Featured Hymns- Ponte Sant' Angelo Methodist Church

Featured Hymns

                                3 November 2019

For All the Saints

Words by William W. How
Music by Ralph Vaughn Williams

We are drawing to the close of the longest uninterrupted season of the church year--the "ordinary time" which follows Eastertide and Pentecost. The season also brings us to the end of one church year and the beginning of another. In many ways, the church year is structured as a journey through the stories of our faith. It seems very appropriate to me that as this journey through the year comes to a close, we should stop to remember those saints whose journey through life on earth has come to a close as well. And just as a new year will begin with Advent, the saints remembered today have entered a new beginning in the Spirit.

This week's featured hymn is sung in many churches on All Saints Day, and for good reason. Among all the hymns that have been written, this one truly focuses on and captures the "new commandment" given by Christ to His disciples in the upper room--the commandment that His people should love one another. In their days, the saints showed their love by lifting up Christ and everyone who is a part of His church. Today we can show our love by remembering their confessions of faith, their commitment to God, their struggles in the world, their victories and success through the Spirit, and their rewards in glory that we also look forward to one day. The fourth stanza really drives it home for me, though. "All are one in thee, for all are thine." As you read words of this hymn, take comfort in the love of Christ for you, and in the love of Christ's people for one another.

1. For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

2. 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, Alleluia!
3. 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, Alleluia!

4. O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
5. And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

6. 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, Alleluia!

The words of this hymn were written by William W. How. William J. Reynolds shares this about the writer:

An Anglican clergyman, How was highly respected by his fellow ministers and the people to whom he ministered. During the years that he served in the English town of Whittington, a farming village on the Welsh border, How wrote 54 hymns. He felt that a hymn should be like a good prayer -- simple, earnest and reverent.

(William J. Reynolds, HISTORY OF HYMNS: Hymn walks through faith's 'hall of fame').

Ralph Vaughn Williams, who wrote the tune most often sung with this hymn, is among the best and most loved composers of the past 150 years. His works that appear in The United Methodist Hymnal include tunes and arrangements for Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, I Sing the Almighty Power of God, Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life, All Praise to Thee, for Thou, O King Divine, O Sing a Song of Bethlehem, To Mock Your Reign, O Dearest Lord, Come Down, O Love Divine, O Spirit of the Living God, Whom Shall I Send?, Bless Thou the Gifts, Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine, Now Let Us from This Table Rise, God Be with You till We Meet Again, Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above, and (of course) For All the Saints.

Rejoice in the love of Christ. Rejoice in the love of Christ's people for each other. Rejoice and sing "Alleluia!"

God Bless You!