All Glory, Laud, and Honor
Sunday, March 28 — Joanna Sheppard
Hymn writer Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans was born in Spain around 750 and moved to France at Charlemagne’s request to serve the Church. Theodulf did his job well, but when Louis the Pious came to power, he seemed threatened by Theodulf and falsely accused him of conspiring with King Bernard of Italy. On Easter Sunday in 818, Louis had the churchman imprisoned in the monastery at Angers, a city southwest of Paris. He spent the next two years writing 78 verses (39 couplets) of the enduring Palm Sunday hymn All Glory, Laud, and Honor. He was released in 821 and died soon after. The verses, including the three we traditionally sing today, were originally translated from Latin into English by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in 1851. The melody is attributed to Melchoir Teschner.
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Monday, March 29 — Jamie Harms
Englishman Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925) wrote O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus! during his years as a merchant and lay preacher for the Plymouth Brethren, often holding revival meetings in the open air. He wrote many poems that were later set to music.
O Sacred Head Now Wounded
Tuesday, March 30 — Karen Esquivel
In 1830, an American Presbyterian minister, James Waddel Alexander (1804-1859), provided our current translation of O Sacred Head Now Wounded. The song has undergone multiple translations from Latin to both English and German since the poem was written by Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) during the Middle Ages. German Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) composed the music we find in today’s hymnals, and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) included the simple melody in his St. Matthew Passion.
Jesus Paid it all
Wednesday, March 31 — Rachel Moore
Elvina Mable Hall (1818-1889) of Alexandria, Virginia, wrote Jesus Paid it All in 1865. The pastor’s sermon at Monument Street Methodist Church in Baltimore seemed to go a bit too long one Sunday. So, on a blank page of a hymnal in the choir loft, Hall quietly wrote down the words forming in her mind. After the service, she handed her pastor the poem about salvation and all Jesus paid. He connected her with church organist John Grape, who had just written a new tune. The two musicians worked together and refined this beautiful hymn that continues to be a favorite to this day.
Sweet Hour of Prayer
Thursday, April 1 — Brianna Hines
The history behind Sweet Hour of Prayer and its author William W. Walford (1772-1850) is difficult to confirm as some say Walford was an English professor, preacher, and author of The Manner of Prayer. Other researchers say that Walford was an obscure English preacher in Coleshill, Warwickshire, who was born in obscurity, had neither connections nor education, and was blind. It is said he relied on a strong mind and incredible memory to recall all of the Psalms, the New Testament, the prophecies, and some of the history books of the Old Testament. Another biography suggests Walford was a shop owner who just happened to write a poem that has gained wide recognition.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Friday, April 2 — Jamie Harms, Joanna Sheppard, Brianna Hines
One of the most famous hymn writers of all time, Englishman Isaac Watts (1674-1748), wrote When I Survey the Wondrous Cross in 1707. He penned more than 750 hymns, many to accompany his sermons or specific Bible passages. This one is based off Galatians 6:14: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Be Still, my soul
Saturday, April 3 — Karen Esquivel
Little is known about hymn writer Kathrina von Schlegel, who wrote the original German version of Be Still, My Soul during her life, which began in 1697. In 1855, Jane Borthwick, a Scottish writer, translated this hymn into English.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Sunday, April 4 — Jamie Harms, Joanna Sheppard, Brianna Hines
Poet and preacher Charles Wesley (1707-1788) wrote more than 6,500 hymns, including Christ the Lord is Risen Today, during the Methodist revivals in Great Britain during the 1700s. Through preaching and hymn singing, Charles reached thousands of English and Irish with the gospel, beginning with a group of 500 listening from a farmer’s field outside London. Charles wrote Hymn for Easter Day, also known as Christ the Lord is Risen Today, with 11 stanzas.