“Thine Is the Glory”

"O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15.55)

     INTRO.: A song which stresses the victory of Christ over the grave is "Thine Is The Glory." The text was written by Edmond Louis Budry, who was born on Aug. 30, 1854, at Vevay in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. A student of theology with the "Faculte libre" in Lausanne, Switzerland, he served as minister at Cully and St. Croix, near Lausanne, from 1881 to 1889, and then returned to his hometown to become minister of the Free Church in Vevey, where he remained for 35 years. This hymn, "A toi le gloire," is dated 1884 and with some of his other works appeared in 1885 Chants Evangeliques published at Lausanne. It began to be famous after it was also published in the Y.M.C.A. Hymnbook at Lausanne in 1904.

     The song was translated into English in 1923 by Richard Birch Hoyle (1875-1939). The English version first appeared in the 1925 Cantate Domino published for the World’s Student Christian Federation of Geneva, Switzerland. In England, the song begins, "Thine Be The Glory." Budry produced the words of over sixty chorales, many of which have appeared in French hymnbooks. Besides his original hymns, he translated German, English, and Latin lyrics into French. Some scholars believe that he drew his inspiration for "Thine Is The Glory" from the words of Friedrich Heinrich Ranke, which were first published in 1908. The tune (Maccabeus) was composed by George Frederick Handel (1685-1759). It is adapted from Othniel’s victorious procession in the original version of Handel’s oratorio Joshua begun in 1745 and completed in 1748.

     The music was transferred around 1751 from Joshua to later versions of Judas Maccabeus which was originally staged in 1746. There it has remained, set to the chorus, "See, the conquering hero comes." The melody was first used as a hymn tune in Thomas Butts’s Harmonia Sacra of 1760, where it was set to Charles Wesley’s "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today."  After his retirement in 1923, Budry continued to write poetry and died on Nov. 12, 1932, at Vevay. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, the only ones to include the song that I know of are the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by Alton H. Howard.

     The rousing song recounts the resurrection of Christ and the events surrounding it.

I. Stanza 1 centers on the angels who rolled the stone away
"Thine is the glory, risen, conquering Son;
Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded graveclothes where Thy body lay."
 A. Jesus Christ is the risen, conquering Son: Rom. 1.3-4
 B. He has won an endless victory over death because He destroyed the devil who had the power of death: Heb. 2.14-15
 C. This occurred when angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away: Matt. 28.2-3

II. Stanza 2 centers on the women who came to the tomb and later saw Jesus
"Lo! Jesus meets thee, Risen, from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets thee, scatters fear and gloom.
Let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth; Death hath lost its sting."
(some books change the two usages of "thee" in the first two lines to "us" probably to "update" the language–some hymnbook editors just can’t seem to stand using the archaic pronouns any longer–or perhaps to make it more "personal" to each singer)
 A. Jesus met the women as they ran from the tomb to tell the apostles: Matt. 28.9-10
 B. While Jesus does not appear to us physically today, yet He still meets and greets us through His word to scatter fear and gloom as we accept the truth of His resurrection: 2 Tim. 8
 C. Therefore, His church should sing with gladness hymns of triumph to the risen Lord: Col. 3.16

III. Stanza 3 centers on Thomas who at first doubted the resurrection
"No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of Life!
Life is naught without Thee; Aid us in our strife.
Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love;
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above."
 A. Thomas doubted when he heard of Jesus’s resurrection, but when he saw He believed: Jn. 20.24-29
 B. Since then, those who have not seen yet have believed because of the overwhelming evidence presented can be more than conquerors through Him who was dead but now is alive: Rom. 8.37
 C. And through faith, as God brought the Israelites over Jordan into the Promised Land, so will the Lord bring us over the Jordan of death into the eternal Promised Land of heaven: Josh. 3.1-17

     CONCL.: The chorus repeats the victorious opening words of the song:
"Thine is the glory, risen, conquering Son;
Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won."
The death of Jesus on the cross was necessary for our sins. But His death really means nothing without His resurrection to validate it. Therefore, because He was raised from the dead, and by His resurrection gives us hope of being raised from the dead when He comes again, we should say to our Lord Jesus Christ, "Thine Is The Glory."


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