227

He Is Lord

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

One of numerous anonymous Scripture songs arising out of the charismatic movement during the 1960s and following, this popular song is drawn from the well-known confession of faith recorded in Philippians 2: 1 0-11. There Paul appears to be quoting from an early Christian hymn that was used as a profession of faith. The following are additional stanzas, also anonymous, printed in the British Methodist Hymns and Psalms and in The Worshiping Church (1990); these may be freely reprinted in church bulletins:
 
He is King, he is King!
He will draw all nations to him, he is King;
and the time shall be when the world shall sing
that Jesus Christ is King!
He is Love, he is Love!
He has shown us by his life that he is Love.
All his people sing with one voice of joy
that Jesus Christ is Love!
He is Life, he is Life!
He has died to set us free and he is Life;
and he calls us all to live evermore,
for Jesus Christ is Life!
 
These additional stanzas use phrases from John's gospels to extol Christ as the king who draws all nations to him (John 12:32), as the source and model of love (1 John 3:16), and as the surety for eternal life (1 John 5:11).
 
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).

227

He Is Lord

Call to Worship

Ascended and reigning Christ,
help all of us who struggle to worship you as Lord
perceive the beauty and glory of your sovereign rule.
Help all of us who struggle to worship you as heavenly priest
discover the beauty and power of your ongoing prayer for us and with us. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Jesus Christ has come into heaven and is at God’s right hand—
with angels, authorities, and powers in submission to him.
Since we have a great high priest who has gone into heaven—
Jesus, the Son of God—let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
Let us praise his holy name!
Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength
be to our God forevermore!
Alleluia, Amen!
Alleluia!
—based on Hebrews 4:14; Revelation 5:10, 12
[Reformed Worship 23:41]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the one who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.
Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed. Amen.
—from Revelation 11:17; 12:10, NIV; 15:3-4, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Assurance

Hear the good news of the gospel:
God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ—
by grace you have been saved—
and raised us up with him and seated us with him
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come he might show
the immeasurable riches of his grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
In Christ, by God’s grace, we are saved.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!
—based on Ephesians 2:4-7, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Hear the good news of the gospel:
If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous;
and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
In Christ, we are forgiven! Thanks be to God.
—based on 1 John 2:1-2, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

We believe that we have no access to God
except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor:
“Jesus Christ the righteous,”
who therefore was made human,
uniting together the divine and human natures,
so that we human beings might have access to the divine majesty.
—from Belgic Confession, Art. 26
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Our ascended Lord gives hope for two ages.
In the age to come, Christ is the judge,
rejecting unrighteousness,
isolating God’s enemies to hell,
blessing the new creation in Christ.
In this age, the Holy Spirit is with us,
calling nations to follow God’s path,
uniting people through Christ in love.
—from Our Song of Hope, st. 5
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

Grace and peace to you
from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—
to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
—Revelation 1:4-6, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Jesus says:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” Amen.
—from Matthew 28:18-20, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

In the presence of God, who gives life to all things,
and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony
before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame
until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which he will bring about at the right time—
he who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no one has ever seen or can see;
to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
—1 Timothy 6:13-16, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

O God of all power and majesty,
you created the heavens and stretched them out.
You formed the earth and all that comes from it.
You give the breath of life to all who walk on the face of the earth.
Jesus, you conquered sin and death and now reign victorious.
You are Lord; glory is due your name.
The former things have come to pass;
we now await the new things you will bring through the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice to be gathered in your name.
Alleluia! Accept our praises and petitions. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 39:28]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Ascended Lord Jesus, help us to turn our thoughts toward you. We confess to
you this Ascension Day that we so often fail to take you into account. Sometimes
we do not set our minds upon you because of sheer laziness—it’s easier just to go
with society’s flow. Sometimes we do not take you into account because of simple
inattention—we just forget to look for ways in which we could serve your gospel
in a given situation. At other times we have not turned toward you because we have
actively and willfully decided to turn away from you.
When and where we fail to be transparent to your cosmic lordship, please
forgive us. By your Spirit of Pentecost, sent to us precisely because you are reigning
on high, help us to see this world the way you see it. From your exalted throne you
are able to see us and this world and its many hurting people clearly and well. Help
us to open our own eyes. Grant us vision and insight to view the people around us
through the lens of your own compassion.
Sometimes, O God, we conceive of your lordship as regal, powerful, and
perhaps a bit distant. We think your sovereign rule involves mostly quashing evil,
pursuing justice, and judging sin. Remind us by your Spirit that your lordship is
also about being close to people in need. Prod us to recall that in your kingdom,
rulership comes through servanthood and that the hands that uphold our world are
the pierced and tender hands of Jesus. Help us to remember (so that we may imitate
this ourselves) that you see not just evil that needs judging but also suffering that
needs ministry.
For you, O Lord, see the tears of the widowed, the sobs that overtake them when
the rest of us are not looking. You see the disorientation in which so many people
live every day—confusion borne of war, poverty, abuse, or chronic illness. You
see the people in dead-end jobs who trudge to work every day filled with so much
despair that they can hardly breathe. You see those who search a loved one’s eyes
for traces of love but find only an empty stare. As Lord of the earth, you spy every
instance of one person cutting another to the quick, every place where a child lives
in fear, every bar where someone tries to drown their sorrows.
Yet you are our world’s every hope. You are tender enough to weep with those
who weep and yet strong enough to lend comfort and not be consumed with the
sorrows that overwhelm us. You are discerning enough to see where our lives run
off the rails and yet gracious enough to forgive our foolishness and open again
the better path that leads into your kingdom. You are the bright center to all of
life, O God! Your lordship helps us glimpse our future with you in your kingdom,
even as it points the way home.
Make us into people of the ascension, Christ Jesus! Make us your hands of mercy,
your voice of grace, your presence of love. Whatever we do, whether in word
or deed; whatever we see, whether sinful or salacious; whatever we hear, whether
uplifting or depressing; whatever we face in this world, help us to face it in your
power and with the knowledge of your grace and goodness. Help us to be gentle
with prodigal children. Help us to be stalwart in the truth with people in love with
lies. Help us to be radiant with hope with people who fear death. Help us to be your
people, Lord God.
For today, as always, this world needs your shalom-filled presence. Bring peace
to war-torn places and help people everywhere to see in one another your image.
May those who delight in the paths of suicide and destruction be turned instead to
delight in life and in mutual flourishing. End the terror in which so many live, and
thwart the dreams of those who plot still more terror on the unsuspecting. Where
there is hunger, bring bread; where there is drought and thirst, send refreshing
rains; where there is hatred, bring your peace; where there is greed, bring your own
fullness and so turn appetites run amok away from short-term pleasures toward
things that last and that foster richness and plenty for all.
We are the people of your ascension and reign, Holy Christ of God. Whatever
we do, help us never to forget who we are, whose we are, and where true joy may
be found.
In the power and blessing of your name we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

You said, “Peace be with you.” And you breathed on your disciples,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit and be able to go in peace.
And so, victorious Lord, we pray to you:
Lord, hear us and give us your peace.
O Christ, after your resurrection you sent out your disciples to teach the nations,
to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
You said you would be with them always, to the end of the age.
And so, victorious Lord, we pray to you:
Lord, hear us, and send us out with your promise.
O Christ, exalted one, through your resurrection you have lifted us up,
you have given gifts to us, you have sent your Spirit to us,
that we might be equipped for service to a world that knows you not.
And so, victorious Lord, we pray to you:
Lord, hear us, and distribute your gifts among us.
O Christ, exalted one, you are glorified by angels in heaven,
you are honored and worshiped on earth,
and all of history stands on tip-toe, eagerly awaiting the final day
of your return, when you will make all things new.
And so, victorious Lord, we pray to you:
Lord, hear us, and come again soon.
Our Father, grant that we may evermore
live in the fullness of your power, filled with your peace,
directed by your Spirit, and sent as Christ was sent.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
Sovereign King,
we praise you for your just and righteous reign over the cosmos:
for the order you give to creation . . .
for your sovereign rule over the nations . . .
for your faithfulness to your church . . .
for your lordship in our lives . . .
You are at once King and servant, willing to give your life
and caring even for what we might count as insignificant.
So we approach your throne knowing you will listen to our prayers
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those who are in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray in your name, O Christ, our sovereign servant King. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord God, heavenly King,
we offer these our gifts
as a sign of love, devotion, and praise.
Through these, as through our praises,
we acknowledge that you are our Lord.
In your name we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
227

He Is Lord

Tune Information

Name
HE IS LORD
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
3.3.11.10.6

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

This song can be sung with great joy and acclamation, especially on Easter Sunday or when celebrating the Ascension of Christ. But the text could also be sung rather meditatively. The simple four-part setting by Dale Grotenhuis can be played majestically as well as meditatively; even the tempo can vary, depending on its role in the service.
 
Perhaps your church has sung this song too often. If so, give it a rest. But whenever you do choose it for worship, the first thing to decide is its place and function in the service. Here are a number of suggestions from the leader’s edition of Sing! A New Creation:
  • During Lent, sing the simple setting with the hymn “When I Survey” to remind us that every Sunday, even in that dark season, is a “little Easter.” Juxtapose appropriate stanzas (“thorns compose so rich a crown” into “He is King” or “save in the death of Christ” into “He is Life”).
  • During the Easter Season, or on Ascension Day, use the festive arrangement, including trumpets.
  • As a closing song any time of year.
  • Use only one stanza as a closing refrain at the end of a service.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 66)
— Emily Brink
227

He Is Lord

Hymn Story/Background

One of numerous Scripture songs arising out of the charismatic movement during the 1960s and following, this popular song is drawn from the well-known confession of faith recorded in Philippians 2: 10-11. There Paul appears to be quoting from an early Christian hymn that was used as a profession of faith. Stanza 1 was composed by Marvin Frey while attending a Christian Crusade camp. Stanzas 2, 3, and 4 are anonymous, printed in the British Methodist Hymns and Psalms and in The Worshiping Church (1990).
 
These additional stanzas use phrases from John's gospels to extol Christ as the King who draws all nations to him (John 12:32), as the source and model of love (1 John 3:16), and as the surety for eternal life (1 John 5:11).
 
“He Is Lord” should be sung with great conviction as a bold testimony to all the world that “Jesus is Lord!” Use strong accompaniment, but do not rush the tempo. When the hymn is sung with some or all of the additional stanzas, conclude the singing with a repeat of the first stanza.
 
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Dale Grotenhuis (b. Cedar Grove, WI, 1931; d. Jenison, MI, August 17, 2012), was a member of the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, a professor of music and director of choral music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, from 1960 until he retired in 1994 to concentrate on composition. Educated at Calvin College; Michigan State University, Lansing; and Ohio State University, Columbus; he combined teaching with composition throughout his career and is a widely published composer of choral music. He also directed the Dordt choir in a large number of recordings, including many psalm arrangements found in the 1959 edition of the Psalter Hymnal, 1987.
— Bert Polman

Author and Composer Information

Marvin V. Frey (b. 1918; d. North Tarrytown, NY, 1992) was an evangelical minister who wrote many well-known songs of faith.  A native of Sherwood, OR, Frey was active in evangelical ministry work for the nondenominational Independent Assemblies of God at an early age. During the 1930's, he played piano on many occasions for the evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. In 1956, he founded the Children's Fund of New York, which ministers to needy children throughout the city. He wrote more than 2,000 songs, many of them during evangelistic gatherings. His best-known song is "Kum Ba Yah," which he wrote at 17 while attending a Christian Crusade camp. He wrote the song as "Come By Here," but a youth at the camp took it to his parents, who used it in their missionary work in Angola, where it acquired its more popular title. Other songs he wrote include "He Is Lord," "This Is My Commandment," "I've Got Peace Like a River" and "Do, Lord."
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.



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