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I Greet Thee/We Greet You (Calvin’s Hymn) – Sunday Songs

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To round out our observation of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth I felt it was appropriate to consider a hymn, the words of which are commonly attributed to the reformer. The song is usually credited with appearing in the French Psalter of 1545. There are a number of versions, some of which are produced below. This link to the Psalter Hymnal website provides historical background which casts doubt that Calvin was the author or adapter of the song. Popular sentiment seemingly trumps historical fact yet again, it seems. You will find yet another version of the song text on that page as well.
Calvin apparently did not oppose songs of human composition on biblical grounds but considered the inspired Psalms more useful because of their origin. This song seems to evidence his willingness to express scriptural truth in poetry that could be sung.
The website Center for Church Music provides this set of lyrics for the hymn:
1.
I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.
2.
Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.
3.
Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Oh comfort us in death’s approaching hour,
Strong-hearted then to face it by Thy power.
4.
Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
Make us to taste the sweet grace found in Thee
And ever stay in Thy sweet unity.
5.
Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Oh grant to us such stronger help and sure,
That we can boldly conquer and endure.

Together In Song, The Australian Hymnbook II provides this set of lyrics as Hymn 198:
1.
I greet you my Redeemer sure, who lives
my only trust, who our salvation gives,
who pain did undergo for my poor sake;
I pray you from our hearts all cares to take.
2.
You are the King of mercy and of grace,
reigning omnipotent in every place;
so come, our King, and our whole being sway;
shine on us with the light of your pure day.
3.
You are the life by which alone we live,
and all our substance and our strength receive;
sustain us by your faith and by your power,
and give us strength in every trying hour.
4.
You have the true and perfect gentleness,
no harshness have you and no bitterness;
O grant to us to live before your face
that we may dwell united in your grace.
5.
Our hope is in no other save in you;
our faith is built upon your promise true;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
that in your strength we evermore endure.

The Rejoice! Hymnbook of the Presbyterian Church of Australia has the following version as Hymn 150. (The Revised Church Hymnary, which many congregations used, and which many still use, did not include any version of the hymn at all.)
1.
We greet You, sure Redeemer from all strife,
our only Trust and Saviour of our life,
who pain did undergo for our poor sake;
we pray You from our hearts all cares to take.
2.
You are the King of mercy and of grace,
reigning omnipotent in every place:
so come, O King, and our whole being sway;
shine on us with the light of Your pure day.
3.
You are the life, in which we do believe,
from You all substance and all strength receive;
sustain us by Your faith and by Your power,
and give us strength in every trying hour.
4.
You have the true and perfect gentleness;
You have no harshness and no bitterness:
O grant to us the grace in You we see
that we may dwell in perfect unity.
5.
Our hope is in no other save in You;
our faith is built upon Your promise true;
Lord give us peace and make us calm and sure,
that in Your strength we evermore endure.

The following youtube uses the tune with which I am most familiar for this song. It is a simple rendition, something that Calvin may have appreciated, even if he was not the song’s author.

One thought on “I Greet Thee/We Greet You (Calvin’s Hymn) – Sunday Songs

  1. Pingback: All People That On Earth Do Dwell / Psalm 100 by Zac Hicks – Sunday Songs | mgpcpastor's blog

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