1 O holy city, seen of John,
where Christ, the Lamb, does reign,
within whose four-square walls shall come
no night, nor need, nor pain,
and where the tears are wiped from eyes
that shall not weep again!
2 O shame to us who rest content
while lust and greed for gain
in street and shop and tenement
wring gold from human pain,
and bitter lips in deep despair
cry, "Christ has died in vain!"
3 Give us, O God, the strength to build
the city that has stood
too long a dream; whose laws are love,
whose ways are servant-hood,
and where the sun that shines becomes
your grace for human good.
4 Already in the mind of God
that city rises fair.
Lo, how its splendor challenges
the souls that greatly dare,
and bids us seize the whole of life
and build its glory there.
|First Line:||O holy city, seen of John|
|Title:||O Holy City, Seen of John|
|Author:||Walter Russell Bowie (1909, alt.)|
|Scripture:||Isaiah 25:8; Matthew 23:1-12; Hebrews 12:18-29; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:1 - 22:5|
|Topic:||Kingdom of God; A New Heaven and a New Earth; Social Concerns|
|Harmonizer:||C. Winfred Douglas (1940)|
|Source:||Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, 1813|
|Copyright:||Harm. © 1943, 1961, 1985 Church Pension Fund|
|Notes:||alternate harmonization, 653|
Unlike texts that treat the heavenly Jerusalem as a goal for the life to come, this hymn regards John’s vision as a challenge to work here and now for the accomplishment of God’s purposes on earth. The shape note tune provides an effective setting for this stirring text.