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History of Hymns: ‘Come Sunday’ reflects Duke Ellington’s faith & sacred jazz tradition

“Come Sunday” Duke Ellington UM Hymnal, No. 728 Come Sunday, oh, come Sunday, that’s the day. Duke Ellington (1899-1974) once said, “By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” Yet, this master of jazz has a hymn in the United Methodist Hymnal! […]

History of Hymns: Gospel hymn celebrates Christ’s gift of salvation

“Victory in Jesus” M. Bartlett UM Hymnal, No. 370 I heard an old, old story how a Savior came in glory, how he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me; I hear about his groaning, of his precious blood’s atoning, then I repented of my sins and won the victory. * […]

History of Hymns: Saint’s ‘Canticle of the Sun’ inspires 20th-century hymn

“All Creatures of Our God and King,” St. Francis of Assisi UM Hymnal, No. 62  All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us sing, O praise ye! Alleluia! O brother sun with golden beam, O silver moon with softer gleam, O praise ye! Alleluia! Francis of Assisi (ca. 1182-1226) […]

History of Hymns: Hymn sings praises of ‘new beginnings’

“This is a Day of New Beginnings” Brian Wren UM Hymnal, No. 383 This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that’s gone. * Brian Arthur Wren (b. 1936) provides an account of the composition of this text […]

History of Hymns: ‘Come, Christians, Join to Sing’ first published as children’s hymn

“Come, Christians, Join to Sing” Christian Henry Bateman UM Hymnal, No. 158 Come, Christians, join to sing: Alleluia! Amen! loud praise to Christ our King: Alleluia! Amen! Let all, with heart and voice, before his throne rejoice; praise is his gracious choice. Alleluia! Amen!  Christian Henry Bateman (1813-1899) was ordained into the Church of England […]

History of Hymns: Eucharist hymn reflects black gospel tradition

“Taste and See” James E. Moore The Faith We Sing, No. 2267 Taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord. I will bless the Lord at all times. Praise shall always be on my lips; my soul shall glory in the Lord for God has been so good to me. *   […]

History of Hymns: ‘Just a Closer Walk’ remains a traditional song for jazz funerals

“Just a Closer Walk with Thee” Anonymous The Faith We Sing, No. 2158 I am weak, but thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk close to thee. Just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, is my plea, daily walking close […]

History of Hymns: ‘Fly Away’ anticipates escape to joy of heaven

“I’ll Fly Away” Albert E. Brumley The Faith We Sing, No. 2282 Some glad morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away; to a home on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away. When I die, hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away. * Albert Edward Brumley […]

History of Hymns: Famed hymn begins as poem in time of sorrow

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” Joseph Scriven UM Hymnal, No. 526  What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry […]

History of Hymns: Zimbabwean song calls congregation to worship

“Jesu, Tawa Pano” (“Jesus, We Are Here”) Patrick Matsikenyiri The Faith We Sing, No. 2273 Jesu, tawa pano; Jesu, tawa pano; Jesu, tawa pano; tawa pano, muzita renyu. Jesus, we are here; Jesus, we are here; Jesus, we are here; we are here for you. * Patrick Matsikenyiri (b. 1937) is one of the most […]