Our Sunday worship includes hymns from the American Hymnal of 1940. Here is one example:
Alleluia! sing to Jesus! His the scepter, his the throne.
Alleluia! his the triumph, his the victory alone.
Hark! the songs of peaceful Sion, thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus out of every nation hath redeemed us by his blood.
The words are by William Chatterton Dix, an Englishman who (according to Wikipedia) lived from 1837 to 1898 and varied his career in marine insurance by writing hymns. He also wrote “What Child Is This,” a Christmas carol sung to the tune of Greensleeves.
What a wealth of theology is here in just the first verse! We begin with the ancient Hebrew cry of praise to God, Alleluia!, followed by royal references to scepter, throne, triumph, and victory. These point to a great mystery, namely, that Jesus, a man who lived and died 2,000 years ago, is still alive and is God, through whom the universe was created. The next line recalls the final book of the Bible, Revelation, describing the culmination of God’s plan for a new holy city (called Sion or the New Jerusalem) where multitudes extol God’s greatness with voices like thunder. The final line touches on another great mystery, namely, that God’s plan was carried out to benefit people of all nations through Jesus’ sacrifice of himself in a bloody death by crucifixion, followed by his resurrection from the dead.
These things are not myths, they are true and of eternal importance. If you want to hear more, come and join us!
Choir of Angels, 19th century stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones,
Church of St Michael, Forden, Wales