I can’t remember how the lyrics to this 1874 hymn entered my conscious … and conscience. Maybe someone brought them to my attention, or I stumbled across them during one of my internet searches for words of inspiration. Nevertheless, they’ve been in a document on my computer, in a folder called “MUSIC/SONGS to work on?” since September of 2010. In any case, I am very glad they did.
These words cut sharply and sweetly into me. They poetically expressed an unbearable yet comforting truth that I want and need to be able to sing. That I want to encourage the Church to sing. It’s not a well-known hymn. Not a popular one. I have no memory of ever singing it in its original form. I could not even hum the old tune for you. But I believe these are words we need to remember today, perhaps more than ever. The words have been waiting on my computer for the right moment.
Yesterday was the right moment. A few musical mates came over to my home to try to write a song together. After some discussion, I remembered the hymn lyrics on my computer and suggested we try a rework. I opened the old document and read the words to the collected song writers as prose.
“None of Self and All of Thee”
Words by Theodore Monod (1874)
O the bitter pain and sorrow
That a time could ever be
When I proudly said to Jesus
“All of self, and none of Thee”
Yet he found me, I beheld him,
Bleeding on the accursed tree
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self and some of thee.”
Day by day his tender mercies
Healing, helping, full and free
Brought me lower while I whispered
“Less of self and more of Thee.”
Higher than the highest heavens
Deeper than the deepest sea
Lord Thy love, at last, has conquered:
None of self, and all of Thee.
Inspiration struck. The words resonated deeply with all of us. Several hours later we had completed a musical reworking of the song with an added, updated chorus. We hope that these four beautifully written verses from Theodore Monod – published some 139 years ago – have been suitably updated for today and beyond. Thank you Theodore. Thank you God.
I hope you – the reader – get to hear and sing the 2013 rendition one day.