“My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less” by Edward Mote
As Edward Mote was walking to work one day in 1834, the thought popped into his head to write a hymn on the “Gracious Experience of a Christian.” As he walked up the road, he had the chorus, “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.” By the end of the day, he had the first four verses written out and safely tucked away in his pocket. Later that week, he visited his friend whose wife was very ill, and as they couldn’t find a hymnal to sing from, he dug up his newly written verses and sang those with the couple. The wife enjoyed them so much she asked for a copy, and Mote went home to finish the last two verses and sent it off to a publisher, saying, “As these verses so met the dying woman’s case, my attention to them was the more arrested, and I had a thousand printed for distribution.” (Lutheran Hymnal Handbook) Almost two centuries later, we continue to sing these words of hope and assurance, our declaration that in the midst of all trials and storms, we will cling to the rock that is our Savior.
This is a hymn that works well in a number of spots during a service: it could be an opening song of praise, a response to the assurance of pardon after confessing our tendencies to rely on ourselves, or as a response to a sermon or Scripture reading about our need to trust in and rely on God. It can be beautifully paired with the Swahili Song, “Kwake Yesu Nasimama” (Here on Jesus Christ I will Stand), translated into English and then paraphrased by church musician, Greg Scheer. This is a fabulous global chorus of praise that is simple enough to learn, and follows the same Scriptural themes as “My Hope is Built.”