O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739.
Music: Charles G. Glaser, 1828. Additional lyrics by Richard Kentopp, 2010.
This is the first Wesley song which I have been able to convert to something not involving a large organ. Now that I’m working for a Methodist church, there’s a lot of pressure to do many more similar conversions by our great champion, Chuck. While I do appreciate Wesley’s theological and ecclesiastical legacy, his songs are very…. wordy. And…. melodically complex. Sometimes it seems like he was in a competition with his brother John to see how many words they could cram into a day. We might see more of Wesley at Servant Church in the future, but for now I’m still catching my breath from getting through the last stanza.
I decided to add the cheezy little refrain in the middle for two reasons. First, musically, it just begs a refrain, something phrased slowly that doesn’t feel like we’re rapping with the Wesley brothers. Also, I wanted to contextualize the song to our local context at Servant Church. ‘Teach us the songs that will cause all to sing, breathe through our lives to impart the grace that only you can bring’ This is a nice cheezy wedding of Servant Church’s mission statement and Wesley’s original lyrics.
Key lyric: My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.