Hymnal:  Songs and Hymns for Worship (1997).  The former contains the hymn which is the subject of this post, but the latter does not.  A Victorian hymn set to the majestic former Russian national anthem does not fit with contemporary worship, with its seven-eleven songs, does it?





Posted July 21, 2015 by neatnik2009 in Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), Community and Country 1800s, Desperation and Suffering 1800s, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), Hymnbook for Christian Worship (1970), Hymns of the Spirit for Use in the Free Churches of America (1937), Lent/Confession of Sin 1800s, Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), Service Book and Hymnal (1958), The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada (1971), The Hymnal (1895), The Hymnal (1911), The Hymnal (1933), The Hymnal 1916 (1918), The Hymnal 1940 (1943), The Hymnal 1982 (1985), The Hymnbook (1955), The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), The Methodist Hymnal (1905), The Methodist Hymnal (1935), The Methodist Hymnal (1966), The United Methodist Hymnal (1989)

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Sing With All the Sons of Glory   3 comments

Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb Fra Angelico

Above:  Resurrection of Christ and the Women at the Tomb, by Fra Angelico

Image in the Public Domain

Hymn Sources = The Methodist Hymnal (1905), Methodist Episcopal Church and Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and Companion to the Hymnal (1970)

Words (1873) by William Josiah Irons (1812-1883)

I have restored the text to its original form.  Alterations of the text started as early as 1878, according the Companion to the Hymnal (1970), the companion volume to The Methodist Hymnal (1966).  The altered version appears in The Methodist Hymnal (1905), my main source for this post.  The altered version of the first stanza in The Methodist Hymnal (1905) changes the fifth through eighth lines to read:

All around the clouds are breaking,

Soon the storms of time shall cease,

In God’s likeness, man awaking,

Knows the everlasting peace.


1.  Sing with all the sons of glory,

Sing the resurrection song!

Death and sorrow, earth’s dark story,

To the former days belong:

Even now the dawn is breaking,

Soon the night of time shall cease,

And in God’s own likeness, waking,

Man shall know eternal peace.

2.  O what glory, far exceeding

All that eye has yet perceived!

Holiest hearts for ages pleading,

Never that full joy conceived.

God has promised, Christ prepares it,

There on high our welcome waits;

Every humble spirit shares it,

Christ has passed the eternal gates.

3.  Life eternal! heaven rejoices,

Jesus lives who once was dead;

Join, O man, the deathless voices,

Child of God, lift up thy head!

Patriarchs from the distant ages,

Saints all longing for their heaven,

Prophets, psalmists, seers, and sages,

All await the glory given.

4.  Life eternal! O what wonders

Crowd on faith; what joy unknown,

When, amidst earth’s closing thunders,

Saints shall stand before that throne!

O to enter that bright portal,

See that glowing firmament,

Know, with thee, O God immortal,

“Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent!”

With Thine Own Pity, Savior   1 comment


Above:  The Reverend Licia Affer at the Celebration of a New Ministry, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia, September 14, 2014

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Hymn Source #1 = The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-)

Hymn Source #2 = Companion to the Hymnal (1970), The United Methodist Church

Words (1876) by Ray Palmer (1808-1887), U.S. Congregationalist minister


1.  With thine own pity, Savior, see

The thronged and darkening way!

We go to win the lost to thee;

O, help us, Lord, we pray!

2.  Thou bidst us go with thee to stand

Against hell’s marshalled powers;

And heart to heart, and hand to hand,

To make thine honor ours.

3.  Teach thou our lips of thee to speak,

Of thy sweet love to tell,

Till they who wander far shall seek

And find and serve thee well.

4.  O’er all the world thy spirit send,

And make thy goodness known,

Till earth and heaven together blend

Their praises at thy throne.

I Sought the Lord   Leave a comment

I Sought the Lord

Above:  The Hymn, from The Pilgrim Hymnal (1904)

A Scan I Made from My Copy of That Volume


Sometimes a little historical research goes a long way.

I noticed this hymn this morning, for we were singing “A Mighty Fortress” in church.  Opposite that hymn in The Hymnal 1982 is this one.  This reality led me to the listed source, The Pilgrim Hymnal (1904), the first U.S. hymn book to include the text.  The hymn debuted on page 142 of Holy Songs, Carols, and Sacred Ballads (1880), the hymn’s author listed as Anonymous.  Yet the range of estimated dates of composition includes

  • 1878 (as in The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns, 1966, The Methodist Church–later The United Methodist Church– as well as the Psalter Hymnal, 1987, Christian Reformed Church),
  • 1880 (as in Hymns of Faith and Life, 1976, the Wesleyan Church and the Free Methodist Church),
  • 1887 (as in the Psalter Hymnal, 1934, Christian Reformed Church), and
  • 1890 (The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989, The United Methodist Church.)

One reason for post-1880 estimates is the erroneous date of 1889 for the publication of Holy Songs.

Who was Anonymous?  Although Frank Sealy, editor of Common Praise (1913), listed the author as Anonymous in that hymnal, the handbooks to The Hymnal (1933, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.) and the Pilgrim Hymnal (1958, United Church of Christ) suggest that the author was poet Jean Ingelow (1820-1897).  In fact, the former says that Sealy suggested that Ingelow was the author of the text.  We do not know for certain who wrote the hymn, however.  And does that person’s identity really matter?  For the text stands on its own merit.









1.  I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew

He moved my soul to seek him, seeking  me;

It was not I that found, O Saviour true,

No, I was found of thee.

2.  Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;

I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea,–

‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,

As thou, dear Lord, on me.

3.  I find, I walk, I love, but, O, the whole

Of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee;

For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,

Always thou lovedst me.


He Who Would Valiant Be   1 comment


Above:  Part of the Text, from The Methodist Hymnal (1966)

Words (1906) by Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), after John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Hymn Source = The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), of The Methodist Church (1939-1968) then The United Methodist Church (1968-)


1.  He who would valiant be

‘Gainst all disaster,

Let him in constancy

Follow the Master.

There’s no discouragement

Shall make him once relent

His first avowed intent

To be a pilgrim.

2.  Who so beset him round

With dismal stories,

Do but themselves confound,

His strength the more is.

No foes shall stay his might,

Though he with giants fight;

He will make good his right

To be a pilgrim.

3.  Since, Lord, thou dost defend

Us with thy spirit,

We know we at the end

Shall life inherit.

Then fancies flee away!

I’ll flee not what men say;

I’ll labor night and day

To be a pilgrim.

Eternal God, Whose Power Upholds   2 comments


Above:  A Globe

Image Source = Christian Fischer


Hymn Source = The Methodist Hymnal (1966), of The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-)

Words (1929) by Henry Hallam Tweedy (1868-1953), U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer


1.  Eternal God, whose power upholds

Both flower and flaming star,

To whom there is no here nor there,

No time, no near nor far,

No alien race, no foreign shore,

No child unsought, unknown:

O send us forth, thy prophets true,

To make all lands thine own!

2.  O God of love, whose spirit wakes

In every human breast,

Whom love, and love alone can know

In whom all hearts find rest;

Help us to spread thy gracious reign

Till greed and hate shall cease,

And kindness dwell in human hearts,

And all the earth find peace!

3.  O God of truth, whom science seeks

And reverent souls adore,

Who lightest every earnest mind

Of every clime and shore;

Dispel the gloom of error’s night,

Of ignorance and fear,

Until true wisdom from above

Shall make life’s pathway clear!

4.  O God of beauty, oft revealed

In dreams of human art,

In speech that flows to melody,

In holiness of heart:

Teach us to ban all ugliness

That blinds our eyes to thee,

Till all shall know the loveliness

Of lives made fair and free.

5.  O God of righteousness and grace,

Seen in the Christ, thy Son,

Whose life and death reveal thy face,

By whom thy will was done:

Inspire thy heralds of good news

To live thy life divine,

Till Christ is formed in all mankind

And every land is thine!