515. Lift Your Heart to the Lord

Text Information
First Line: Here God's life-giving word
Title: Lift Your Heart to the Lord
Author: John E. Bowers (1982, alt.)
Publication Date: 1982
Meter: irregular
Scripture: ;
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Church and Mission; Church (3 more...)
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Lift your heart to the Lord
Copyright: © John E. Bowers
Tune Information
Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams (1906)
Meter: irregular
Key: F Major
Copyright: By permission of Oxford University Press

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 2 = Rom. 6:4
st. 3 = Luke 24:35
ref. = Ps. 118: 14, 24

Written by John E. Bowers (b. London, England, 1923), this text was first published in More Hymns for Today, a 1980 supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern. Originally entitled “The House of God,” the first stanza began "Christians, lift up your hearts." The seven-stanza text dealt with various aspects of Christian worship such as gathering, praising God, confessing and forgiving, preaching, taking the sacraments, and departing to serve. The Psalter Hymnal includes Bower's stanzas 1 (now the refrain), 3, 4, and 6.

The refrain's text borrows from the Sursum Corda ("Lift up your hearts") of the Lord's Supper liturgy and from Psalm 118:14, 24. Like Q&A 65 of Lord's Day 25 in the Heidelberg Catechism, the three stanzas focus on preaching and the sacraments (st. 1), baptism, and the Lord's Supper (st. 2 and 3).

Bowers served in the British and Indian army during World War II and then studied at King's College, London University, England, from 1947 to 1951. Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1952, he served both as a chaplain in the territorial army and as a priest in various parishes in the diocese of Leicester. He retired in 1988.

Liturgical Use"
The opening of regular Sunday worship; baptism; Lord's Supper; a choral processional at festive church services and worship conferences (in this case choirs may want to learn additional stanzas and add a descant; see other hymnal settings of "Hail Thee, Festival Day").

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Ralph Vaughan Williams (PHH 316) composed SALVE FESTA DIES as a setting for Venantius H. Fortunatus's (PHH 400) famous text "Hail Thee, Festival Day." The tune, whose title comes from the opening words of that text, was published in The English Hymnal of 1906.

Like SINE NOMINE (505), this tune is vigorous and jubilant with a rhythmic energy characteristic of Vaughan Williams's hymn tunes. Its broad dimensions and use of triplets may appear formidable, but it is a glorious tune that can be sung in unison by congregations who have good choral and organ leadership. Try singing antiphonally with a choir of children or adults singing the stanzas and the entire congregation singing the refrain. Note how Vaughan Williams has neatly steered the stanzas right back into the refrain without a pause. Accompany with a sense of majesty and strength.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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