Prophet, Priest, and King: Take Two

New hymns are like fruit, I think: it’s tempting to pick them before they’re ripe, but not prudent. Thus, my hymn texts usually improve with time and critiques, and I think that’s the case with “Prophet, Priest, and King,” as well. Thanks, then, to all who provided feedback on the first draft. I’ve completed a second draft incorporating several changes that were either directly suggested by readers or provoked by the discussion. Most notably, I tweaked the meter as recommended by Jill, and I’m pleased with the result. Thanks! I’m not sure that it’s “finished,” but here’s the latest version:

Prophet, Priest, and King

Blind and lost, we need a Guide,
A voice to cry “Thus says the Lord!”
God as man with man abides:
Our Prophet—God’s incarnate Word.

Vile and damned, we need an Aid
To mediate ‘tween God and man.
Christ by blood atonement made:
Our great High Priest and spotless Lamb.

Bound and worn, we need a Prince
To crush our Foe and loose our chain.
Jesus lives, and He shall win:
Crucified, Christ lives again—
Almighty King, unending reign!

Refrain:
Praise our promised Sacrifice
Whom sage foretold, Whom angels sing;
God’s anointed—Jesus Christ!
Exalt our Prophet, Priest, and King!

(c) ChurchWorksMedia 2009. All rights reserved.

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11 Responses

  1. Hymns by committee.

    I like it.

  2. […] Chris finishes another excellent hymn text […]

  3. Chris,
    Still unsettled about Guide (usually associated with HS) and Aid–Aid probably more. We need an aid to mediate?!? I think rather we need a mediator, not just someone to help out with mediation. Merriam-Webster – aid as noun (in this context) – “an assisting person or group.” That’s how we should view Christ in regard to our interaction with God? — as one who assists in mediation?

    Maybe I’m over-thinking here. I’m sure you mean that mediation is not possible w/o Christ, and therefore technically Christ does assist mediation in that sense. I guess I’m just looking for stronger language that distances our encounter with Christ from descriptions of mystic spirit guides. (But, again, I guess that’s what the last 2 lines of that verse are there for.)

  4. I’m not necessarily done tweaking, Dan. But I’ve considered both words (Guide and Aid), and though they’d not be sufficient alone, I think they’re fine when read in the context of the whole hymn. They’re not without biblical precedent—God is often called our “Helper” with the understanding that He rescues us, not that He just gives us a “boost.”

    I’m open to improvements, obviously, but I’m not unhappy with these at this point.

    Thanks, as always!

  5. I especially like the result on the refrain.

    Would “Bound and spent” convey more the idea of futility than “Bound and worn”? Seems to fit more with the impasse communicated by “lost” and “damned”…just a thot. “Worn” might sing better tho.

  6. Okay. I won’t bother you about Guide and Aid anymore. I can understand your defense.

    How about the “Jesus lives” line in the 3rd. Although saying Jesus lives does say much and is fitting in the verse, I think it might be even more helpful to the idea of the verse to contrast his being alive from his death. I’ve always been impressed with how well ideas are imaged in Revelation. When first we see Jesus there he tells us, “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (1:18). That contrast is more powerful than saying only “I am alive” (although the meaning would be the same). So why not incorporate that triumph-over-death concept more fully by changing the line to something like: “Resurrected, Christ shall win,” or maybe “Alive forever, Christ shall win,” or “Our resurrected Lord shall win” or …

    I know why you changed line 2 of the refrain to “Whom sage foretold,” but “Whom sages saw” flows better.

  7. The 3rd line of the 3rd verse is the one I’m least satisfied with, Dan. It’s true, but I’d like it to say more, be more obviously relevant to the theme of the verse, and be more artistic.

    I’m thinking I should focus that line on either Christ’s (a) death and resurrection, or (b) 1st and 2nd advents, since all deal with His triumph.

    (a) “Jesus died and rose again” (simple enough) or “Crucified, Christ lives again”

    or

    (b) “Christ has come; He shall again” or “Christ has come, and will again” or “Christ has come, will come again.”

    or even

    (c) “Christ will come to earth again” (focusing entirely on the future kingdom).

    Thoughts?

    re: “sage foretold,” I’ll think on it. Foretold is definitely more accurate and clear, though. Hmm.

  8. Well, I’d have a problem with (b) and (c) since even in premillennial thought the earthly reign is not going to match your last line of “unending reign.” You’d need to tie in the 2nd coming purpose better.

    I like (a) subpart 2 best – “Crucified, Christ lives again.” That provides the contrast I mentioned and is in line with the triumph theme of the rest of the lines.

  9. “Crucified, Christ lives again” also more artistry than “Jesus died and rose again.”

  10. Yet another good hymn text, I look forward to when it is set to a tune. I enjoy using many other of your hymns with my youth group.

  11. I’m leaning toward “Crucified, Christ lives again.” FWIW, Dan.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Ryan.

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