IN CHRIST THERE IS NO EAST OR WEST
by John Oxenham (1852–1941)
At the closing days of World War II, two ships were anchored together, one containing Japanese aliens, and the other American soldiers waiting to be repatriated. For an entire day they lined the rails, glaring at one another. Suddenly, the silence was broken as someone began to sing, “In Christ There is No East or West.” Then another on the opposite ship took up the refrain. Soon there was an extraordinary chorus of former enemies uniting to praise God.
The hymn “In Christ There is No East or West” first appeared in London at a pageant opened by the young Winston Churchill. The exhibition was sponsored by the London Missionary Society to depict the triumphs of missionary work and named “The Orient in London.” William Arthur Dunkerley was asked to write the libretto, but he wrote it under the name of John Oxenham. It reflects his strong feelings against sectarianism, expressed by the apostle Paul in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Oxenham wrote more than forty novels and twenty volumes of prose and poetry. Much of this writing was on the life of Christ, and he often taught a Bible class. The hymn was first published in 1913, and the tune was composed by Alexander Robert Reinagle, an organist of Austrian descent from Brighton, England.
SO SEND I YOU
by E. Margaret Clarkson (1915–2008)
Hymns have many different and strange birthplaces. “So Send I You” was born in the lumber and gold-mining camps in northern Ontario, Canada in 1937. At the age of twenty-three, Margaret Clarkson, a recent graduate from the Toronto Teacher’s College and University of Toronto, was assigned to teach in these remote towns. While meditating on the words of Jesus in John 20:21, “As the Father hath sent me, so send I you,” she realized that this lonely place was her mission field, where she remained for seven of her thirty-eight years of teaching. The original verses were revised sixteen years later as Clarkson understood the global challenge implied in Jesus’ Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:19. Her published works include textbooks and several books of devotional prose and poetry, as well as twenty hymns.
The tune was composed by John Peterson, a staff member of the Moody Bible Institute in the summer of 1954. The poem, with no name attached, was handed to Peterson. He later wrote, “with the lines of the poem before me, the melody came.” It was first published in the same year, and after Clarkson’s revision, was published by Singspiration in 1963.
WORKING O CHRIST WITH THEE
by William Augustine Ogden (1841–1897)
William Ogden had a varied career: from organizing a male choir for the Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War to conducting large choirs at conventions in the United States and Canada. He exhibited much musical interest even from childhood. He studied in Boston and in 1870 published his Silver Song, a book that sold half a million copies. Two years later, he published another hymnal containing ninety-eight of his tunes and nine hymn texts. He also composed two oratorios and two cantatas.
The hymn “Working O Christ With Thee” emphasizes a partnership between the gospel worker and the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, the apostle Paul affirms this partnership when he writes, ”We then, as workers together with him.” Interestingly, Ogden uses the phrase “working with Thee” nine times in the four stanzas of the hymn.
While the text of this hymn came from Toledo, Arizona in the United States, the tune was composed in London, England by an Irishman, Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan, who received honorary doctorates in music from Cambridge and Oxford. He composed oratorios, anthems, secular songs, and church and choral music. He is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
O MASTER LET ME WALK WITH THEE
by Washington Gladden (1836–1918)
The March 1879 issue of the magazine Sunday Afternoon included a poem written by the editor, Washington Gladden, called “Walking With God.” It also appeared in his Songs of Praise in 1880. The four stanzas of the hymn progress from walking with God, to closer communion with God, and ultimately to living with God, which we remember to be the experience of Enoch.
Gladden was born in Pennsylvania, ordained as a Congregational minister in 1860, and authored thirty-two books. He was a recognized leader of the social gospel movement at a time when the Industrial Revolution exploited individuals in the name of economic progress. A popular lecturer, he proclaimed that it was the duty of the Christian church to “elevate the masses not only spiritually and morally, but to be concerned about their social and economic welfare as well.” The hymn teaches that our service for God grows out of an intimate fellowship with Him.
The tune was composed by a Maltese, Henry Percel Smith, who was educated at Oxford, ordained an Anglican priest in 1850, and served parishes in England, France, and Gibraltar.