Wednesday, December 19, 2007


John Newton (1725-1807) wrote the text for this hymn. Before his conversion, Newton was involved in the slave trade as a ship's captain. Later he became a preacher and abolitionist. (For more on Newton, see notes on Hymn 19, Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!)

The first stanza of this hymn for the close of worship is based on 2 Corinthians 13:14, one of the blessings with which we often conclude our worship. The second stanza, reminiscent of Psalm 133, is a prayer that we may remain in communion with the Lord and with one another.

The tune, EVENING PRAYER, was composed by John Stainer (1840-1901). Stainer was an organist and a professor of music at Oxford University in 1889. Stainer's output of sacred music was extensive and included many cantatas, anthems and carols.

Sources: Psalter Hymnal Handbook; Internet

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