"MEN AND CHILDREN EVERYWHERE"
"Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord" (Ps. 150.6)
INTRO.: A hymn which urges us to have the kind of commitment to praise the Lord in everything that we do is "Men and Children Everywhere." The text was written by John James Moment, who was born at Orono in Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 1, 1875, the son of a Methodist minister. After graduating from Princeton University in 1896, he taught at Lawrenceville School from 1898 to 1904. Then when he graduated from Hartford Theological Seminary in 1906, he became a Presbyterian minister, serving churches in East Orange, NJ, from 1906 to 1908, and Jersey City, NJ, from 1908 to 1911. In 1919, he became minister with the Crescent Ave. Presbyterian Church in Plainfield, NJ, where he remained until he retired.
These words were produced around 1930 and first published in The Hymnal of the Presbyterian Church of 1933, edited by Clarence Dickinson, for which Moment served on the hymnal committee. However, they were apparently not copyrighted until 1941 by the H. W. Gray Co. The tune (Moaz Tsur or Rock of Ages–Jewish) for which they were penned is a traditional German Ashkenazic melody derived from ancient Hebrew sources. It was used with a German poem by Leopold Stein, translated into English by M. Jastrow and G. Gottheil, the first stanza of which is as follows:
"Rock of Ages, let our song Praise Thy saving power;
Thou, amidst the raging foes, Wast our sheltering tower.
Furious, they assailed us, But Thine arm availed us,
And Thy word Broke their sword, When our own strength failed us."
The arrangement was made by Moment’s organist friend, Charlotte M. Lockwood Garden (1903-1961). It is dated 1933 and was likely also first published in The Hymnal of the Presbyterian Church that year. Moment and Garden collaborated on several anthems and oratorios prior to his death at Plainfield on May 11, 1959. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it is found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann. The same tune is used with a 1958 hymn "O Be Joyful in the Lord" by Curtis Beech in both Great Songs Revised and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand.
The song exhorts us joyfully both to sing praises to the Lord and sound forth His message to all the earth
I. Stanza 1 says that the Lord should should be praised everywhere
"Men and children everywhere, With sweet music fill the air!
Nations, come, your voices raise To the Lord in hymns of praise!
Join the angel song, All the worlds to Him belong!"
A. God wants both old men and children to praise His name: Ps. 148.12-13
B. It is His desire that people of all nations raise their voices to Him: Ps. 22.27
C. In so doing, the whole world will join the song of the angels: Ps. 103.20-21
II. Stanza 2 says that the Lord should be praised at all times
"Morning, evening, bless His name, Skies with crimson clouds aflame,
Rainbow arch, His covenant sign, Countless stars by night that shine!
Through His far domain, Love is King where He doth reign!"
A. The Lord should be praised both morning and evening: Ps. 65.8
B. The rainbow arch that we see in the daytime is evidence of His goodness: Gen. 9.11-17
C. The countless stars that we see by night also declare the glory of God: Gen. 1.16, Ps. 19.1
III. Stanza 3 says that the Lord should be praised by all things
"Storm and flood and ocean’s roar, Breakers crashing on the shore,
Waterfalls that never sleep, Towering mountain, canyon deep,
Tell ye forth His might, Lord of life and truth and right!"
A. The storm and flood demonstrate God’s great power: Ps. 107.23-25
B. The towering mountains point upward to the God of mercy: Ps. 36.5-6
C. All of these things in nature tell forth that God is the Lord: Ps. 148.1-6
CONCL.: Each stanza ends with the words,
"Holy, Holy, To our God all glory be!"
For comparison, the first stanza of Beech’s hymn is:
"O be joyful in the Lord! Sing before Him, all the earth!
Praise Him with a glad accord And with lives of noblest worth.
Sons of every land, Humbly now before Him stand!
Raise your voice and rejoice In the bounty of His hand."
Among those who have committed themselves to serve the God who created the universe, praise should continually issue forth in both song and life from "Men And Children Everywhere."