473

Come, You Thankful People, Come

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

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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