608. O God of Love, O King of Peace

1 O God of love, O King of peace,
make wars throughout the world to cease;
the wrath of nations now restrain.
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

2 Remember, Lord, your works of old,
the wonders that our parents told;
remember not our sins' dark stain.
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

3 Whom shall we trust but you, O Lord?
Where rest but on your faithful word?
None ever called on you in vain.
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

Text Information
First Line: O God of love, O King of peace
Title: O God of Love, O King of Peace
Author: Henry Williams Baker (1861, alt.)
Meter: LM
Scripture: Psalm 46; Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Society/Social Concerns; War & Revolution
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Give peace, O God
Tune Information
Name: WILDERNESS
Composer: Reginald Sparshatt Thatcher (1936)
Meter: LM
Key: e minor
Copyright: By permission of Oxford University Press


Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 46:9, Isa. 2:4, Mic. 4:3
st. 2 = Ps. 78:3-4
ref. = Ps. 29: 11

Written by Henry W. Baker (PHH 342) and entitled "The Lord Shall Give His People the Blessing of Peace," this text was published in the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. Baker was chairman of the committee that prepared this landmark hymnal. The Psalter Hymnal omits the original fourth stanza.

Because the sin of war is always present in our world, this profound prayer for peace or shalom is continuously relevant. As we sing, we pray for a cease-fire among hostile peoples, for reconciliation among warring factions (st. 1). But it is only because of God's faithfulness and mercy, his "works of old," and not from human efforts that true peace will come (st. 2). Like the Old Testament psalms that affirm God's saving deeds, this text testifies that only God can be trusted to provide a lasting peace (st. 3). "O God of Love" has an unforgettable litany refrain, "Give peace, O God, give peace again!"

Liturgical Use:
Because war, revolution, strife, and the spirit of contention are rampant in our world and because the Christian church should be engaged in peace efforts and prayers for peace, this hymn is appropriate for many occasions of worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Reginald S. Thatcher (b. Salisbury, England, 1888; d. Cranleigh, Surrey, England, 1957) composed WILDERNESS when he was a musician at the famed Harrow Public School in England. The tune was published in the Clarendon Hymn Book (1936), a hymnal initially prepared for Charterhouse, another well-known British public school.

Sing in unison, although part singing on the refrain might effectively set off the litany phrase. For an effective ending, consider turning the final chords (on "give peace again") from minor to all major chords. Use full, firm, though not bright accompaniment.

Thatcher received his education at the Royal College of Music and at Worcester College, Oxford, England. His career consisted of a series of music school appointments, including director of music at the Royal Naval College and principal of the Royal Academy of Music. From 1954 to 1960 Thatcher was president of the Royal College of Organists. He also served on the editorial committee of The BBC Hymn Book (1951). In 1952 Thatcher was knighted for his contribution to British music and Culture.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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