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May the Mind of Christ, My Savior

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

In the first four stanzas of this "catalog" hymn the believer asks, "May the mind of Christ," the "word of God," the "peace of God," and the "love of Jesus" live in my heart throughout each day, in "all I do and say." Stanza 5 invokes the race-running imagery of Hebrews 12:1-2. The Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee omitted the final stanza for publication in the Psalter Hymnal and changed stanza 5 to the first ­person plural ("we/us") to provide a corporate finale. The song was first published in the London children's hymnbook Golden Bells (1925) and has gained popularity in recent hymnals.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
 
Inspired by Philippians 2:5 and Hebrews 12:1-2, Kate B. Wilkinson gives us a catalogue hymn in which we pray for the mind and love of Jesus and the word and peace of God to fill us in our earthly journey.
 
Bert Polman

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Developing the mind of Christ is a key element in the believer’s sanctification. Therefore the church, as the fellowship of those who confess Jesus as Lord, “is the bride of Christ, his chosen partner, loved by Jesus and loving him; delight in his presence, seeking him I pray—silent before the mystery of his love” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 35).
In addition, Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 47 points to the fact that God’s truth should shine forth in all learning: “All students, without regard to abilities, race, or wealth, bear God’s image and deserve an education that helps them use their gifts fully.”

Tune Information

Name
ST. LEONARDS
Key
E♭ Major
Meter
8.7.8.5

Musical Suggestion

The song is very easy for a congregation to learn. The choir and/or some instrumentalists may wish to sing or play the descant already the first week. By the second or third week, many in the congregation may also wish to join their voices on the descant. Church school children could learn one stanza each week and have most of the hymn memorized by the end of the month.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 12)
— Emily Brink

Hymn Story/Background

In the first four stanzas of this "catalog" hymn the believer asks, "May the mind of Christ," the "word of God," the "peace of God," and the "love of Jesus" live in my heart throughout each day, in "all I do and say." Stanza 5 invokes the race-running imagery of Hebrews 12:1-2. The original final stanza was omitted and stanza 5 was changed to the first ­person plural ("we/us") to provide a corporate finale. The song was first published in the London children's hymnbook Golden Bells (1925) and has gained popularity in recent hymnals.
 
This text is attributed to Kate Barclay Wilkinson. She wrote this text in 1912 in six stanzas, inspired by Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (KJV).
 
A. Cyril Barham-Gould (b. England, 1891; d. Turnbridge Wells, Kent, England, 1953) composed ST. LEONARDS for Wilkinson's text while living at St. Leonards-on-Sea, England; it was published as the setting for that text in Golden Bells. The St. Leonard for whom St. Leonards-on-Sea is named and to whom the tune title indirectly refers is the fifth-century French bishop Leonard of Limosin, the patron saint for pregnant women and prisoners of war. Sing ST. LEONARDS in two long lines. The first four stanzas can be sung antiphonally by groups within the congregation, but stanza 5 is for everyone together.
 
Inspired by Philippians 2:5 and Hebrews 12:1-2, Kate B. Wilkinson gives us a catalogue hymn in which we pray for the mind and love of Jesus and the word and peace of God to fill us in our earthly journey. The tune was written for this text; the tune title refers to the British town St. Leonards-on-Sea, named after the fifth-century Leonard of Limosin, the patron saint of pregnant women and prisoners of war.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Little is known about Kate Barclay Wilkinson’s (b. England, 1859; d. Kensington, England, 1928) life: a member of the Church of England, she was involved in a ministry to girls in London and a participant in the Keswick Convention Movement. She was married to Frederick Barclay Wilkinson.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

A. Cyril Barham-Gould (b. England, 1891; d. Turnbridge Wells, Kent, England, 1953) was educated at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1928. He worked in several churches in and near London and served as vicar of St. Paul's, Onslow Square, from 1936 until his death in 1953.
— Bert Polman

Emily Ruth Brink (b. 1940, Grand Rapids, MI) graduated from Calvin College (BA in Music), the University of Michigan (MM in Church Music) and Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (PhD in Music Theory). She taught at Manhattan (Montana) Christian School (1964-1966), the State University of New York (New Paltz; 1966-1967), Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL; 1967-1972), and the University of Illinois (Campaign/Urbana; 1974-1983), also serving as organist and choir director in both Episcopal and Christian Reformed churches in those areas.

In 1977 she was appointed to the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, and in 1983 moved to Grand Rapids in a change of careers to become the first music and worship editor of the Christian Reformed Church. She was the founding editor of Reformed Worship; editor of the Psalter Hymnal (1987), Songs for LiFE (1994), Sing! A New Creation (2001, 2002); co-editor with Bert Polman of The Psalter Hymnal Handbook (1998), and editor of many other worship-related publications. Since 1984 she has been an adjunct professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, directing the seminary choir in the first years, and introducing courses on church music and worship before being granted emeritus status in 2009. 

Her ecumenical work began with the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, becoming the first woman president (1990-1992); in 2006 she was named a Fellow of the society in recognition of distinguished services to hymnody and hymnology. She served in both local and national offices of the American Guild of Organists, and has been a member for more than twenty years of the Consultation on Common Texts, serving as chair from 2008 to 2014.

In 2002, she became a Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, contributing to The Worship Sourcebook and other publications; serving as program chair of the annual Symposium on Worship; and helping to plan and participate in worship conferences in more than fifteen countries. 
— Emily Brink

Song Notes

This simple yet powerful hymn of dedication sets before us a prayer – first of longing for the “word of God”, the “peace of God”, and the “love of Jesus” to fill us and dwell in us, and secondly, that we would respond to those gifts with perseverance to “run the race before us.” It might become too easy for us to make this a generic prayer of right living, but the first line alone ought to give us pause. “May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day.” Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” This first stanza is therefore a prayer that God’s will would be done in us, and that just as our lives are filled with God’s peace and love, so too would our relationships with each other be shaped after Christ’s relationship with us. This is an awesome task, and we should not skip too lightly over these words. But we can also sing them with boldness and hope, knowing that God does not ask more of us than we can give.
— Laura de Jong
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