492

Come, Thou Almighty King

Full Text

1 Come, thou almighty King,
help us thy name to sing;
help us to praise.
Father, all glorious,
o'er all victorious,
come, and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.

2 Come, thou incarnate Word,
gird on thy mighty sword;
scatter thy foes.
Let thine almighty aid
our sure defense be made,
our souls on thee be stayed;
thy wonders show.

3 Come, holy Comforter,
thy sacred witness bear
in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art,
now rule in every heart,
and ne'er from us depart,
Spirit of power.

4 To thee, great One in Three,
eternal praises be
hence evermore!
Thy sovereign majesty
may we in glory see,
and to eternity
love and adore.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text appears to be patterned after the British national anthem, "God Save the King." Filled with names for members of the Godhead, this song exhibits a common trinitarian structure, addressing God the Father (st. 1), God the Son (st. 2), and God the Holy Spirit (st. 3), concluding with a doxology to the Trinity (st. 4).

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

God’s children are called to and gathered to give worship to all three members of the Trinity. Belgic Confession, Article 8, gives the clearest explanation of the three persons of the Trinity, including not only their identity, but also their nature and tasks: “The Father is the cause, origin, and source of all things, visible and invisible. The Son is the Word, the Wisdom, and the image of the Father. The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 8, Questions and Answers 24 and 25 does so in much briefer form. As does the Belhar Confession, Section 1: “We believe in the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects and cares for the church through Word and Spirit. This, God has done since the beginning of the world and will do to the end.”
492

Come, Thou Almighty King

Call to Worship

God of grace,
you have given us minds to know you,
hearts to love you, and voices to sing your praise.
Fill us with your Spirit,
that we may celebrate your glory
and worship you in spirit and in truth
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
 
[Service for the Lord's Day and Lectionary for the Christian Year, p. 12, with opening likes from BCW-1946, p. 5, alt., PD]

Holy, holy, holy God,
we worship and adore you—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Today in our worship we long for a glimpse of your glory,
seen perfectly in Christ, our Lord.
As we worship, may we gain new insight
about the mystery and wonder of your love.
And may we sense new ways to mirror that love in our world,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Holy Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
send your Holy Spirit to awaken us.
Send your grace to forgive us,
your truth to instruct us,
your mercy to relieve us.
Holy Father, you created the world
through your mediating Son and brooding Spirit.
Lord Jesus Christ, on the Father’s mission
you redeemed the world your Father loves.
Holy Spirit of Father and Son,
you blew power into the church and sent her out to the world.
Majestic God, triune from all ages,
brimming with life upon life in triplicate verve,
you poured out life to create, save, and inspire.
And so we worship and adore you. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
492

Come, Thou Almighty King

Hymn Story/Background

This anonymous text dates from before 1757, when it was published in a leaflet and bound into the 1757 edition of George Whitefield's Collection of Hymns for Social Worship. The text appears to be patterned after the British national anthem, "God Save the King." Filled with names for members of the Godhead, this song exhibits a common trinitarian structure, addressing God the Father (st. 1), God the Son (st. 2), and God the Holy Spirit (st. 3), concluding with a doxology to the Trinity (st. 4).
 
The text has often been attributed to Charles Wesley, since the leaflet also included a hymn text from his pen (“Jesus, Let Thy Pitying Eye"); however, "Come, Thou Almighty King" was never printed in any of the Wesley hymnals, and no other Wesley text is written in such an unusual meter.
 
Felice de Giardini composed ITALIAN HYMN in three parts for this text at the request of Selina Shirley, the famous evangelically minded Countess of Huntingdon. Giardini was living in London at the time and contributed this tune and three others to Martin Madan's Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1769), published to benefit the Lock Hospital in London where Madan was chaplain.
 
Named for its composer's homeland, ITALIAN HYMN is also known as MOSCOW (where Giardini died) and TRINITY (after the theme of the hymn text).
 
This vigorous tune needs strong rhythmic accompaniment. Think one broad beat per measure. The doxological stanza can be taken more majestically.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Felice de Giardini (b. Turin, Italy, 1716; d. Moscow, Russia, 1796) achieved great musical fame throughout Europe, especially in England. He studied violin, harpsichord, voice, and composition in Milan and Turin; from 1748 to 1750 he conducted a very successful solo violin tour on the continent. He came to England in 1750 and for the next forty years lived in London, where he was a prominent violinist in several orchestras. Giardini also taught and composed operas and instrumental music. In 1784 he traveled to Italy, but when he returned to London in 1790, Giardini was no longer popular. His subsequent tour to Russia also failed, and he died there in poverty.
— Bert Polman
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