They are not a vanishing breed, after all. A publisher need only announce he is looking for a new hymn, and writers rush to the challenge. CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S contest for a new hymn on evangelism attracted nearly 1,000 entries from 300 persons in nineteen countries, including Lebanon, Bermuda, Zambia, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, and Ceylon. Among the contestants were sixty-seven ministers, fifty-five housewives, many missionaries, a mining engineer, a psychologist, a seminary president, a railroad clerk. A retired Anglican rector sent in more than 300 hymns, painstakingly copied in a beautiful script, “to be considered for the new hymnal” he understood we were compiling! Many of the “also rans” were worthy of publication, and it is hoped that they will be submitted to hymnal editors to help meet the need of a new hymnody for our day.
Because of the high quality of the entries, the contest judges decided to give “honorable mention” to five hymns, which, quite incidentally, indicate the variety of backgrounds among contributors. The Rev. Ernest Emurian, the minister of Cherrydale Methodist Church in Arlington, Virginia, calls himself “an amateur hymnologist” but has already published several books about hymns. His poem “God’s Witnesses in Every Age” recalls the choral “A Mighty Fortress.”
The fine poetic gift of another minister is shown in “Gracious Lord, Thy Love Has Found Us,” by the Rev. E. Elmore Turner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), West Point, Georgia.
Dr. William J. Danker is professor of missions at Concordia Theological Seminary (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod). His hymn “The Sending, Lord” will be a favorite of many, because of its graceful phrases wedded to Vaughan Williams’s tune “Sine Nomine.”
A. Morgan Derham, a Baptist journalist in England, begins his poem “O God, Thou Maker of Mankind” with an ascription of praise to the Trinity. The remaining stanzas develop the motto of the World Congress on Evangelism, “One Race, One Gospel, One Task.”
Miss E. Margaret Clarkson, a teacher in Toronto and a Presbyterian, also developed the congress theme. “One Is the Race of Mankind” will doubtless have a special appeal in this day when brevity is highly valued.
The winning hymn comes from the distaff side of the parsonage. Anne Ortlund, whose husband is pastor of Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, California, is a graduate of Redlands University and holds the A.A.G.O. of the American Guild of Organists. She is organist at the “Old Fashioned Revival Hour” broadcasts.
The judges of the contest decided that Mrs. Ortlund’s hymn “Macedonia” best expresses the urgency of the challenge for which the World Congress on Evangelism has been called. They felt that she met with distinction the difficult task of the hymnologist, to be simple and direct and at the same time convey images and ideas that will remain fresh through repeated singing.
The rules of the contest suggested that the hymns submitted should be contemporary in expression and should conform to a common hymn meter. Several writers complained that a poem cannot be truly modern and yet submit to the rigidity of regular rhyme and rhythm. Perhaps this is one of the problems holding back the development of a contemporary hymnody.
Although Mrs. Ortlund’s hymn is not new in poetic structure or in theological content, it clearly expresses the problem of the world and of the Church today. The opening words of the various stanzas describe needy man, both pagan and sophisticate, the threat and the opportunity provided by a growing literacy, and the immanence of judgment of the nations, of the Church, and of the sinner. The second half of each verse directs attention to the Great Commission. Finally, because the best hymnodic expression leads to personal application, there is the plea, “Begin within my heart.”
The winning hymn will be translated into French, German, and Spanish for the World Congress on Evangelism, to be held in Berlin October 26 to November 4 of this year. CHRISTIANITY TODAY will make this hymn and the five receiving honorable mention available for reprinting, without charge.
Perhaps these hymns and also others written for the contest will be added to the Church’s song literature. Churches ought to make more use of the many fine hymns all too often neglected as certain favorites—not all of them worthy—are constantly repeated. Yet there is also a need for more new evangelical hymns.
One Is The Race Of Mankind
Tune: Lobe den Herren (Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty)
One is the race of mankind under sin’s condemnation;
One is the Gospel that frees us from death’s domination;
One is our task,
Sin, death and hell to unmask,
Showing God’s way of salvation.
One is the hope of eternal rejoicing before us,
One is the song we shall share in God’s heavenly chorus;
Till that glad day
Let us His mandate obey—
Tell the whole world of salvation.
—E. Margaret Clarkson, Toronto, Canada
The Sending, Lord, Springs From Thy Yearning Heart
The sending, Lord, springs from Thy yearning heart.
Tune: Sine Nomine (For All the Saints)
God, Thou the Sender, Thou the Sent One art,
And of Thy mission makest us a part.
Thy body paid for men of every race;
To them we witness, Christ, Thy boundless grace,
With them, one Body, kneel before Thy face.
Where men their brothers heartlessly oppress,
Where people suffer, hopeless in distress,
There we Thy name in deed and word confess.
One man in need in body, mind and soul;
One word in Jesus’ name to make him whole;
One Lord, one Mission leads us to the goal.
One Mission takes me over land and sea
And to the Christian brother next to me.
Help me to listen, Lord, and speak for Thee.
From urban deeps, to orbits high in space,
Through cross to glory moves one pilgrim race,
Praising the Father-Son-and-Spirit’s grace;
—William J. Danker, St. Louis, Missouri
O God, Thou Maker Of Mankind
Tune: St. Catherine (Faith of Our Fathers)
O God, Thou Maker of mankind,
Our life and peace in Thee we find;
O Christ, the Saviour of our race,
We preach the Gospel of Thy grace;
O Holy Spirit, Life and Power,
We seek Thy strength to face this hour.
One humankind in all its need
Calls us its deep distress to heed;
One in the grip of guilt and shame,
Shadowed by fears men dare not name;
One race whose life the Son did share,
Willing our pain and sin to bear.
One is the Gospel we proclaim—
Lord, let it set our hearts aflame!
Teach us to love the sacred page
That speaks one truth in every age.
Make us bold heralds of Thy cross,
Willing to count all else but loss.
One is the task, constraining prayer
Till hardened hearts are made to care;
One call to show by word and deed
How God in Christ has met man’s need.
One living sacrifice we make—
Ourselves, our all, for Jesus’ sake.
—A. Morgan Derham, Chorleywood, Herts, England
God’S Witnesses In Every Age
Tune: Ein’ Feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress)
God’s witnesses in every age
Proclaim the truth eternal;
Revealed within the sacred page
And in Christ’s life supernal.
In Him let all men see
The truth that makes them free;
And herald far and near
That all who need may hear,
And find in Him salvation.
Built on the rock of Christ our Lord
The Church doth stand, though shaken;
He is the true and living Word,
Ne’er shall we be forsaken.
So let His Truth abound
The radiant orbs around;
In Him we are secure,
His Kingdom shall endure
Forever and forever.
Those whom the Lord hath called and sent,
Our God will never leave them;
They walk the way the Master went,
Though sinful men may grieve them.
To all who from above
Receive His gift of love,
The sons of God are they
To hearken and obey;
And God with them abideth.
—Ernest Emurian, Arlington, Virginia
Gracious Lord, Thy Love Has Found Us
Tune: Cwm Rhondda (Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah)
Gracious Lord, Thy Love has found us;
To Thy Kingdom we belong.
How God’s treasured mercy ’round us
Stirs our souls to thankful song!
Strong Redeemer, we adore Thee,
Son of Man, and Son of God!
Son of Man, and Son of God!
Millions still Thy love are needing;
Mankind walks in dark despair.
Now anew Thy heart is pleading
That the Word of grace we share.
Risen Lord, we hear Thy summons:
“Go, disciple all the earth;
Go, disciple all the earth.”
Send us forth, Thy love declaring;
Nerve our witness day by day;
Grant, as fruit, whole nations sharing
Joy in Thy great Kingdom’s sway.
Living Christ, may all confess Thee
Lord of everlasting Life!
Lord of everlasting Life!
—M. Elmore Turner, West Point, Georgia
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