373. Lift High the Cross

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Text Information
First Line: Come, Christians, follow where our Savior led
Title: Lift High the Cross
Author: George William Kitchin (1887)
Reviser: Michael R. Newbolt (1916, alt.)
Refrain First Line: Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Meter: 10 10 with refrain
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ;
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Cross of Christ; Suffering of Christ (7 more...)
Copyright: Text and music © 1974, Hope Publishing Co.
ONE LICENSE: 101152; 1923; 59074
Tune Information
Composer: Sydney H. Nicholson (1916)
Composer (desc.): Richard Proulx (1985)
Meter: 10 10 with refrain
Key: C Major
Key: g minor
Copyright: Descant © 1985, G.I.A. Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.; Text and music © 1974, Hope Publishing Co.

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Matt. 16:24, 1 Pet. 2:21
st. 2 = Rev. 7:3
st. 3 = Ps. 107:1-3
st. 4 = John 12:32
st. 5 = Matt. 1:21
st. 6 = Ps. 103:19, Matt. 25:31
st. 7 = 2 Cor. 2:14, Col. 2:15
ref. = John 3:14

George W. Kitchin (b. Naughton, Suffolk, England, 1827; d. Durham, England, 1912) wrote the original version of this text in 1887 for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The hymn was intended to be used for a festival service at Winchester Cathedral, England. Michael R. Newbolt (b. Dymock,
Gloucestershire, England, 1874; d. Bierton, Buckinghamshire, England, 1956) revised the text in twelve couplets for the 1916 Supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern where it was set to CRUCIFER. Eight of his couplets are included in the seven stanzas and refrain.

Perhaps similar to Constantine's vision of Christ's cross, this text makes clear that the cross is a symbol of Christ's love. As Stanley L. Osborne (PHH 395) states, "[The text's] images are biblical, its moods expectant, its promises courageous, and its demands costly" (If Such Holy Song, 321). "Lift High the Cross" reveals many implications of Christ's cross: Christ rallies his people behind him (st. 1-2); Christ gathers his people from throughout the world (st. 3-5); Christ gives healing to the despair of the world (st. 6); Christ's victory enjoins our praise to him (st. 7).

A scholar and Anglican clergyman, Kitchin spent most of his life in academic institutions. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, England, he was ordained in the Church of England in 1852. He served initially as a headmaster in Twyford, Hampshire, and then as a tutor at Oxford (1863-1883). Dean of Winchester Cathedral from 1883 to 1894 and of Durham Cathedral from 1894 to 1912, Kitchin was also chancellor of Durham University the last few years of his life. His publications include A Life of Pope Pius II (1881), a three volume work entitled A History of France (1877), and archeological writings.

Michael R. Newbolt was educated at St. John's College, Oxford, and ordained as priest in the Church of England in 1900. He ministered at several churches during the early part of his career and then became principal of the Missionary College in Dorchester (1910-1916). From 1916 to 1927 he served St. Michael and All Angels Church in Brighton and from 1927 to 1946 was canon of Chester Cathedral. Newbolt wrote several theological works, including a commentary on the Book of Revelation.

Liturgical Use:
Lent; Holy Week; profession of faith; baptism and similar consecration/renewal worship services; missions (thus for Epiphany or Pentecost); many other occasions, especially as an opening or closing hymn.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Sydney H. Nicholson (PHH 358) composed CRUCIFER for the text as revised by Newbolt. The tune name means "cross-bearer" and refers to one who carries the cross in a liturgical procession. The hymn was published in the 1916 Supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Often considered Nicholson's finest tune, CRUCIFER has broad melodic gestures and an effective cadence to the stanzas, which leads right back into the refrain without interruption, pause, or slowing down. Try having the congregation or choir sing harmony on the stanzas and unison on the refrain with select use of the descant. Use of the entire hymn as a processional or on other festive occasions will merit antiphonal groupings for the stanzas or, perhaps, use of a published concertato. Sing and accompany with stateliness and majesty.

The descant was composed by Richard Proulx (b. St. Paul, MN, 1937). A composer, conductor, and teacher, Proulx was director of music at the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois (1980-1997); before that he was organist and choirmaster at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington. He contributed his expertise to the Roman Catholic Worship III (1986), the Episcopal Hymnal 1982, The United Methodist Hymnal (1989), and the ecumenical A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools (1992). He was educated at the University of Minnesota, MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota, St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the Royal School of Church Music in England. He has composed more than 250 works and recently retired to devote more time to composition.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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