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King of glory, King of peace

King of glory, King of peace
King of glory, King of peace,
I will love Thee;
and that love may never cease,
I will move Thee.
Thou hast granted my request,
Thou hast heard me;
Thou didst note my working breast,
Thou hast spared me.
Wherefore with my utmost art
I will sing Thee,
and the cream of all my heart
I will bring Thee.
Though my sins against me cried,
Thou didst clear me;
and alone, when they replied,
Thou didst hear me.
Sev’n whole days, not one in sev’n,
I will praise Thee;
in my heart, though not in heav’n,
I can raise Thee.
Small it is, in this poor sort
to enroll Thee:
e’en eternity’s too short
to extol Thee.


I am delighted that this Sunday Canon Jim Buonemani has chosen as our opening hymn King of glory, King of peace. With deeply moving words by the English poet and clergyman George Herbert, this hymn has always been one of my favorites. Bishop Tom Shaw, who ordained me, loved this hymn best of all. Packed into Trinity Copley Square for his funeral, I remember gripping my daughter, our hearts breaking as we sang King of glory from our souls.


Every word is perfect, especially the second verse, “…and the cream of all my heart I will bring Thee.” I love this idea of offering to God, from our flawed and struggling selves, our very best. Every day here at St. James’, I see your willingness to live these words, to care and serve, to offer your best, our best.


And now, my favorite hymn has taken on an even deeper meaning, because I’ve learned a great friend of St. James’, David Charles Walker, composed the tune! David, a priest and chaplain as well as composer, had as his life partner our own former organist-choirmaster, David Falconer. These days, David Charles Walker faithfully attends our Evensong services, and I can’t wait to meet him!


In the meantime, this Sunday morning, join me in singing the mystical words of George Herbert married to the exquisite tune by this person so special to St. James’.


Peace and blessings,