Hymn for Lent (Day 15): Love divine, all loves excelling

This has nothing in particular to do with today’s lections. However, today is the commemoration of John and Charles Wesley, so it seemed fitting to choose this one, which is a favorite of mine. Given a chance to play a hymn on the magnificent organ at Grace Cathedral last summer, this is the one I picked. Check the videos below.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Words: Charles Wesley, 1747

Here’s the tune sung to Hyfrydol by the Crystal Cathedral choir; this is the tune most Episcopalians will think of with this text. Much of the world sings this to the (superior, in my view) tune Blaenwern, which you can hear in a stunning recording by the Wells Cathedral Choir. If you don’t have it, you should buy this CD. Finally, as an added treat, this is a recording I made at the Lambeth Conference in 2008 of all the bishops singing in the big blue tent.

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