You are the king of glory

The Triumphal Entry. Albert Decaris, 1953

For today’s choice from Sing Praise, I’m going back a bit in terms of the liturgical calendar, from Maundy Thursday to the preceding Palm Sunday (this forthcoming Sunday).  However, the chosen song, “You are the king of Glory” by Mavis Ford, was not necessarily written with Palm Sunday in mind – there are no references to Jerusalem, palms, disciples or donkeys here, and it is probably only because the of the chorus “Hosanna to the Son of David” that the compilers of the hymn book have put it in this section. 

The song is very familiar to me.  It is dated 1978, and as a contemporary worship song was popular with the Christian Union that I attended 1981-1983.  It hasn’t completely disappeared from the repertoire since then, although perhaps not often chosen as there have been countless other worship songs written since.  I suggest that the factors that have allowed this one to remain in later collections where other 1970s songs have been forgotten are its easy singability, and that it consists largely of Biblical titles for Jesus, that mean Christians of whatever age and tradition are comfortable with its words.

The titles, then.  In this song of praise to Jesus, he is referenced as King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Lord of heaven and earth, Son of righteousness, Son of David, King of kings and Messiah.  That’s a Biblically pleasing seven titles for him, and in addition he is credited with being worshipped by angels and his reign resulting in glory in the highest heaven. 

Singing the praises of Jesus is a good warm-up for any act of worship, a reminder that the one in whom we put our trust is no mere prophet or teacher, but very God and the one the Jewish people had long awaited.  Lent is known mainly for more reflective, sombre songs as we look towards the horrors of the Cross, but Palm Sunday is a joyful interlude when it’s appropriate to sing upbeat songs of praise like this one, just as Jesus’ followers did when he entered the gates of the holy city to their chants of Hosanna!

1 thought on “You are the king of glory”

  1. Amen to what Stephen says, and Hosanna to the Son of David, and there’s little to add from me.

    But I was interested to see the various changes to the accompaniment and parts of this song as John Barnard arranged it for four-part choir (for the whole song right through) and then for melody and descant (as the last 4 lines are repeated). It illustrates particularly well the problems that there are for old-fashioned choirs in songs like this which were conceived as melodies with accompaniment. John’s arrangement falls short of some of the possible adventures which spring to one’s mind (such as introducing a counter-melody a bar later, in the tenor), but it goes beyond simply asking the choir to navigate their own ways through the chords.

    I wasn’t totally convinced – but maybe that’s because it is so long since I have sung with a genuine 4-part church choir. Something to look forward to when I retire, perhaps? But I wasn’t so tempted as to attempt playing what John actually wrote as I sung this song – I will stick with Mission Praise!

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