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I Come with Joy

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Wren has carefully worked out the progression from "I" to "we." This text contains themes of remembrance (st. 1), of sharing the bread and wine in communion with the saints (st. 2-3) and with Christ in his presence (st. 4), and of Christian service (st. 5), but the prevailing tone is one of joy and praise.


Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

We celebrate with joy that Christ has come to rescue us from sin and evil through the work of his son, Jesus Christ. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 35 identifies the church as “the fellowship of those who confess Jesus as Lord…the bride of Christ…”


Belgic Confession, Article 21 professes how Jesus Christ is a high priest forever and provided for the cleansing of our sins; Article 10 proclaims him as the “true eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship and serve.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2 calls us to “live and die in the joy of this comfort” and “to thank God for such deliverance.”


Stanza 3 clearly imagines us at the Lord’s Table, a new community of love where divisions end and strangers become friends. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 28, Questions and Answers 76 and 77 also reflects this greater health for the church by seeing us “united more and more to Christ’s blessed body” and “because there is one bread, we who are many are one body.”


I Come with Joy

Call to Worship

Triune God,
you have called us to live in unity with each other
and with our brothers and sisters around the world.
Help us to sense that our love for Jesus binds us together.
May our worship today be a witness
to the kind of unity that comes only
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
— The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd Edition (

I Come with Joy

Tune Information

F Major



I Come with Joy

Hymn Story/Background

Brian A. Wren wrote this communion hymn in Hockley, Essex, England, in July 1968 and revised it in 1970. The text was first published in the Canadian Anglican-United Hymn Book (1971); he revised it again in 1982 and 1995. Wren wrote this text to summarize a series of sermons on the meaning of the Lord's Supper, specifically as a post-sermon hymn to help illustrate the presence of Christ in the sacrament. He states that he wanted to express this as simply as possible, in a way that would take the worshiper (probably without… recognizing it) from the usual individualistic approach to communion ("I come") to an understanding of its essential corporateness ("we'll go").
Wren has carefully worked out the progression from "I" to "we." This text contains themes of remembrance (st. 1), of sharing the bread and wine in communion with the saints (st. 2-3) and with Christ in his presence (st. 4), the cloud of witnesses (st. 5), and of Christian service (st. 6), but the prevailing tone is one of joy and praise.
LAND OF REST is an American folk tune with roots in the ballads of northern England and Scotland. It was known throughout the Appalachians; a shape-note version of the tune was published in The Sacred Harp (1844) and titled NEW PROSPECT as the setting for "O land of rest! for thee I sigh." The tune was published again with that same text in J. R. Graves's Little Seraph (Memphis, 1873). The name LAND OF REST derives from the tune's association with that text.
The tune was known to Annabel M. Buchanan, whose grandmother sang it to her as a child. She harmonized the tune and published it in her Folk Hymns of America (1938), noting similarities between this tune and the tune for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
Like many other folk tunes, LAND OF REST should be sung rather lightly and ener­getically with two pulses per measure, and faster in a small group. Sing stanzas 1 and 2 in unison (or using a soloist) and stanzas 3 through 6 in harmony.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Brian A. Wren (b. Romford, Essex, England, 1936) is English by birth, American by choice, Reformed by Tradition, Presbyterian by membership, United Methodist by marriage and Emeritus Professor of Worship, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He is a writer, preacher, worship leader and designer, and internationally published hymn-poet, with entries in most recent denominational hymnals in North America, Britain and Australia. Some of his hymn poems have been translated into Finnish, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Korean.
Wren is a major British figure in the revival of contemporary hymn writing. He studied French literature at New College and theology at Mansfield College in Oxford, England. Ordained in 1965, he was pastor of the Congregational Church (now United Reformed) in Hockley and Hawkwell, Essex, from 1965 to 1970. He worked for the British Council of Churches and several other organizations involved in fighting poverty and promoting peace and justice. This work resulted in his writing of Education for Justice (1977) and Patriotism and Peace (1983). With a ministry throughout the English-speaking world, Wren now resides in the United States where he is active as a freelance lecturer, preacher, and full-time hymn writer. His hymn texts are published in Faith Looking Forward (1983), Praising a Mystery (1986), Bring Many Names (1989), New Beginnings (1993), and Faith Renewed: 33 Hymns Reissued and Revised (1995), as well as in many modern hymnals. He has also produced What Language Shall I Borrow? (1989), a discussion guide to inclusive language in Christian worship.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Known especially as a musicologist of American folk music, Annabel Morris Buchanan (b. Groesbeck, TX, 1888; d. Paducah KY, 1983) was educated at the Landon Conservatory, Dallas, Texas, and the Guilmant Organ School, New York City. She taught at several colleges, including Stonewall Jackson College, Abingdoll, Virginia. Buchanan published numerous articles on folk traditions of the Appalachian area of the United States. She also lectured widely on this topic and gave recitals of folk music. Her own compositions also show the influence of folk music.
— Bert Polman
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