Posted by: rcottrill | April 11, 2012

Alleluia, Sing to Jesus

Words: William Chatterton Dix (b. June 14, 1837; d. Sept. 9, 1898)
Music: Hyfrydol, by Rowland Huw Prichard (b. Jan. 14, 1811; d. Jan. 25, 1887)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: William Dix is perhaps best known to many as the author of two fine Christmas carols, What Child Is This? and As with Gladness, Men of Old. However, this beautiful hymn is worthy of a place in our hymnals too. The Cyber Hymnal lists several possible tunes for the hymn. Hyfrydol works well. Bertam Luard-Selby’s tune Adoration is excellent too, though perhaps less well known in some circles.

Some hymn books omit CH-4, perhaps because their church tradition does not speak of the Lord’s Supper as being a “Eucharistic feast.” However, the word is biblical. It simply means to give thanks. It is used when the Bible says of Christ, “When He had given thanks [eucharisteo], He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (I Cor. 11:24). Our participation at the Lord’s Table can surely be spoken of as a feast of thanksgiving.

Another alternative to simply omitting the last stanza is to change the final line. Perhaps it could be altered to read: “Thou on earth both priest and victim, worshiped in memorial feast.” In my view, the final stanza is worth retaining, as it makes several significant contrasts. Christ is hailed as “King eternal,” and Lord of lords. Yet He humbled Himself to be born of the virgin Mary, thus sharing our humanity. In heaven His is our “great High Priest,” though on earth He became both priest and victim, offering up His life as a sacrifice for sin.

CH-4) Alleluia! King eternal, Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia! born of Mary, earth Thy footstool, heav’n Thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered, robed in flesh our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both priest and victim in the Eucharistic feast.

Each of the first three stanzas likewise exalts the Lord for who He is and what He has done on our behalf. In CH-1, we see Christ upon the throne, having won the victory for us, by His shed blood, over death and the grave. The picture of the heavenly kingdom (“peaceful Zion”) resounding with His praise is beautiful indeed. The thought is taken from Revelation 5:9-10).

CH-1) Alleluia! sing to Jesus! His the sceptre, His the throne.
Alleluia! His the triumph, His the victory alone.
Hark! the songs of peaceful Zion thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus out of every nation has redeemed us by His blood.

In CH-2, the emphasis is upon the presence of the Lord Jesus with us today. After His resurrection, He continued teaching His disciples for “forty days” (Acts 1:3), He ascended into heaven. But He promised, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:18; cf. Matt. 28:20).

CH-2) Alleluia! not as orphans are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us, faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received Him when the forty days were o’er
Shall our hearts forget His promise, “I am with you evermore”?

In CH-3, the focus is on the multiple present ministries of Christ. Our Redeemer and Friend becomes our heavenly manna, sustaining us with spiritual nourishment (Jn. 6:35, 47-50). At the same time, He is our heavenly Intercessor at the throne of God (I Jn. 2:1-2).

CH-3) Alleluia! Bread of angels, Thou on earth our food, our stay;
Alleluia! here the sinful flee to Thee from day to day:
Intercessor, Friend of sinners, earth’s Redeemer, plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless sweep across the crystal sea.

Questions:
1) Which of the pictures we’re given in this hymn is the most blessed and meaningful to you?

2) Have you ever sung this hymn in your own church, perhaps when celebrating the Lord’s Supper? (If not, would it be possible to try it?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


Responses

  1. This song blessess me and lifts me when I am down.It reminds me of our Hope.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: