473

Come, You Thankful People, Come

Full Text

1 Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in
ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, does provide
for our needs to be supplied;
come, with all his people, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

2 All the world is God's own field,
fruit unto his praise to yield;
wheat and weeds together sown,
unto joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

3 For the Lord our God shall come
and shall take the harvest home;
he himself in that great day
all offense shall purge away,
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the weeds to cast,
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

4 Even so, Lord, quickly come
to your final harvest home;
gather all your people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin
there, forever purified,
in your presence to abide;
come, with all your angels come,
raise the glorious harvest home.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Written for village harvest festivals in England, the text uses imagery found in two gospel parables: the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29) and the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). However, the initial agricultural harvest theme becomes an eschato­logical metaphor for the final judgment when the angels will gather God's chosen people into the "glorious harvest home" and cast the evil "weeds" into the "fire." Thus the text provocatively combines language and imagery that represent annual harvests as well as the ultimate consummation of history.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 52 professes that “in all distress and persecution, with uplifted head, I confidently await the very judge who has already offered himself to the judgment of God in my place and removed the whole curse from me. Christ will cast all his enemies and mine into everlasting condemnation, but will take me and all his chosen ones to himself into the joy and glory of heaven.”
 

Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57 describes what believers can expect to experience: “…We will see our Savior face to face…he will set all things right…we face that day without fear for the Judge is our Savior whose shed blood declares us righteous. We live confidently, anticipating his coming...”

473

Come, You Thankful People, Come

Additional Prayers

Almighty God, we thank you for creating the universe,
for making us in your image as the crown of your creation,
for sending us your Son, Jesus, to reveal yourself to us,
and for preparing a place for us to live with you forever.
Thank you, Christ, that you are before us and behind us.
We thank you for giving us a world vast in resources,
for enabling us to explore your world and its cultures,
for making us part of your redemption story,
and for prodding us to reflect to you all the glory of your creation.
Thank you, Christ, that you are beneath us and above us.
We thank you for your mighty power that works salvation:
you called us to a life set apart for you,
you saved us from the corrupting ways of sin,
and you brought us new life through your Son, Jesus, the Messiah.
Thank you, Christ, that you are on our right and on our left.
We thank you that you’ve called us to be servant-leaders in your world,
to be your agents of reconciliation, comfort, and healing,
and to live your gospel in our work, play, and worship
through the power and guidance of your Holy Spirit.
Thank you, Christ, that you are with us when we rest and when we rise.
Lord God, we thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit
that enable us to love each other, to act justly and love mercy,
and to live with joy, kindness, and gentle patience.
May each moment bring you glory.
Thank you, Christ, that you are in our hearts and in our minds.
Thank you for giving us a vision for a renewed heaven and earth,
where tears of pain and terrors of death are no more,
where all sorrow and suffering will cease,
and where the redeemed of the Lord and all creation will praise you forever.
Thank you, Christ, that you are in us and ever with us. Amen!
—based on a prayer attributed to St. Patrick (5th century)
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
473

Come, You Thankful People, Come

Tune Information

Name
ST. GEORGE’S WINDSOR
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
7.7.7.7 D

Recordings

473

Come, You Thankful People, Come

Hymn Story/Background

Henry Alford wrote this text and published it in seven stanzas in his Psalms and Hymns (1844). He revised and shortened it for publication in his Poetical Works (1865) and made final changes for his Year of Praise (1867). The latter version is the source of the further revised Psalter Hymnal 1987 text, the version of the text that appears here in Lift Up Your Hearts.
 
Written for village harvest festivals in England, the text uses imagery found in two gospel parables: the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29) and the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). However, the initial agricultural harvest theme becomes an eschato­logical metaphor for the final judgment when the angels will gather God's chosen people into the "glorious harvest home" and cast the evil "weeds" into the "fire." Thus the text provocatively combines language and imagery that represent annual harvests as well as the ultimate consummation of history.
 
George J. Elvey composed ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR as a setting for James Montgomery's text "Hark! The Song of Jubilee," with which it was published in Edward H. Thorne's Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1858). The tune has been associated with Alford's text since publication of the hymn in the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR is named after the chapel in Windsor, England, where Elvey was organist for forty-seven years.
 
This victorian tune is held together by the rhythmic motive of the opening phrase. Sing the opening stanzas in parts, but sing the prayer of stanza 4 in unison. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Henry Alford (b. London, England, 1810; d. Canterbury, England, 1871) was born into a family of clergy. He received his education at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, and was ordained in the Church of England in 1833. He became dean of Canterbury Cathedral in 1857, a position he held until his death. A renowned scholar, Alford wrote a four-volume commentary on the Greek New Testament, which became a standard work in its field. He was also a voluminous poet and hymn writer and published Poetical Works (2 volumes, 1845) and Hymns for the Sundays and Festivals Throughout the Year (1836).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

As a young boy, George Job Elvey (b. Canterbury, England, 1816; d. Windlesham, Surrey, England, 1893) was a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral. Living and studying with his brother Stephen, he was educated at Oxford and at the Royal Academy of Music. At age nineteen Elvey became organist and master of the boys' choir at St. George Chapel, Windsor, where he remained until his retirement in 1882. He was frequently called upon to provide music for royal ceremonies such as Princess Louise's wedding in 1871 (after which he was knighted). Elvey also composed hymn tunes, anthems, oratorios, and service music.
— Bert Polman
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