Beautiful Savior

Full Text

1 Beautiful Savior! King of creation!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love thee, truly I’d serve thee,
Light of my soul, my joy, my crown.

2 Fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands,
robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer;
he makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

3 Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight,
bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
than all the angels in the sky.

4 Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine!

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Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The phrase “King of Creation,” which has come to characterize this hymn, is reflected in many of the confessions. Belgic Confession, Article 12, professes that God created everything and Article 13 completes the picture by professing that he “leads and governs all things according to his holy will...”
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 professes similarly that God the Creator still upholds and rules everything by his eternal counsel and providence.
The exclamation of Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 2 proclaims this truth with excitement: “Our World Belongs to God! God is King! Let the earth be glad! Christ is victor; his rule has begun!”

Beautiful Savior

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Acclamation
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, your beauty shines from the whole creation. You are the light of the world and the light of our souls. You bring joy to the world and joy to our hearts. Yours is the glory and honor, now and forever. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

The heavens declare your glory, great God.
Thank you for the works of your hands,
for the moon and the stars,
for the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea.
Thank you for crowning us with glory and honor
and for making us rulers over the works of your hands.
Help us to care for your creation.
May we respect the land and animals
as we use resources carefully and gratefully.
Thank you too, God our Father, for creating humanity in your image,
for knitting us together in our mother’s wombs.
Thank you for knowing us so intimately
that you know when a hair falls from our heads.
May our love for others reflect your love for us.
Help us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless,
support the sick, and comfort the lonely. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Beautiful Savior

Tune Information

E♭ Major


Song Combination

This is an intentional pairing of the contemporary with the traditional that can serve a diverse congregation well. Combine the contemporary hymn, Lift Up Your Hearts #15 “The First Place”, with the traditional hymn, Lift Up Your Hearts #17 “Beautiful Savior.”
Instrumentation suggestion:
  • Use piano, guitar, or praise band for accompaniment with “The First Place,” and seamlessly add the organ on “Beautiful Savior.” Drop whatever instruments do not play well with the organ (electronic bass, drums, etc.).
  • No interlude or introduction to “Beautiful Savior” is needed to connect these two songs. A praise band (or contemporary instruments) should play through to the end of “The First Place,” then add one measure—4 beats of a Bb7 chord—walking the bass notes up on beats 3 and 4 (C, D), and go right into the first measure of “Beautiful Savior.” 
— Diane Dykgraaf

Beautiful Savior

Hymn Story/Background

The original German text ("Schönster Herr Jesu") appeared anonymously in a manuscript dated 1662 in Munster, Germany. It was published in the Roman Catholic Munsterisch Gesangbuch (1677) and, with a number of alterations, in the Schlesische Volkslieder (1842), a hymn book compiled by Hoffman and Richter.
ST. ELIZABETH appears to be an eighteenth-century tune from the Glaz area of Silesia. It has always been associated with this text. No factual data exists for the legend that this text and tune date back to the twelfth-century crusades, although those apocryphal stories explain one of the names by which this tune is known, namely, CRUSADER'S HYMN. After Franz Liszt used the tune for a crusaders' march in his oratorio The Legend of St. Elizabeth (1862), the tune also became known as ST. ELIZABETH.
The tune consists primarily of a few melodic sequences and their variations. It could either be sung gently, perhaps with guitar and flute accompaniment, or it could be sung with great power with almost full organ for stanzas 1 and 4. Try singing in harmony with no accompaniment at all for stanzas 2 and 3. Sing in four long lines rather than eight short phrases.
Liturgical Use:
The entire text as a hymn of praise at the beginning of worship or as a sermon response; stanzas 1 and 4 (both doxologies) at the end of worship.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The original German text ("Schönster Herr Jesu") ap­peared anonymously in a manuscript dated 1662 in Munster, Germany. It was published in the Roman Catholic Munsterisch Gesangbuch (1677) and, with a number of alterations, in the Schlesische Volkslieder (1842), a hymn book compiled by Hoffman and Richter.
The translation, primarily the work of Joseph A. Seiss (b. Graceham, MD, 1823; d. Philadelphia, PA, 1904), was based on the 1842 edition and first published in the Sunday School Book for the use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1873). Another well-known translation based on the 1842 version is the anonymous "Fairest Lord Jesus," published in Richard S. Willis's Church Chorals and Choir Studies (1850).
Seiss was born and raised in a Moravian home with the original family name of Seuss. After studying at Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg and completing his theological education with tutors and through private study, Seiss became a Lutheran pastor in 1842. He served several Lutheran congregations in Virginia and Maryland and then became pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church (1858-1874) and the Church of the Holy Communion (1874-1904), both in Philadelphia. Known as an eloquent and popular preacher, Seiss was also a prolific author and editor of some eighty volumes, which include The Last Times (1856), The Evangelical Psalmist (1859), Ecclesia Lutherana (1868), Lectures on the Gospels (1868-1872), and Lectures on the Epistles (1885). He contributed to and compiled several hymnals.
— Bert Polman
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