On this memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, one of my favourite hymns, so loved by my wife and I that we chose it for our wedding day (16 years ago tomorrow). The hymn was written in 1870 by Caroline Noel, the daughter of an Anglican priest. My preferred tune is that of Evelyns, composed by William Henry Monk (1823-1893).
1. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess him King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
2. At his voice creation sprang at once to sight:
All the Angel faces, all the hosts of light,
Thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,
All the heavenly orders in their great array.
3. Humbled for a season, to receive a name
From the lips of sinners, unto whom he came;
Faithfully he bore it ,spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious when from death he passed:
4. Bore it up triumphant, with its human light,
Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,
To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast,
Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.
5. Name him, brothers, name him, with love as strong as death,
But with awe and wonder, and with bated breath;
He is God the Saviour, he is Christ the Lord,
Ever to be worshipped, trusted, and adored.
6. In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true:
Crown him as your captain, in temptations’ hour;
Let his will enfold you in its light and power.
7. Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With his Father’s glory, with his Angel train;
For all wreaths of empire meet upon his brow,
And our hearts confess him King of glory now.
Caroline Noel, 1817-1877
no.368 The English Hymnal (to the tune Evelyns)
Fr Lee Kenyon