Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Hymn that Makes Me Cry (Almost)

This afternoon at church, we sang several amazing songs (including "Be Still, My Soul" by Katharina von Schlegel).  But our closing hymn was the one that almost always brings tears to my eyes (inasmuch as that happens for me): "For All the Saints" by William How.

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu ...

Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear their one true Light.
Alleluia, Allelu ...

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Allelu ...

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu ...

But lo!  There breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on his way.
Alleluia, Allelu ...

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Alleluia, Allelu ...

More than any other, I want this hymn sung at my funeral (preferably in Christopher Miner's tune, but I'll take Sine Nomine).  If songs about Jesus as Victor get my hands raised and my feet a-stompin', then it is songs about Jesus' faithfulness in leading his church to her eternal bliss in the news heavens and earth that bring a quiver to my lips.

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