553. Jesus Calls Us; O'er the Tumult

1 Jesus calls us; o'er the tumult
of our life's wild, restless sea,
day by day his voice is sounding,
saying, "Christian, follow me."

2 Long ago apostles heard it
by the Galilean lake,
turned from home and work and family,
leaving all for his dear sake.

3 In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of work and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
"Christian, love me more than these."

4 Jesus calls us; by your mercies,
Savior, may we hear your call,
give our hearts to your obedience,
serve and love you best of all.

Text Information
First Line: Jesus calls us; o'er the tumult
Title: Jesus Calls Us; O'er the Tumult
Author: Cecil F. Alexander (1852)
Meter: 87 87
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Galilee/Galilean; Commitment & Dedication; Invitation (6 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: William Boyce (c. 1765)
Meter: 87 87
Key: D Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1-2 = Matt. 4:18-20, Mark 1:16-18
st. 3 = John 21:15
st. 4 = Rom. 12: 1

Irish hymn writer Cecil F. Alexander (PHH 346) wrote this text for St. Andrew's Day. The appointed gospel reading for that day in the church year concerned Jesus' calling of Simon Peter and Andrew (Matt. 4: 18-20). Her text was published in the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge's (SPCK) Hymns for Public Worship (1852). Though written for a relatively minor saint's day, this hymn quickly gained popularity. It was frequently altered (sometimes mutilated) in later hymnals; Alexander herself prepared an inferior revision about twenty years after the text's first publication. The original third stanza is omitted.

The thread that binds the stanzas together is the call of Christ. Just as Jesus called the fishermen to be his disciples, he still calls us today to be his followers and obedient servants. His call is for total commitment, a "follow me" that overrides all our earthly "cares and pleasures."

Liturgical Use:
Worship that focuses on God's call, his summons to obedience; profession of faith; ordination and commissioning; evangelistic meetings.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

HALTON HOLGATE (also called SHARON) is a version of a psalm tune originally composed by William Boyce (b. London, England, 1710; d. Kensington, London, 1779) and published around 1765 in his Collection of Melodies, including tunes by various composers for Christopher Smart's paraphrases of the psalms.

William Boyce was an organist, a composer for both church and theater, and a music editor. He began his musical career as a chorister in St. Paul Cathedral, London, and later served as organist in a number of churches, including the Chapel Royal. However, increasing deafness affected his organ playing, and the last church he served (St. Michael's, Cornhill) asked him to resign. Boyce wrote songs for the stage, odes for important occasions for the royal house, church services, anthems, and hymn tunes. In the history of church music he is also remembered for his Cathedral Music (1760, 1773), a three-volume collection of church music by English composers from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

Adding melodic tones to the original, the current version of this sturdy tune dates from 1789, where it was included in Thomas Williams's Psalmodia Evangelica (PHH 413). The harmonization is by Samuel S. Wesley (PHH 206). Though the entire hymn may be sung by the whole congregation, the drama of the stanzas suggests that the initial stanzas be sung by a choir or soloists and the final stanza by everyone in unison.

Alexander's text is set to Edward J. Hopkins's WRAYBURY in the British tradition and to William H. Jude's GALILEE in many American hymnals (including the 1959 Psalter Hymnal).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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