Harry E. Fosdick was a well-known and controversial preacher in the early twentieth century. After Fosdick left his positon at one church, John D. Rockefeller asked him to become pastor of Park Avenue Baptist Church in New York City, but Fosdick thought the church was too wealthy, and agreed only on condition that a new church would be built in a less fashionable place. The site selected for Riverside Church was on the banks of the Hudson, not far from Harlem. Fosdick wrote this hymn at his summer home in Maine in 1930 for the opening service of Riverside Church that fall.
Now you can use our FlexScore system to set your own hymn to music. Select a tune, type in the words, and click "generate". It's easy! You can edit and print your custom FlexScores as often as you like.
You can use one of the five free FlexScore tunes everyone has access to or purchase another tune. Once you have purchased a FlexScore, you can use its tune for as many custom FlexScores as you like.
Follow the My FlexScores link on the home page to try it out.
Hymnary.org is proud to introduce our new FlexScore system, which lets use enter hymns and create a variety of versions, including versions for projection, the bulletin, instrumental versions, lead sheets, and more.
Worship leaders: would you like to have a trumpet or other instrument accompany the congregation? Now you can print out music instantly. Want to transpose a hymn? It's easy. Print a version for a particular guitar capo setting? Done. Large print? Check.
Ira Sankey, good friend of hymn author Fanny Crosby, once related this story about the comfort “Blessed Assurance” provides:
Psalm 72 is a well-known prophecy of the coming Messiah – foretelling the reign of the King and what the Kingdom of that Messiah will be like. But perhaps more than a prophecy, Psalm 72 is a prayer. In these verses the psalmist calls upon God to give justice and righteousness to the King, perhaps the newly crowned earthly king of Israel, but also the heavenly king. It is a cry for the deliverance of a broken people, for the realization of peace and light. James Montgomery’s hymn text from 1821 beautifully captures the essence of that prayer.
This hymn is a declaration of praise, but it’s also much more than that. The words both declare the majesty of Christ and task us with making that majesty known to all. Like many hymns describing the glory of God and the hope that one day all people will see that glory, this hymn alludes to Philippians 2:9-11: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” We long for this day, and declare our hope in its arrival in the text of this hymn.
In the Bible, the mountain often represents the holy presence of God. Moses has to go up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments and to see the Promised Land. In the Gospel, Jesus is transfigured on a mountain, an event signifying the full embodiment of the divine nature and holiness of Christ. In the Old Testament especially, the mountain is also a place that is set apart – not just everyone can go up the mountain to be in God’s presence. Psalm 24:3 asks, “Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Most of us have, at some point, made or seen the paper cut-outs of a long chain of people, connected by hands and feet. Or we’ve seen images of a globe with a circle of people from around the world surrounding it, hands grasped in equality and love. This image is evoked once more in the words of Isaac Watts’ hymn, "From All That Dwell Below the Skies". It is a beautiful thing to imagine a whole world of people, stretching across deserts, over mountains, deep in a forest, sitting on ships in the ocean, and lining the streets of a city.
It is human nature to seek power and accomplishment through conflict, hence the popularity of athletic contests. Defeat in a championship game is humiliating, and giving up is even more so. Nevertheless, Christ calls His followers to totally surrender themselves to Him. He described it this way: “Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
In 1757, after living a life he described as “carnal and spiritual wickedness, irreligious and profane,” Joseph Hart turned to Christ (Psalter Hymnal Handbook). Two years later, he wrote this famous hymn. Now, having undergone numerous text and tune changes, it still remains a classic hymn of invitation to turn from our sinful ways by the grace of God into the waiting arms of our Savior. The added refrain hearkens back to the story of the prodigal son, who, like Hart, turned from a life of waywardness and folly back to his father’s waiting arms.