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509. Your Hand, O God, Has Guided

1 Your hand, O God, has guided
your flock from age to age;
your faithfulness is written
on history's open page.
Our parents knew your goodness,
and we their deeds record;
and both to this bear witness:
one church, one faith, one Lord!

2 Your heralds brought the gospel
to greatest and to least;
they summoned men and women
to share the great King's feast.
And this was all their teaching
in every deed and word,
to all alike proclaiming:
one church, one faith, one Lord!

3 Your mercy will not fail us
nor leave your work undone;
with your right hand to help us
the victory shall be won.
And then by earth and heaven
your name shall be adored;
and this shall be our anthem:
one church, one faith, one Lord!

Text Information
First Line: Your hand, O God, has guided
Title: Your Hand, O God, Has Guided
Author: Edward H. Plumptre (1864, alt.)
Refrain First Line: one church, one faith, one Lord
Meter: 76 76 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Anniversaries; New Year - Old Year; Reformation (9 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: Basil Harwood (1898)
Meter: 76 76 D
Key: D Major
Copyright: By permission of the executors of the late Dr. Basil Harwood

Text Information:

Scripture References:
ref. = Eph. 4:4-6

Edward H. Plumptre (PHH 363) wrote this text entitled "Church Defence" and published it in Plumptre's Lazarus and Other Poems (1865). Republished in the 1889 Supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern, the text has gained much popularity in England. Of the original six stanzas, the Psalter Hymnal provides stanzas 1, 2, and 6 in modern language.

The text affirms God's faithful hand of guidance and blessing on the church (st. 1), a church that has continually proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom (st. 2), and that, by God's power, will ultimately be victorious in its mission (st. 3). Each stanza leads directly into the powerful refrain line taken from Ephesians 4:4-5: “There is one body [the church of Christ] . . . one Lord, one faith. . . .”

Liturgical Use:
Festivals of the church; church anniversaries; mission services; Reformation celebrations; ordination/ commissioning services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Basil Harwood (b. Woodhouse, Olveston, Gloucestershire, England, 1859; d. Kensing, London, England, 1949) composed THORNBURY for this text. The manuscript states that the tune was "begun in New College Garden, finished at Christ Church Oxford, June 28, 1898 … for the twenty-fifth Annual Festival of the London Church Choir Association, held in St. Paul's Cathedral, November 17th 1898."

THORNBURY was printed in the Association’s Festival Book (1898) and was later published in Harwood's Hymn Tunes Original and Selected (1905).

Named after a town in Gloucestershire, England, this strong and stately tune in bar form shape (AAB) has elongated rhythms in its refrain line that are a perfect match for the text. The three stanzas may be sung in harmony, but the refrain line should always be sung in unison until the final choral cadence.

The festival origin of THORNBURY is evident: it is a "big tune" with stately accompaniment (Harwood's tunes are often more contemplative). Whether sung in unison or in harmony, this tune needs firm organ support and a majestic tempo.

Harwood was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, England, and at the Leipzig Conservatory. He served as organist at several churches before becoming organist at Ely Cathedral (1887-1892) and Christ Church, Oxford (1892-1909). The first conductor of the Oxford Bach Choir and precentor at Keble College, Harwood composed some ninety hymn tunes as well as anthems and other liturgical music. He was the editor of the Oxford Hymn Book (1908).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
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