Thine be the Glory

During this time whilst we can’t sing together in worship we are aiming to post a different hymn each week.  For some Sundays it will be the obvious hymn in Common Praise for a particular Sunday and a brief commentary – partly with reference to The Penguin Book of Hymns edited by Ian Bradley – will be published with our hymn choice for the week.  The words of the hymn will be provided alongside a recording of the hymn, courtesy of Lucy Colbourne at home whilst Lancaster University is in lockdown.  This will have been recorded by Billy Colbourne (Assistant Organist) and includes use of his Hauptwerk organ also at home, with the sounds of Salisbury Cathedral’s organ.

Charles Pavey – Organist & Choirmaster

Thine be the Glory

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 victory 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:
Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
endless is the victory thou o'er death hast won.

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:
Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
endless is the victory thou o'er death hast won.

French, 19th century, Edmond Budry
tr. Richard Hoyle
Tune: Maccabaeus by G F Handel

CCLI - 1073121

 

                                                                                          

Hymn Commentary 

Last week’s hymn, Jesus Christ is Risen Today, is a full blooded celebration of all that Easter means.  This week’s hymn, Thine be the Glory, goes even further and invites us in to share that celebration.  In verse two we read ‘Lo Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb; lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom’.  These are words to sing loudly as we endure the fourth week of the current lockdown.

The author of the hymn, Edmond L. Budry (1854-1932), was a minister in Switzerland and he wrote the hymn in 1896 with the wonderful title A toi la gloire.  It was translated into English by Richard Birch Hoyle (1875-1937), a Baptist minister whose last post was in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.  I used to work in a shoe shop in Kingston and, by the time I started there, I had probably sung Thine be the Glory for about ten Easters in a nearby parish church choir. 

But such is the message of the hymn it should not just be confined to Easter and the only tune that has been sung to it did not start life as a tune for Easter.  It was composed by Handel and originally used for the chorus ‘See the Conquering Hero Comes’ in his oratorio Judas Maccabeus.  In both this chorus and in Thine be the Glory, the music is gladly sung to words in which there is victory over destruction.  The events depicted in the oratorio are from the period BC 170-160 when Judea was ruled by an unwelcome empire which undertook to destroy the Jewish religion.  Judas Maccabeus leads the Jewish people to a victory over this empire.  Having sung ‘See the Conquering Hero comes’, the people rejoice that they can live peacefully in their country again…

But Thine be the Glory is not to be sung peacefully for, if you wish to sing along, you may recall that there was an earlier encouragement to sing verse two loudly and that’s usually the quieter verse.  The instruction for verses one and three must therefore be to sing very loud!

Charles Pavey – Organist & Choirmaster

 

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