687

Father, Long Before Creation

Full Text

1 Father, long before creation
you had chosen us in love,
and that love so deep, so moving,
draws us close to Christ above.
Still it keeps us firmly fixed in Christ alone.

2 Though the world may change its fashion,
you will still remain the same;
your compassion and your covenant
through all ages will remain.
Your own children shall forever praise your name.

3 Your compassion is our story,
is our boasting all the day;
mercy free and never failing
moves our will, directs our way.
God so loved us that he gave his only Son.

4 Loving Father, now before you
we shall ever sing your grace,
and our song will sound forever
when we see you face to face,
giving glory to the Lamb upon the throne.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

With various references to Ephesians 1:3-14, the text confesses the Christian faith. That confession is all the more bold when it is seen against the background of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Stanza 2 states that “Though the world may change its fashion, you will still remain the same.” Stanza 3 concludes with a line from John 3: 16, "God so loved us that he gave his only Son." The entire text affirms God's electing love and redemptive grace and leads to a final stanza in which we sing "glory to the Lamb upon the throne."

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Catechism says that those who know Christ’s forgiveness are “to thank God for such deliverance” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2). As a result, “With our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits, so that he may be praised through us, and that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86).

687

Father, Long Before Creation

Words of Praise

Loving God,
you created heaven and earth out of nothing.
You uphold and rule heaven and earth
by your eternal counsel and providence.
We give you praise, almighty God.
God of eternity,
you not only created each of us,
but you sustain and form each of us
with your Holy Spirit.
We worship you, Creator God.
You provide whatever we need for body and soul.
You guide us and guard us.
We trust in you, God, our Maker; Jesus, our Mediator;
Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
As we turn toward the promise of a new year,
allow us to look back and to look ahead,
to see the places in the past
where your promises have upheld us,
and to look to an unknown future
with confidence and trust in you.
In the strong name of Christ we pray. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for God’s Faithful Love
To you, gracious God, we give thanks for your faithful love. You have steady enthusiasm for your children. You look on us with eyes of compassion. You reach for us with hands of mercy. To you, gracious God, we give thanks for your faithful love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
687

Father, Long Before Creation

Tune Information

Name
CORONAE
Key
F Major
Meter
8.7.8.7.4.7

Recordings

687

Father, Long Before Creation

Hymn Story/Background

This anonymous Chinese text was initially used as a theme song by Chinese Christians who kept the faith while the Cultural Revolution was in full swing. The hymn was sung in a Bible-study center in Peking (Beijing) during the winter of 1952-53. In 1953, Bliss Wyant, scholar of Chinese music and culture, gave the text to Francis P. Jones (b. Wisconsin [?] 1890; d. Claremont, CA, 1965 [?]), a missionary to China from 1915 to 1950. Jones translated the text into English and published it in the China Bulletin of the National Council of Churches (1953). After it appeared in The Hymnbook in 1955, the text was published in a number of other hymnals.
 
With various references to Ephesians 1:3-14, the text confesses the Christian faith. That confession is all the more bold when it is seen against the background of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Stanza 2 states that “Though the world may change its fashion, you will still remain the same.” Stanza 3 concludes with a line from John 3: 16, "God so loved us that he gave his only Son." The entire text affirms God's electing love and redemptive grace and leads to a final stanza in which we sing "glory to the Lamb upon the throne."
 
William H. Monk composed CORONAE in 1871. The following year it was published in J. Ireland Tucker's Hymnal with Tunes Old and New as a setting for Thomas Kelly's text "Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious." That text had "Crown him!" in each stanza, thus the title for this tune.
 
A bar form tune (AAB), CORONAE is noteworthy for the rhythmic structure of its final line. Sing stanzas 1 and 4 in unison and stanzas 2 and 3 in harmony. Apply crisp articulation on the repeated melody tones and use bold accompaniment.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Francis P. Jones (b. Wisconsin [?] 1890; d. Claremont, CA, 1965 [?]) studied at Wisconsin State College, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Garrett Bible Institute, and Union Theological Seminary. After returning from China, he lectured at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, edited the China Bulletin, translated Christian classics into Chinese, and made lecture tours to Taiwan and Hong Kong, retiring in 1965. His publications include some twenty-six volumes in addition to articles for periodicals and some hymn translations.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

William H. Monk (b. Brompton, London, England, 1823; d. London, 1889) is best known for his music editing of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861, 1868; 1875, and 1889 editions). He also adapted music from plainsong and added accompaniments for Introits for Use Throughout the Year, a book issued with that famous hymnal. Beginning in his teenage years, Monk held a number of musical positions. He became choirmaster at King's College in London in 1847 and was organist and choirmaster at St. Matthias, Stoke Newington, from 1852 to 1889, where he was influenced by the Oxford Movement. At St. Matthias, Monk also began daily choral services with the choir leading the congregation in music chosen according to the church year, including psalms chanted to plainsong. He composed over fifty hymn tunes and edited The Scottish Hymnal (1872 edition) and Wordsworth's Hymns for the Holy Year (1862) as well as the periodical Parish Choir (1840-1851).
— Bert Polman
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