362. Lord of the Universe

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Text Information
First Line: Lord of the universe, hope of the world
Title: Lord of the Universe
Author: Margaret Clarkson (1973)
Publication Date: 1982
Meter: 10 10 10 10 10 with refrain
Scripture: Romans 8:18-25; Hebrews 4:14-16; Romans 8:25; Hebrews 4:16
Topic: Epiphany & Ministry of Christ; Suffering of Christ; Creation (3 more...)
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Savior, we worship you, praise and adore
Copyright: Text © 1973, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Assigned 1986 to Hope Publishing Company
Tune Information
Composer: William P. Rowan (1985)
Meter: 10 10 10 10 10 with refrain
Key: A Major
Copyright: Tune © 1987, Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = John 1:14, 1 Tim. 2:6
st. 2 = Heb. 4:14-16
st. 3 = Ps. 43:3
st. 4 = Rom. 8:18-25

Margaret Clarkson (PHH 238) wrote this text of partially rhymed verse in Toronto, Canada. This is how she explained how she came to write the text:

The theme for the IVCF [Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship] missions conference Urbana '73 had been announced as “Jesus Christ–Lord of the Universe, Hope of the World," and a contest had been launched among Inter-Varsity's student groups for a song to be written on that theme. Not being a student, I couldn't enter, but every time I saw the theme words in print during the last part of 1972 and the early part of 1973, I had to hold myself back from starting to write–the beauty and scope of those majestic words was almost too much to withstand. They were a song in themselves, so thrilling and rhythmic that they burned themselves more and more deeply into my very heart and soul. However, I managed to refrain from bursting forth in a hymn. In March of 1973 (after receiving correspondence emblazoned with the theme words) . . . I could no longer restrain myself. Forgetting about lunch, I grabbed clipboard and pencil and began to write. Faster than I could put the words down on paper they came pouring out, accompanied in the back of my mind by a melody; they almost came out singing. By mid-afternoon I had before me a finished hymn. . . . I had been "acted upon" by the Holy Spirit of God in a way I have never experienced before or since (A Singing Heart, Hope, 1987).

Although the contest winners' hymns were sung at Urbana '73, Clarkson's text became the convention hymn. "Lord of the Universe" was published in the Urbana songbook Sounds (1973) as well as in IVCF's Hymnal II (1976).

The four stanzas start with the theme phrase, "Lord of the universe, hope of the world." Stanza 1 recalls Christ's incarnation and stanza 2, his earthly ministry; stanza 3 enjoins us to be serious about our missionary task; stanza 4 looks forward to Christ's coming again. The refrain turns this hymn of confession into an anthem of praise.

Liturgical Use:
Throughout Epiphany (with its ministry/mission theme); on many other occasions when the "Lord of the universe, hope of the world" theme fits.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

At the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee's request William P. Rowan (b. San Diego, CA, 1950) wrote STONEHENGE for Clarkson's text in 1985 (the tune's name was chosen because of the "monolithic" proportions of the text). The hymn was first published in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.

Rowan built this rounded bar form (AABA) tune by combining several melodic and rhythmic figures and dividing them asymmetrically over a five-line stanza and a three-¬line refrain. The musical setting is best suited to unison singing. Use strong organ accompaniment with a full registration for the refrain, and add a Picardy (major) third on the final cadence for the last time through the refrain. Sing the hymn in a more stately manner that final time, but always try to sing at a moderate pace with two pulses per bar.

Rowan received his musical education at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has served various churches in Michigan and is currently the director of music ministries at St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing, Michigan, and music consultant for the Roman Catholic diocese there. A composer of numerous anthems and organ works, he has also published hymn tunes in Together Met, Together Bound, Hymn Settings by William Rowan (1993).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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