600. Christ Is the World's True Light

Text Information
First Line: Christ is the world's true light
Title: Christ Is the World's True Light
Author: George W. Briggs (1931, alt.)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 67 67 66 66
Scripture: ; ; ; ; ; ;
Topic: Industry & Labor; King, God/Christ as; Society/Social Concerns (2 more...)
Language: English
Copyright: By permission of Oxford University Press
Tune Information
Name: ST. JOAN
Composer: Percy E. B. Coller (1941)
Meter: 67 67 66 66
Key: C Major
Copyright: Tune © 1941, 1969, The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = John 8:12, John 12:46, 2 Pet. 1:19
st. 2 = Isa. 2:4, Mic. 4:1-5, Gal. 3:28
st. 3 = Isa. 9:5-7, 1 John 2:2, Rom. 8:19-23

George W. Briggs (PHH 308) wrote this text as a "missionary hymn" to emphasize one of the concepts of modern missions: “In Christ all races meet.” The text was published in the Advent section of Oxford's Songs of Praise (1931) and in Briggs's Songs of Faith (1945), in which it was entitled "The Light of the World."

The text begins by affirming Christ's own saying, "I am the Light of the world" (John 8: 12). Christ is the light and daystar who brings his people salvation from the darkness of sin. Borrowing one of Paul's memorable teachings in Galatians 3:28 and Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17, the text confesses the essential unity of all humanity and especially the oneness of the family of God. Only when the nations and all peoples submit to Christ's reign will our "groaning" world experience true peace and redemption.

Liturgical Use:
Worldwide communion; ecumenical and missions services; Advent; Epiphany; many other occasions of worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Percy E. B. Coller (b. Liverpool, England, 1895; d. unknown) composed ST. JOAN and submitted it anonymously for publication in The Hymnal 1940, where it was set to Briggs's text. Coller must have enjoyed the companionship of a saintly wife because he named this tune in her honor. As a boy chorister Coller sang in the Liverpool and Oxford Cathedral choirs, and at the age of fifteen he became suborganist of Liverpool Cathedral. He was educated at Liverpool University and after World War I served as organist and choirmaster of St. Peter Church, Montreal, Canada.

Marked by ascending "rocket" motives and several sequences, ST. JOAN is intended for part singing. The tune requires confident organ accompaniment and a brisk tempo that thrives on one pulse per bar.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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