508. Jesus, with Your Church Abide

1 Jesus, with your church abide;
be our Savior, Lord, and Guide,
while on earth our faith is tried:
Lord, our Savior, hear us.

2 May we guide the poor and blind,
seek the lost until we find
and the brokenhearted bind:
Lord, our Savior, hear us.

3 May our lamp of truth be bright;
may we bear aloft its light
through the realms of sinful night:
Lord, our Savior, hear us.

4 Pardon us for work undone,
pardon us for fields unwon,
bless the work we have begun:
Lord, our Savior, hear us.

5 May we holy triumphs win,
overthrow the hosts of sin,
gather all the nations in:
Lord, our Savior, hear us.

Text Information
First Line: Jesus, with your church abide
Title: Jesus, with Your Church Abide
Author: Thomas Benson Pollock (1871, alt.)
Meter: 777 6
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ;
Topic: Church and Mission; Church
Tune Information
Composer: John H. Gower (1891)
Meter: 777 6
Key: D Major

Text Information:

John Julian explains that the author of this text, Thomas B. Pollock (b. Strathallan, Isle of Man, England, 1836; d. Birmingham, England, 1896), was a most successful writer of metrical litanies. Many of them were published in Pollock's Metrical Litanies for Special Services and General Use (1870) and appeared in a variety of mainly Anglican hymnals. Originally written for a prayer day organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, this text was published in eighteen stanzas in Pollock's 1871 Appendix to his Metrical Litanies and was revised for the 1875 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. Like other modern hymnals, the Psalter Hymnal provides various parts of these different versions in a five-stanza text.

A litany is a form of prayer that has a number of petitions but usually only one response or refrain (see Ps. 136 for this structure). This text, Pollock's "Litany of the Church," has that pattern: the stanzas offer various prayers for the church, its members, and its ministries. Each prayer concludes with the response "Lord, our Savior, hear us" (originally, 'We beseech thee, hear us").

Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, Pollock first studied medicine, but he changed his studies to theology and was ordained in the Church of England in 1861. In 1865, after serving several parishes, Pollock took the position of curate at St. Alban Mission Church in Birmingham, where his brother had the higher position of vicar.

Remaining curate for thirty years, Pollock became vicar after his brother’s death but died a year later. Although he had many opportunities to serve in more prestigious positions, he chose to work among the poor of Birmingham. He was a member of the committee that compiled the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Liturgical Use:
As a part of the main prayers of a worship service; church meetings and mission services, especially when sung in true litany fashion.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

GOWER'S LITANY comes from John H. Gower's Original Tunes (1890). This serviceable tune works with the text but unfortunately lacks a suitable harmonization (the worst of Gower's chromatic harmony has been removed from the Psalter Hymnal). Try singing the hymn in true litany style: have a soloist or a choir in unison sing the petitions and the congregation sing the response (at which point the choir could sing in harmony). Use a light accompaniment and observe a ritardando on the response line.

John H. Gower (b. Rugby, Warwickshire, England, 1855; d. Denver, CO, 1922) became assistant organist at Windsor Castle at the age of twelve. After studying at Oxford, he became organist and music director in 1876 at Trent College, Nottingham, England. He moved to the United States in 1887 and became involved in the mining industry in Colorado but also continued his musical career at the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness, the Central Presbyterian Church, and the Unity Church, all in Denver.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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