Thursday, November 24, 2022

Clement of Alexandria and hymns

It's funny the things you see when you page through a book as opposed to just doing a search on the internet. I was leafing through The Book of Hymns, The 1966 edition of the Methodist hymnal, and ran across two hymns by Clement of Alexandria. They must be some of the oldest hymns around outside the Bible; he lived from ca. AD 160–220, so he was born roughly 130 years after Christ's ministry, death, and resurrection (and ascension!); to put that in modern comparisons, compared to the Revolutionary war, he would have been born around 1900, or compared to the Civil War/War between the States, he would have been born in 1990.

Anyway, this particular hymn, number 86 in The Book of Hymns, appears in over 200 hymnals according to The lyrics below were taken from there; the Methodist hymnal uses an older translation and is missing verse 2 (Why? It's a great verse!). Enjoy!

1 Shepherd of tender youth,
   guiding in love and truth
   through devious ways,
   Christ, our triumphant King,
   we come your name to sing
   and here our children bring
   to join your praise.

2 You are our holy Lord,
   Christ, the incarnate Word,
   healer of strife.
   You did yourself abase
   that from sin's deep disgrace
   you might now save our race,
   and give us life.

3 You are the great High Priest,
   you have prepared the feast
   of holy love;
   and in our mortal pain
   none calls on you in vain;
   our plea do not disdain;
   help from above.

4 O ever be our guide,
   our shepherd and our pride,
   our staff and song.
   Jesus, O Christ of God,
   by your enduring Word
   lead us where you have trod;
   make our faith strong.

5 So now and till we die
   sound we your praises high
   and joyful sing:
   infants and all the throng
   who to your Church belong,
   unite to swell the song
   to Christ, our King!

No comments: