|First Line:||Hope of the world, Thou Christ of great compassion|
|Title:||Hope of the World|
|Author:||Georgia Elma Harkness (1954)|
|Notes:||German translation: See "Hoffnung der welt du heiland voll erbarmen" by Leopold Bernhard|
|Copyright:||© 1954. Renewal 1982 by The Hymn Society, admin. Hope Publishing Co.|
all st. = Rom. 15:13
st. 2 = John 6:35
st. 3 = John 8:12
Of the hundreds of hymns submitted in a search for new hymns for the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches (held in Evanston, IL, in August 1954), "Hope of the World" was chosen as the winner by the Hymn Society of America. Theologian Georgia E. Harkness (b. Harkness, NY, 1891; d. Claremont, CA, 1974) wrote the text to coincide with the Assembly's theme, “Jesus Christ, Hope of the World.” First published in a Hymn Society of America pamphlet, Eleven Ecumenical Hymns (1954) and in The Hymn (July 1954), the text has since appeared in many North American hymnals. Translated into several languages, it has also been published in hymnals in various other countries.
This prayer text entreats Christ, "the hope of the world," to reconcile those now involved in conflict and strife (st. 1-2) and to direct the ministry of the church to be faithful to his gospel (st. 3-5). Recognizing the brokenness of the church and the temptations of the world, this sung prayer also presents the hope and challenge of ministering in Christ's name.
Harkness studied at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a doctoral degree from Boston University (1923), and did further studies at Harvard, Yale, and Union Theological Seminary. She taught at Elmira (NY) College (1922-1937); Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts (1937-1939); Garret School of Theology, Evanston, Illinois (1939-50); and the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California (1950-61). The first woman in the United States to be appointed a full professor in a theological seminary, Harkness was ordained in the Methodist Church in 1926. Partly because of her work in the World Council of Churches, her influence was wide-ranging. The recipient of many honors and awards, she wrote thirty-seven books, including John Calvin: The Man and His Ethics (1931), Prayer and the Common Life (1947), TheProvidence of God (1960), and Women in Church and Society (1972). Her hymn texts and other poetry were published in Holy Flame (1935), The Glory of God (1943), and Be Still and Know (1953).
A Sung prayer appropriate for many occasions of worship; Reformation services; church festivals; mission conferences.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook