Saturday, April 08, 2017

Singing the Faith: Day 34: Songs for the Seasons

Thine be the glory

This hymn, which is often sung at Easter, is far more modern than we might think. It is an English translation of a French  hymn called A toi la Gloire by Edmond Budry (1854–1932) a Swiss hymn writer and Evangelical pastor. It was inspired by the death of his first wife, Marie de Vayenborg. It was translated by Richard Hoyle in 1925 with the permission of Budry for the World Student Christian Federation, an ecumenical organisation for students founded in 1895 and caught on rapidly.

Its tune was already well-known. It was composed by Handel in 1747 originally for the oratorio Joshua. It became so popular that Handel reused it in Judas Maccabeus, and Beethoven composed variations on the tune for piano and cello. It is probably the antiquity of the tune which makes the hymn seem older than it really is.  It is a splendid celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Through him life spills out into the world, touching our lives and lifting us up.
It is a hymn often sung at funerals, full of hope and reassurance, but also at weddings, and on national occasions.

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.

No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.

  • ·         What difference does the Resurrection of Jesus make to your faith? The hymn describes it as an “endless victory” – what do you think that means?

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