Songs for Sunday, June 26

  • Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  • Mighty to Save (link)
  • His Forever (link)
  • Rejoice the Lord is King (hymn #370)

Our opening hymn was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, originally titled “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion.” The poem’s eighteen stanzas opened with the lines:

Glory to God, and praise, and love
 Be ever, ever giv’n
By saints below and saints above
 The church in earth and Heav’n

The next five stanzas set the theological context for the explosion of praise that would follow. Specifically, the author recounts having his eyes opened to God’s righteousness, dying to his own self-righteous efforts, being raised to life again, believing by faith, receiving the Holy Spirit, having the atoning blood of Jesus applied, and experiencing forgiveness.

Moravian missionary Peter Böhler, whose counsel was instrumental in Wesley’s own conversion, had once said to him, “If I had a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ with them all.” This exclamation is echoed in the next stanza, originally the seventh, but which soon became known as the first verse of the familiar hymn:

Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
 My great Redeemer’s praise
The glories of my God and King
 The triumphs of His grace

We, like Wesley, should be moved to celebrate the glory of God and proclaim the triumph of His grace. It should motivate us to spread the honor of His name through the whole earth. His name has the power to chase away fears, wash away sorrows, and usher in true peace. His word has the power to forgive sin, to break the chains of slavery, even to revive dead hearts.

Modern singer-songwriter and worship leader David Crowder has rearranged and updated this hymn with a refrain invoking us to sing out – let our anthem grow loud. That’s my prayer for this Lord’s Day, that the redeeming work of Christ would make our humble hearts break out in jubilant praise!