The Worship Quote of the Week for (01/09/2007):

The Earliest Christian Hymn
Not including the actual words or paraphrases of Scripture, what do you think is the oldest Christian song or hymn? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is thought to be the earliest Christian hymn to survive in its entirety. I came across this while reading a brand new book about the early church's view of music. What an encouragement to imagine Greek-speaking believers in the third century singing these words to our great Savior (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever).


Jesus, our mighty Lord,
our strength in sadness,
the Father's conquering Word,
true source of gladness;
your name we glorify,
O Jesus, throned on high;
you gave yourself to die
for our salvation.

Good shepherd of your sheep,
your own defending,
in love your children keep
to life unending.
You are yourself the Way:
lead us then day by day
in your own steps, we pray,
O Lord most holy.

Glorious their life who sing,
with glad thanksgiving,
true hymns to Christ the King
in all their living:
all who confess his Name,
come then with hearts aflame;
the God of peace acclaim
as Lord and Savior.

—Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), from his treatise THE TEACHER, English translation by F. Bland Tucker (1982), as collected by Calvin R. Stapert in A NEW SONG FOR AN OLD WORLD: MUSICAL THOUGHT IN THE EARLY CHURCH. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007, pp. 167-68. ISBN 978-0-8028-3219-1.

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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