294. As Saints of Old Their Firstfruits Brought

Text Information
First Line: As saints of old their firstfruits brought
Title: As Saints of Old Their Firstfruits Brought
Author: Frank von Christierson (1960, alt.)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: CMD
Scripture: James 1:22; 1 John 3:18; 1 John 3; James 1
Topic: Dedication and Offering; Commitment & Dedication; Harvest (6 more...)
Language: English
Copyright: © 1961, The Hymn Society of America. Used by permission.
Tune Information
Composer: Leland B. Sateren (1963)
Meter: CMD
Key: F Major
Copyright: © 1963, Augsburg Publishing House. Used by permission

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Duet. 26:1-15
st. 2 = 1 John 3:18, James 1:22

Frank von Christierson (b. Lovisa, near Helsinki, Finland, 1900) stated the following about this hymn:

As pastor of two new churches, with small memberships and great financial needs, I have been deeply concerned with stewardship, also because I am deeply concerned about missions and the outreach of the church to "all the world," [and] also because stewardship is a very important phase of the Christian life. No one is deeply Christian until he is a "good steward."

This hymn text (more explicitly than 296) puts our human stewardship of money and other prized resources (st. 1) into the larger context of the worldwide mission of the church, in view of the coming of Christ's kingdom (st. 2). We must always integrate our giving of gifts with our giving of ourselves for Christian service (st. 3).

Christierson wrote the text in 1960 and submitted it to a hymn search conducted jointly by the Department of Stewardship & Benevolence of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the Hymn Society of America (HSA). It was accepted and was first published in the HSA booklet Ten New Stewardship Hymns (1961). Altered (especially in st. 2) for publication in the Psalter Hymnal, the song originally began with the words "As men of old. . ."

Christierson's family immigrated to the United States in 1905. He received his education at Stanford University and San Francisco Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1929. A moderator of regional presbyteries, he served several Presbyterian churches in California and was founding pastor of the Trinity Community Presbyterian Church in North Hollywood (1944-1961). He wrote some 140 hymns, a number of which have been published by the Hymn Society of America as well as in his Make a Joyful Noise (1987). In 1982 Christierson was honored as a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

Liturgical Use:
As an offertory hymn; stewardship themes; emphasis on missions.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

REGWAL was published with von Christierson's text in 1963 in an anthem setting composed by Leland B. Sateren (b. Everett, WA, 1913). The tune consists of four lines, the first of which reminds us of GENEVAN 124's opening phrase (see also TOULON, 52). The final line rises to an impressive climax. Sing stanzas 1 and 2 antiphonally in unison, and bring everyone together in harmony for stanza 3, with some extra color from the organ.

A noted Lutheran musician, Sateren has long been associated with Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received his B.A. there in 1935 and, after further study at the University of Minnesota, became a member of Augsburg's music faculty in 194 a position he retained until his retirement. Chairman of the music department from 1950 to 1973, Sateren also directed the Augsburg Choir. He has conducted choral schools throughout Scandinavia, has often served as judge at music festivals, and was active in the American Choral Directors' Association. Publisher of over three hundred choral works and many professional articles on music and music education, he also served on the committees that produced the Service Book and Hymnal (1958) and the Lutheran Book of Warship (1978).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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