Lord of the Universe

Lord of the universe, hope of the world

Author: Edith Margaret Clarkson (1973)
Published in 1 hymnal

Audio files: MIDI

Full Text

1 Lord of the universe, hope of the world,
Lord of the limitless reaches of space,
here on this planet you put on our flesh,
vastness confined in the womb of a maid;
born in our likeness you ransomed our race:

Savior, we worship you, praise and adore;
help us to honor you more and yet more,
help us to honor you more and yet more!

2 Lord of the universe, hope of the world,
Lord of the infinite eons of time,
you came among us, you lived our brief years,
tasted our griefs, our aloneness, our fears,
conquered our death, made eternity ours: Refrain

3 Lord of the universe, hope of the world,
send out your light to the ends of the earth.
May we who know you obey your command,
go with the grace of your gospel to all,
bringing salvation and freedom and joy: Refrain

4 Lord of the universe, hope of the world,
how your creation cries out for release!
looks for you, longs for you, watches and waits,
prays for your kingdom of justice and peace!
Maker, Redeemer, triumphant One, come! Refrain

(This is the only full text available.)^ top

Author: Edith Margaret Clarkson

Margaret Clarkson, whose rarely-used first name is Edith, was born in 1915 into, as Margaret herself described, “a loveless and unhappy marriage” which broke up when she was twelve. The memories of her childhood were of tension, fear, insecurity, and isolation. Margaret was born in Melville, Saskatchewan where she lived until her parents, Frederick and Ethel, and the family moved to Toronto when she was around age four. Throughout her life, she was plagued by pain; initially from migraines, accompanied by convulsive vomiting, and then arthritis—two ailments that accompanied her continually. In Destined for Glory, she related sadly that her mother told her that her first words were “my head hurts.” At age three Margaret, or Ma… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Lord of the universe, hope of the world
Title: Lord of the Universe
Author: Edith Margaret Clarkson (1973)
Meter: with refrain
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Savior, we worship you, praise and adore
Copyright: Text © 1973, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Assigned 1986 to Hope Publishing Company


Scripture References:
st. 1 = John 1:14, 1 Tim. 2:6
st. 2 = Heb. 4:14-16
st. 3 = Ps. 43:3
st. 4 = Rom. 8:18-25

Margaret Clarkson (PHH 238) wrote this text of partially rhymed verse in Toronto, Canada. This is how she explained how she came to write the text:

The theme for the IVCF [Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship] missions conference Urbana '73 had been announced as “Jesus Christ–Lord of the Universe, Hope of the World," and a contest had been launched among Inter-Varsity's student groups for a song to be written on that theme. Not being a student, I couldn't enter, but every time I saw the theme words in print during the last part of 1972 and the early part of 1973, I had to hold myself back from starting to write–the beauty and scope of those majestic words was almost too much to withstand. They were a song in themselves, so thrilling and rhythmic that they burned themselves more and more deeply into my very heart and soul. However, I managed to refrain from bursting forth in a hymn. In March of 1973 (after receiving correspondence emblazoned with the theme words) . . . I could no longer restrain myself. Forgetting about lunch, I grabbed clipboard and pencil and began to write. Faster than I could put the words down on paper they came pouring out, accompanied in the back of my mind by a melody; they almost came out singing. By mid-afternoon I had before me a finished hymn. . . . I had been "acted upon" by the Holy Spirit of God in a way I have never experienced before or since (A Singing Heart, Hope, 1987).

Although the contest winners' hymns were sung at Urbana '73, Clarkson's text became the convention hymn. "Lord of the Universe" was published in the Urbana songbook Sounds (1973) as well as in IVCF's Hymnal II (1976).

The four stanzas start with the theme phrase, "Lord of the universe, hope of the world." Stanza 1 recalls Christ's incarnation and stanza 2, his earthly ministry; stanza 3 enjoins us to be serious about our missionary task; stanza 4 looks forward to Christ's coming again. The refrain turns this hymn of confession into an anthem of praise.

Liturgical Use:
Throughout Epiphany (with its ministry/mission theme); on many other occasions when the "Lord of the universe, hope of the world" theme fits.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



At the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee's request William P. Rowan (b. San Diego, CA, 1950) wrote STONEHENGE for Clarkson's text in 1985 (the tune's name was chosen because of the "monolithic" proportions of the text). The hymn was first published in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. Rowan built this rounde…

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