Bread of the world, in mercy brokenAuthor: Reginald Heber (1827)
Published in 269 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
Bread of the world in mercy broken,
Wine of the soul in mercy shed,
by whom the words of life were spoken,
and in whose death our sins are dead:
look on the heart by sorrow broken;
look on the tears by sinners shed;
so may your feast become the token
that by your grace our souls are fed.
Source: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #499
|First Line:||Bread of the world, in mercy broken|
|Author:||Reginald Heber (1827)|
|Source:||Didache, c. 200|
all st. = John 6:33-35, Rom. 6:11
Written by Reginald Heber (PHH 249), "Bread of the World" was first published posthumously in his Hymns written and adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year (1827); it was subtitled "Before the Sacrament."
The text is a prayer asking Christ to look on us with mercy and to feed us with his grace. Though written in two stanzas, it is one continuous thought. A devotional text with strong poetic images–"bread of the world" and "wine of the soul"–this hymn invites confession of sin and the acceptance of divine grace.
As Heber said, "Before the sacrament"–use this hymn as part of the service of confession and forgiveness or during the communion liturgy as a substitute for the traditional singing of the Agnus Dei.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Bread of the world in mercy broken. Bishop R. Heber. [Holy Communion.] First published in his posthumous Hymns, &c, 1827, p. 143, in 2 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed “Before the Sacrament." Its use has become most extensive in all English-speaking countries. Original text in Taring's Collection, No. 529. In the Mitre Hymn Book, 1836, the opening line was altered to "Bread of our life in mercy broken," but this reading has fallen out of use.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
This hymn is by Reginald Heber, an Anglican bishop who is best known for “From Greenland's Icy Mountains” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The date it was written is unknown, and it was published posthumously in 1827 by his widow in Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Church Year. The text is in two short stanzas, though they are combined when sung to a longer tune such as RENDEZ À DIEU. The theme of the text is the sacrifice of Christ and its meaning for us, as shown in the sacrament.
This text is sung to many tunes, and is often set to original music. The two most frequently used tunes used are EUCHARISTIC HYMN and RENDEZ À DIEU.
EUCHARISTIC HYMN was written for this text by John Sebastian Bach Hodges, an Episcopal rector, in 1868. He named the tune for the liturgical use of the text and published it in 1869 in Book of Common Praise, which he edited.
The Genevan psalm tune RENDEZ À DIEU is also known as GENEVAN 98/118. It was originally used for Psalm 118 in the 1551 Geneva Psalter, then for both Psalms 98 and 118 in the 1562 edition. The name RENDEZ À DIEU comes from the opening words of a French paraphrase for Psalm 118. When this tune is sung with the joyful texts of the two Psalms, the Psalter Hymnal Handbook (p. 253-254) has this suggestion: “Its clear melodic structure and vibrant rhythm call for firm accompaniment with bright organ registration.” However, when the tune is used for a somber text like “Bread of the World,” a slower tempo and more muted organ would be appropriate.
Heber's original title for the text was “Before the sacrament.” For a confessional text like this one, it is most appropriate to sing it during a time of confession before Communion. If the choir is to sing it, there are plenty of settings to choose from. An arrangement that uses a familiar tune is “Celtic Communion”, in which Mark Hayes sets this text and one by St. Patrick to BUNESSAN, with optional orchestration for Celtic instruments such as flute or penny-whistle. Another option is a choral setting of “Bread of the World” to an expressive original melody and additional stanza by Mark Burrows. An a capella setting of “Bread of the World in Mercy Broken” is for choir in motet style by Robert Smith. “Communion Music for Manuals, Set 1” contains organ settings by Charles Callahan of both tunes this text is usually sung to: EUCHARISTIC HYMN and RENDEZ À DIEU.
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org
|Instances (23)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|Chalice Hymnal #387||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber||John S. B. Hodges||184.108.40.206||EUCHARISTIC HYMN||E Flat Major||English||1995|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #403||Bread of the world in mercy broken||2000|
|Common Praise (1998) #54||Bread of the world, in mercy broken (Pain vivant donné pour nos âmes)||Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber (1783-1826); Henri Chapieu (19??-)||Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)||220.127.116.11 D||Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; John 6:66-69; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2; Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; John 6:66-69; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major or modal||French; English||1998|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #84||Bread of the world in mercy broken||Bread of the world in mercy broken||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #312||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World||R. Heber, 1783-1826; F. B. Tucker, 1895-1984||18.104.22.168 D||John 15:1-9||RENDEZ À DIEU||F Major||English||1996|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #499||Bread of the world in mercy broken||Bread of the World in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber||Louis Bourgeois||22.214.171.124 D||Psalm 51:17; Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:17-20; Luke 24:30; John 6:51; John 6:58; Romans 6:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major or modal||English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #301||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Reginald Heber, 1783-1826||Louis Bourgeois, 1510?-1561?; Claude Goudimel, 1514-1572||126.96.36.199 D||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major or modal||English||1985|
|Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #270||Bread of the world in mercy broken||188.8.131.52 D||1983|
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #396||Bread of the world in mercy broken||R. Heber (1783-1826)||L. Bourgeois (c. 1510-c. 1561)||184.108.40.206 D||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major or modal||1987|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #68||Bread of the world in mercy broken||220.127.116.11 D||1996|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #502||Bread of the world in mercy broken||Bread of the World in Mercy Broken||Reginald Huber||Louis Bourgeois||18.104.22.168 D||Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major||English||1990|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #310||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber||John S. B. Hodges||22.214.171.124||Matthew 26:26-28; John 6:55; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 2||EUCHARISTIC HYMN||E Flat Major||English||1987|
|Rejoice in the Lord #551||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber; Francis Bland Tucker||126.96.36.199 D||RENDEZ A DIEU||F Major||English||1985|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #398||Bread of the world in mercy borken, Wine of the soul in mercy shed||COMMUNION||1985|
|Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #465||Bread of the world in mercy broken||188.8.131.52 D||1999|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #565||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber, 1783-1826||John S. B. Hodges, 1830-1915||184.108.40.206||John 6:51||EUCHARISTIC HYMN||E Flat Major||1996|
|The New Century Hymnal #346||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World, in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber||J. S. B. Hodges||220.127.116.11||John 6:35-58||EUCHARISTIC HYMN||E Flat Major||1995|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #624||Bread of the world in mercy broken||Bread of the World||Reginald Heber||John S. B. Hodges||18.104.22.168||John 6:35-58||EUCHARISTIC HYMN||E Flat Major||English||1989|
|The Worshiping Church #774||Bread of the world in mercy broken||Bread of the World in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber||Donald P. Hustad||22.214.171.124 D||1 Corinthians 11:24-25; John 6:35-58||WAYFARING STRANGER||F Major||English||1990|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #512||Bread of the world in mercy broken||126.96.36.199 D||1999|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #425||Bread of the world in mercy broken||Bread of the World in Mercy Broken||Reginald Heber||John S.B. Hodges||188.8.131.52||John 6:55||EUCHARISTIC HYMN||E Flat Major||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #461||Bread of the world, in mercy broken (Tu es notre pain véritable)||Bread of the World (Tu es notre pain véritable)||L. Guillou; Reginald Heber||Louis Bourgeois||184.108.40.206 D||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major||English; French||1996|
|Worship and Rejoice #693||Bread of the world, in mercy broken||Bread of the World||Reginald Heber, 1783-1826||Louis Bourgeois, ca. 1510-1561||220.127.116.11 D||1 Corinthians 11:24-25; John 6:35-38||RENDEZ À DIEU||G Major or modal||English||2001|