“Come, Thou Almighty King,” which uses the Italian Hymn tune of Felice de Giardini, has long been a staple in the hymnals of Churches of Christ. But with only one or two exceptions, the earliest being WEM Hackleman’s Gloria in Excelcis of 1905, there have been no hymnals that have included the third verse. It, of course, mentions the Holy Spirit. While we will explore this subject going forward in several posts, I’ll ask the question here. With the exception of it being a “controversial issue” among Churches of Christ at the turn of the century, why have people over the years felt moved to delete items, such as this verse? It doesn’t belong to us…the message of the hymn text ( in this case author is unknown but somtimes attributed to Charles Wesley) is one crafted by someone else…Isn’t there something sacred about intellectual property and original intent of the lyricist/composer that we destruct by selecting certain excerpts to remove from hymns? We’ll continue banter about this into the future…
For now,, here’s the oft-removed third verse of “Come, Thou Almighty King.”
“Come, Holy Comforter, thy sacred witness bear.
In this glad hour, thou who almighty art,
Now rule in every heart, and ne’er from us depart,
Spirit of Power.”
The same is true in Baptist life. We have become a bi-tarian people who believe in the Father and Son, but dismiss the Spirit for fear that we might be considered “holy rollers”…..As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday this coming weekend, may we be reminded that we profess a trinitarian God.
I suspect that even if that verse was printed in the hymnal, my hometown songleader would have skipped over the verse anyway.
It’s really a shame, considering the story behind the writing of that song.