Christ Is the World's True Light

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Author: G. W. Briggs

George Wallace Briggs is a Canon of Worcester Cathedral and one of the most distinguished British hymn writers and hymnologists of today. Six of his hymns appear in the Episcopal Hymnal of 1940 (American). Another hymn on the Bible entitled "Word of the living God" was written for the 25th Anniversary of the British Bible Reading Fellowship and was sung in Westminster Abbey on June 5, 1947. It has been widely used since that time. Canon Briggs is a leading member of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He is also the composer of several hymn times, six of which have appeared in British hymnals. In addition to his work as a clergy man of the Church of England and an hymnologist, he has interest himself actively in the field of reli… Go to person page >


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, 1988



Also known as: WAS FRAG ICH NACH DER WELT O GOTT DU FROMMER GOTT Composed by Ahasuerus Fritsch (b. Mücheln on the Geissel, near Merseburg, Germany, 1629; d. Rudolstadt, Germany, 1701), DARMSTADT first appeared in his Himmels-Lust und Welt-Unlust (1679). The melody was altered when it was publishe…

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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…

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Instances (1 - 22 of 22)

Ancient and Modern #610

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #501

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #456

Page Scan

Common Praise #396

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #100a

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #100b

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #402

Hymnal #334

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #346

Hymns and Psalms #456

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #78

Page Scan

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #323

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #456

Hymns Old and New #78

Text InfoTune InfoAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #600

Rejoice in the Lord #181

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #345

Sing Glory #432

The Hymnal 1982 #542

The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #615

The New English Hymnal #494

Together in Song #238

Include 22 pre-1979 instances
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