Lord, You Were Rich Beyond All Splendor

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

We are reminded of how the emptying of Christ is reflected in Philippians 2:5-11 and II Corinthians 8:9.

Stanza 3 speaks of Immanuel, and we think of Isaiah 7:14, and Matthew 1:22-23.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

A sense of amazement pervades this song. Why would someone so rich become poor? It is for “love’s sake,” says stanza 1 and stanza 3 proclaims: “Lord you are love beyond all telling.” Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 5 says it is “with fierce love” that God holds this world and sent Jesus into the world.


Lord, You Were Rich Beyond All Splendor


She will give birth to a son,
and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.
—Matthew 1:21, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
In Christ, we are forgiven! Thanks be to God!
—based on 1 Timothy 1:15, NRSV
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

What does it mean that he
“was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary”?
That the eternal Son of God,
who is and remains true and eternal God,
took to himself, through the working of the Holy Spirit,
from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,
a truly human nature
so that he might become David’s true descendant,
in all things like us except for sin.
—from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 35
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

We confess that God fulfilled the promise
made to the early fathers and mothers
by the mouth of the holy prophets
when he sent the only and eternal Son of God
into the world at the time appointed.
The Son took the “form of a slave”
and was made in “human form,”
truly assuming a real human nature,
with all its weaknesses, except for sin;
being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
without male participation.
And Christ not only assumed human nature
as far as the body is concerned
but also a real human soul,
in order to be a real human being.
For since the soul had been lost as well as the body,
Christ had to assume them both to save them both together.
In this way Christ is truly our Immanuel—
that is: “God with us.”
—from Belgic Confession, Art. 18
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


O Lord, though you were rich,
for our sakes you became poor.
You have promised in your gospel
that whatever is done to the least,
you will receive as done to you.
Give us grace, we humbly ask you,
to be ever willing and ready to minister, as you enable us,
to the necessities of our brothers and sisters,
and to extend the blessings of your kingdom
over all the world, to your praise and glory,
God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
[Augustine of Hippo (354-430), PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
Let each of you look not to your own interests,
but to the interests of others.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
—Philippians 2:3-8, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Emmanuel, God with us,
you are our heart’s delight.
Because of your amazing love,
you came to earth,
you became one of us,
you reached out to us while we were lost,
you rescued us from death,
you brought us salvation.
Your love is so high and wide and deep
that it, and only it, could reach this suffering world.
You came to bring an end to our sadness,
to dry our tears, to still our fears, to give us hope.
In deep gratitude we praise you.
We worship you for dwelling among us. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

You came in the fullness of time, O Savior,
emptying yourself for us.
Your incarnation foreshadowed, O Savior,
that you would be obedient unto death.
Therefore God has given you, O Savior,
a name that is above all names:
we confess you are Christ the Lord!
—based on Philippians 2:5-11
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord, You Were Rich Beyond All Splendor

Tune Information

D Major

Lord, You Were Rich Beyond All Splendor

Author Information

Son of Tho­mas Hough­ton, Cur­ate of Staf­ford, Frank Houghton (b. 1894; d. 1972) at­tend­ed the University of London (BA 1913) Lon­don Col­lege of Di­vin­i­ty (now St. John’s Col­lege, Not­ting­ham, graduated 1914). He was or­dained a deacon in 1917, and priest the next year. He served as Cur­ate of St. Ben­e­dict’s, Li­ver­pool (1917-9); All Saints, Pres­ton (1919-20). In­spired by mis­sion­a­ry Hud­son Tay­lor’s ex­am­ple, he joined the Ch­ina In­land Mis­sion, serving at Liang­shan (1920-21) and Suiting (1921-24 ). In 1923, he mar­ried Dor­o­thy Cas­sels, daugh­ter of Bi­shop Cas­sels of West Chi­na. In 1924, he be­came prin­ci­pal of the The­o­lo­gi­cal Col­lege in Pao­ning, Si­chuan. He re­turned to Eng­land for me­di­cal rea­sons in 1928, ex­pect­ing to stay on­ly a short time, but he stayed to edit Chi­na’s Mil­lions. He al­so served as Ex­am­in­ing Chap­lain to the Bi­shop of West Chi­na (1928-36).
He went on to serve as Con­se­crat­ed Bi­shop of East Szech­wan at Nan­chung (1934-40); General Di­rect­or of the Chi­na In­land Mis­sion (1940-51); Vi­car of New Mil­ver­ton, Leam­ing­ton Spa (1953-60); and Rec­tor of St. Pe­ter, Dray­ton, Ox­ford (1960-63).
— Hymntime (http://www.hymntime.com)

Composer Information

Martin F. Shaw (b. 1916; d. 1999) was educated at the Royal College of Music in London and was organist and choirmaster at St. Mary's, Primrose Hill (1908-1920), St. Martin's in the Fields (1920-1924), and the Eccleston Guild House (1924-1935). From 1935 to 1945 he served as music director for the diocese of Chelmsford. He established the Purcell Operatic Society and was a founder of the Plainsong and Medieval Society and what later became the Royal Society of Church Music.
Author of The Principles of English Church Music Composition (1921), Shaw was a notable reformer of English church music. He worked with Percy Dearmer (his rector at St. Mary's in Primrose Hill); Ralph Vaughan Williams, and his brother Geoffrey Shaw in publishing hymnals such as Son of Praise (1925, 1931) and the Oxford Book of Carols (1928). A leader in the revival of English opera and folk music scholarship, Shaw composed some one hundred songs as well as anthems and service music; some of his best hymn tunes were published in his Additional Tunes in Use at St. Mary's (1915).
— Bert Polman

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