485. O Christ, Our Hope, Our Heart's Desire

1 O Christ, our hope, our heart's desire,
redemption's only spring,
Creator of the world art thou,
its Savior and its King.

2 How vast the mercy and the love
which laid our sins on thee,
and led thee to a cruel death
to set thy people free.

3 But now the bands of death are burst,
the ransom has been paid;
and thou art on thy Father's throne,
in glorious robes arrayed.

4 O Christ, be thou our lasting joy,
our ever great reward;
our only glory may it be
to glory in the Lord!

Text Information
First Line: O Christ, our hope, our heart's desire
Title: O Christ, Our Hope, Our Heart's Desire
Translator: John Chandler (1837)
Meter: CM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ;
Topic: Ascension & Reign of Christ; King, God/Christ as; Redemption (2 more...)
Source: Latin, c. 8th cent
Tune Information
Meter: CM
Key: F Major
Source: H. W. Greatorex's Collection,1851

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 2 = 1 Pet. 2:24
st. 3 = 1 Tim. 2:6
st. 4 = 1 Pet. 1:8

Although manuscript copies do not appear until the eleventh century, the Latin source for this Ascension text ('Jesu, nostra redemptio, amor et desiderium") is thought to date from the seventh or eighth century. A five-stanza English translation by John Chandler was published in his Hymns of the Primitive Church (1837), and a doxology stanza was added later. Of those stanzas, 1-3 and 5 are included with a few word changes.

This short but comprehensive text honors Christ as creator of the world (st. 1); meditates on his love, which led to his atoning death (st. 2); voices our worship to the ascended Christ for his victory over death (st. 3); and offers our prayer to keep Christ central in our lives (st. 4).

John Chandler (b. Widey, Godalming, Surrey, England, 1806; d. Putney, Surrey, 1876) spent most of his life in Widey, where his father was the vicar. After theological studies at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, England, he assumed his father's position in Widey in 1837. Noting that many of the prayers of the Anglican Church were English translations of early Latin prayers, Chandler decided that the church should sing hymns from that era as well. Because he did not find many suitable English translations, he made his own and published them in The Hymns of the Primitive Church (1837) and, with revisions, in The Hymns of the Church, mostly Primitive (1841). Some of the Latin hymns he translated, however, were not as ancient as the words "Primitive Church" might suggest; he also included translations of hymns from the Paris Breviary (1736).

Liturgical Use:
A hymn of response after the sermon; Easter; Ascension; many other worship services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

MANOAH was first published in Henry W. Greatorex's Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1851). This anthology (later editions had alternate titles) contained one of the best tune collections of its era and included thirty-seven original compositions and arrangements by compiler Greatorex as well as melodies by his father, Thomas, and grand¬father Anthony. Because no other source has been traced, it is believed that Greatorex composed MANOAH.

Greatorex (b. Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, 1813; d. Charleston, SC, 1858) received his early music training from his father, who was organist at Westminster Abbey. After moving to the United States in 1839, he served as organist at the Center Congregational Church and at St. John's Church, both in Hartford, Connecticut. He accepted the position of organist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church around 1846 and later became organist and choirmaster of the Calvary Episcopal Church, both in New York City. His final musical position was at the Episcopal Church in Charleston.

The composer gave arbitrary names to his tunes: Manoah was the father of Samson in the Old Testament. This well-crafted common-meter tune features some repetition of melodic motives and a harmonization that invites part singing. Sing in harmony in two long lines rather than four short phrases. Use moderate organ accompaniment at first, but make sure it swells for stanza 4.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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