Most of the hymns in
Grant me, God, the Gift of Singing
are well-known in Denmark, but some are not.
Here is a list of the “unknown” hymns in the order
I like them—except
that I have collected the seasonal hymns at the end.
Isaac Watts wrote some of the finest hymns ever written in English.
When I survey the wondrous cross,
O God, our help in ages past,
Jesus shall reign, and
Joy to the world, which, of course, is a Christmas hymn,
but it deserves to be listed twice.
I like tunes that wake me up Sunday morning:
All glory, laud, and honour,
God of grace and God of glory,
All creatures of our God and King,
Rejoice, the Lord is King,
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
When morning gilds the skies, and
Morning has broken.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee is not just a wedding hymn.
The tune is from the last movement of Beethoven’s last symphony.
This is my song is sung to the tune from Finlandia
Through the night of doubt and sorrow. This catchy tune works
very well with Ingemann’s text. That the Danish original doesn’t fit this
tune is a great pity.
All things bright and beautiful. If you have read
(the front covers of) the books by James Herriot, you know this hymn already.
The Church’s one foundation.
One wonders why Wesley’s well-written tune is not used for this hymn in Denmark.
Let all things now living. Singing a hymn of praise to the tune
of a song of lost love (The Ash Grove) seemed a bit strange at first.
More nice tunes:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
The Lord is my Shepherd, I’ll not want,
The King of love my shepherd is,
Faith of our fathers,
O day of rest and gladness,
On what has now been sown,
Just as I am, without one plea,
Love divine, all loves excelling,
How marvellous God’s greatness,
Guide me ever, great Redeemer,
Come, let us join our friends above,
How great Thou art,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Sing praise to God, the highest good,
Jesus, joy of our desiring,
In Thee is gladness, and
Holy Spirit, ever dwelling.
The oligarchy of the Danish church may consider these hymns too sentimental,
but they are very popular.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
What a friend we have in Jesus,
This is my Father’s world,
In the garden,
The old rugged cross,
Beneath the cross of Jesus,
Jesus, Saviour, pilot me,
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,
When peace, like a river,
I know that my Redeemer lives!,
I love to tell the story,
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
My faith looks up to Thee,
Breathe on me, Breath of God,
O Master, let me walk with You, and
Lord, speak to me to a tune from Robert Schumann’s
Nacht-stück, Opus 23, No. 4.
Unfortunately, some hymns have to form the end of my list:
Jesus, priceless treasure,
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart,
Onward, Christian soldiers,
How blest are they who hear God’s word,
O Word of God incarnate,
All people that on earth do dwell,
Praise to the Father,
Open now thy gates of beauty, and
God of our life, all-glorious Lord.
The seasonal hymns
Prepare the royal highway is an advent hymn to a Swedish tune.
You must know these Christmas hymns,
but I include them here for completeness.
Joy to the world,
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Angels we have heard on high,
Angels, from the realms of glory,
O, come, all ye faithful,
Good Christian friends, rejoice,
It came upon the midnight clear,
O little town of Bethlehem,
Away in a manger,
O, come, O, come, Emmanuel,
The first Noël,
What child is this, and
I heard the bells on Christmas day. Well, actually, I didn’t know
this last one.
Ride on, ride on in majesty is for Palm Sunday.
Here are some hymns that really celebrate Easter;
next to these, Christ arose in glory sounds like a funeral tune.
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!.
Thine is the glory. The tune is from
Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus.
Jesus Christ is risen today.
Hail thee, festival day exists in three versions:
for Easter, Ascension Day, and Pentecost.
The tune is a little difficult to learn,
but it is worth the effort.
The Danish version of The day of Resurrection,
Grundtvig’s Hør vor helligaftensbøn, is an Easter Saturday
evening prayer that we may appreciate the Easter miracle. John M. Neale’s version
is a regular Easter hymn. If you know which version is closer to the original by
John of Damascus, please explain.
At any rate, the tune by Smart is much better than the Danish one.
Now the green blade rises is a beautiful Easter hymn
that likens Christ to the growing grain.
Now all the vault of heaven resounds is an Easter hymn
to the tune of All creatures of our God and King.
Hallelujah! Sing to Jesus is nice for Ascension Day
if Hail thee, festival day is too difficult;
and, yes, the first and fifth stanzas are identical.
Then some thanks-giving hymns:
Sing to the Lord of harvest is too nice to just sing
on Thanksgiving Sunday.
Praise and thanksgiving is sung to the same tune
as Morning has broken.
We give Thee but Thine own has a tune of no particular merit.
For all the saints is obvious for All Saints Sunday but also suitable for
funerals, and I could sing it any time. Vaughan Williams’s wonderful tune also fits
the somewhat mediocre Danish translation.
Dearest Jesus, we are here is a Baptism hymn.
Lord, who the night You were betrayed is a nice Communion hymn;
and so is
Come with us to the tune of Jesus, joy of our desiring.