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At the Name of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11)

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text is based on the confession of faith that Paul quotes in Philippians 2:6-11, which may well have been an early Christian hymn. Stanza 1 announces the triumph of the ascended Christ to whom "every knee should bow" (Phil. 2: 10). In stanza 2 Christ is the "mighty Word" (see John 1:1-4) through whom "creation sprang at once to sight." Stanzas 3 and 4 look back to Christ's humiliation, death, resurrection, and ascension (Phil. 2:6-9). Stanza 5 is an encouragement for submission to Christ, for us to have the "mind of Christ," and stanza 6 looks forward to Christ's return as "King of glory." The text is not only concerned with the name 'Jesus," whose saving work it confesses, but also with the glory and majesty that attends "the name of Jesus." 
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The confessions make it clear that the ascension of Christ opened the door to the rule of his kingdom. This fact is comforting to those who love him and is a fearful threat to those who despise him. The response therefore is praise and adoration from people of faith, and resistance from those who reject him.
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 27 affirms “All authority, glory and sovereign power are given to him,” and reaffirms it in paragraph 43: “Jesus Christ rules over all.”
 
Consider the clear affirmation made in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 50: “Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is the head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things.”
 

It is no wonder that those who despise him join together to conspire against him, for Christ’s aim as Lord is to “destroy the devil’s work…every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy word” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123).

Tune Information

Name
KING'S WESTON
Key
d minor or modal
Meter
6.5.6.5 D

Recordings

Hymn Story/Background

Caroline Marie Noel’s poems were collected in The Name of Jesus and Other Verses for the Sick and Lonely (1861, enlarged in 1870).
 
One of the hymns in the 1870 collection was this text (originally beginning "In the Name of Jesus"), designed for use as a processional hymn on Ascension Day.  Lift Up Your Hearts includes stanzas 1, 3-5, and 7-8 of Noel's original eight stanzas.
 
The text is based on the confession of faith that Paul quotes in Philippians 2:6-11, which may well have been an early Christian hymn. Stanza 1 announces the triumph of the ascended Christ to whom "every knee should bow" (Phil. 2: 10). In stanza 2 Christ is the "mighty Word" (see John 1:1-4) through whom "creation sprang at once to sight." Stanzas 3 and 4 look back to Christ's humiliation, death, resurrection, and ascension (Phil. 2:6-9). Stanza 5 is an encouragement for submission to Christ, for us to have the "mind of Christ," and stanza 6 looks forward to Christ's return as "King of glory." The text is not only concerned with the name “Jesus,” whose saving work it confesses, but also with the glory and majesty that attends "the name of Jesus."
 
Ralph Vaughan Williams composed KING'S WESTON for this text. It was published in Songs of Praise (1925). The combination of text and tune in a festive hymn­-anthem by Vaughan Williams has become a favorite of many church choirs. The tune's title refers to a manor house on the Avon River near Bristol, England.
 
KING'S WESTON is a great tune marked by distinctive rhythmic structures and a soaring climax in the final two lines. Like many of Vaughan Williams's tunes, it is best sung in unison with moderate accompaniment to support this vigorous melody. For festive services use the descant in Vaughan Williams's anthem for stanza 4, or combine select choral stanzas from this anthem with congregational stanzas in the manner hymn of a concertato, using E minor throughout.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Caroline Marie Noel (b. Teston, Kent, England, 1817; d. St. Marylebone, London, England, 1877) wrote this spiritually powerful text. The daughter of an Anglican clergyman and hymn writer, she began to write poetry in her late teens but then abandoned it until she was in her forties. During those years she suffered frequent bouts of illness and eventually became an invalid. To encourage both herself and others who were ill or incapacitated, Noel began to write devotional verse again. Her poems were collected in The Name of Jesus and Other Verses for the Sick and Lonely (1861, enlarged in 1870).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Through his composing, conducting, collecting, editing, and teaching, Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England, October 12, 1872; d. August 26, 1958) became the chief figure in the realm of English music and church music in the first half of the twentieth century. His education included instruction at the Royal College of Music in London and Trinity College, Cambridge, as well as additional studies in Berlin and Paris. During World War I he served in the army medical corps in France. Vaughan Williams taught music at the Royal College of Music (1920-1940), conducted the Bach Choir in London (1920-1927), and directed the Leith Hill Music Festival in Dorking (1905-1953).
 
A major influence in his life was the English folk song. A knowledgeable collector of folk songs, he was also a member of the Folksong Society and a supporter of the English Folk Dance Society. Vaughan Williams wrote various articles and books, including National Music (1935), and composed numerous arrange­ments of folk songs; many of his compositions show the impact of folk rhythms and melodic modes. His original compositions cover nearly all musical genres, from orchestral symphonies and concertos to choral works, from songs to operas, and from chamber music to music for films. Vaughan Williams's church music includes anthems; choral-orchestral works, such as Magnificat (1932), Dona Nobis Pacem (1936), and Hodie (1953); and hymn tune settings for organ. But most important to the history of hymnody, he was music editor of the most influential British hymnal at the beginning of the twentieth century, The English Hymnal (1906), and coeditor (with Martin Shaw) of Songs of Praise (1925, 1931) and the Oxford Book of Carols (1928).
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.