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Hymn of the week: “At the Name of Jesus”

J-P Mauro - published on 09/30/18

A hymn for the 26th week in Ordinary Time.

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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.

“At the Name of Jesus” was written by Caroline M. Noel in 1870. Noel began writing hymns at the age of 17 and over the next three years she wrote a few dozen. She stopped writing, however, when she turned 20, and she would not write again for 20 years. In her late 30s she was debilitated by an unknown illness, and left bedridden for the rest of her life.

Due to her illness, she was able to do little more than bring pen to paper, so she began writing once more. In 1870 she published a collection of works, The Name of Jesus, which includes this hymn.

In the 20th century, Ralph Vaughan Williams composed the tune “KING’S WESTON” for Noel’s text, but it also became associated with Fred Green’s “When the Church of Jesus” in 1968. Vaughan Williams was active as a composer through both World Wars and his symphonies are still held in high regard in the UK. He has also made many additions to the great American songbook with his series of works titled Songs of Travel.

There is an alternate version of this hymn written by Christopher Walker with a Gospel piano intro that’s to die for.

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