I know there’s a lot of songs out there, but sometimes I still find myself in checking my master list in some disbelief that I haven’t listed particular songs yet.
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less, by Edward Mote, is one of those songs. We used it this morning for our song of confession and assurance at mgpc.
Now I love this song accompanied by the tune that Nicky Chiswell wrote for it. But, frankly, it’s not great for congregational singing. Vocalists love it, instrumentalists find it more an art than a science and congregations can’t really hold some of the notes without effort. A good solo piece or usable by a confident group of singers and musicians. Give it a try some time.
The Rejoice Hymnbook of the Presbyterian Church in Australia decided to use the tune Solid Rock which seems to me to be more prevalent in the USA. It is easy to sing and certainly conveys a declarative expression to the lyrics with its staccato progression.
I grew up singing the hymn to the more flowing tune of Tynemouth (St Catherine). I decided to use this tune this morning, not out of nostalgia, but because I think it suits presents the words as a humble and reverent testimony of faith before God.
This morning I was struck by the phrase ‘In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.’ The veil is the presence of God. Our security in that presence comes from Jesus, who as our great high priest has earned the right to be there on our behalf. He keeps us securely in God’s presence.
Here are the lyrics we used to today, a bit of a mix of old and new, mostly old.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to veil His face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
When the last trumpet voice shall sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Clothed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne!

The closest I could come to finding the tune Tynemouth (St Catherine) was it being used as part of a Roman Catholic Mass. I really can’t bring my self to post a video of a whole cathedral of people singing praise to the saving presence of Jesus in a piece of bread, if you’re that curious, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2aopF3rS44
Instead, in defeat, here is My Hope Is Built sung to Solid Rock by a whole bunch of men, led by Bob Kauflin (Mr Yelly Song Leader) from the Together For The Gospel CD.

4 thoughts on “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less – Sunday Songs

  1. rcottrill says:

    Greetings from Wordwise Hymns. I was interested in your comments on Edward Mote’s fine hymn of testimony (as I posted an article on it myself, this morning). Not sure I agree with you about the tune, though. To my mind, Bradbury’s “Solid Rock” suits the text beautifully. Mr. Mote was a carpenter and cabinet maker. Though the stanzas were added later, he created the refrain while walking to work one day. One can almost hear the sound of his footsteps (or his hammer) resounding in the tune. The steady “squareness” of the melody suggests the foundation theme to me. Just a thought. šŸ™‚

    1. Gary Ware says:

      Thanks for commenting Robert.
      As I wrote, Tynemouth was the set tune in the Church Hymnary revised, so I’m guessing it is probably the more widely used tune on the British side of the Atlantic.
      My choice to not use Bradbury’s tune was more dictated by the song’s place during the service.
      If I was starting or concluding the service with the hymn I’d probably use Bradbury.
      As a song of confessing testimony (not so much declarative affirmation) I liked the contrast of Tynemouth.

  2. I grew up with the Rejoice! hymnal, but the convention in the church I’m in now is to sing it to St Catherine. Both tunes are excellent, though, and I sometimes slip the other one in as an offertory or exit piece (being the church organist has its privileges, I or the flautist get to pick the pieces we play each week).

    There’s no shortage of perfect music in the world, yet Westley was right – it would be a pity to waste (or damage) any. šŸ™‚ I’m always on the lookout for beautiful music to add to the repertoire, but especially for solid words to work with.

    1. Gary Ware says:

      I appreciate the exposure to various arrangements of hymns and psalms that can be found around the Internet.

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