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08 August 2011

Hymn: Before the One True God

SPLHS Hymn of the Year

Dean of Chapel William Heine allowed me the privilege of writing this year’s hymn of the year for Saint Paul Lutheran High School in Concordia, Missouri. Pastor Heine tries to develop monthly themes for devotions and chapel services from the school’s annual Bible verse and theme of the year.

Members of Christ's BodyThe theme for 2011 – 2012 is All for One, based on Romans 12:4–5: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

As we talked together, we saw possibilities for using other verses from Romans 12 as monthly themes. After writing monthly, opening, and year-end stanzas based on these passages, I turned to Romans 15:5–6 for the doxology.

The hymn, or portions thereof, may be sung in other than academic settings. The two stanzas most specific to SPLHS or school in general are the second, which speaks of those gathered “from lands afar and places near” and the third, which prays for divine guidance in “teaching, leading, learning.” I may write alternate words for these at some time in the future.

See below for information on copyright and usage, PDF downloads, and possible tunes.


Before the One True God
88 88 88

SPLHS 2011 – 2012 Hymn of the Year

Text by Walter P. Snyder, 1957–

  1. Introduction: All for One

    Before the one true God whose name
    We hold and hail with glad acclaim,
    We offer this poor sacrifice:
    Our bodies purchased by the price
    Of Jesus’ suff’ring, blood, and death,
    Our hearts and minds, our lives and breath.

    Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

  2. August: One Body of All

    From lands afar and places near,
    In one accord we gather here.
    Though disp’rate members each may be,
    One body in You, Christ, are we;
    And to each other we belong
    As varied notes in one great song.

    Romans 12:4–5 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

  3. September: One Gift in All

    As You have given, so we give
    To those around us, that they live
    And learn and grow in one accord
    Within Your grace and mercy, Lord.
    Through teaching, leading, learning we
    Use all Your gifts right cheerfully.

    Romans 12:6–8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

  4. October: One Confession with All

    Grant us a love that’s genuine;
    Lead us, dear Lord, away from sin,
    To heartily confess Your name
    And turn our backs on vice and shame.
    Give us the strength to firmly hold
    Fast to the good with hearts made bold.

    Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

  5. November: One Love for All

    O Christ, who makes us brothers dear,
    Grant us Your grace and cast out fear:
    Let each of us affection know
    And from us each full honor flow
    To all the body’s members, who
    Are one with us and one with You.

    Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

  6. December: One Zeal by All

    As when the shepherds angels heard,
    So may it be that at Your Word
    Our hearts are stirred to faithful zeal,
    Our mouths to voice Your love’s appeal,
    Our hearts to serve in one accord
    Your body and its Head, O Lord.

    Romans 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

  7. January: One Hope for All

    O God, we know that all things good
    You grant us, Jesus’ brotherhood.
    Yet also tribulation’s wrath
    Oft falls on those who trace Christ’s path.
    Oh, hear our prayer from evil night:
    Lord, give us hope that shines forth light.

    Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

  8. February: One Generosity to All

    For us, the doors of heaven stand
    Full open to the Promised Land.
    So thus may we, with arms flung wide,
    Give aid to those who ills betide
    And welcome to each stranger who,
    Into our lives, is sent by You.

    Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

  9. March: One Blessing for All

    Though mankind was Your enemy
    You sent Your Son to set us free:
    And through His blood and righteousness
    All people You did choose to bless.
    May we who once stood as your foe
    Bless those who, to Your Church, mean woe.

    Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

  10. April: One Compassion for All

    O Christ, our sin-wrought pains You know
    From suff’ring in this world below.
    Grant us like hearts that we might feel
    The hurts of others, nor conceal
    The joy that comes from You above,
    But freely share Your boundless love.

    Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

  11. May: One Harmony among All

    Concordia! — one heart — have we,
    One peace, one love, one harmony.
    Throw off our sinful pride of heart,
    That love of others be our art
    And love of self be cast away,
    While serving others day by day.

    Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

  12. Baccalaureate and Graduation: One Purpose Throughout All

    Into the world You bid us go,
    Our faith let it not overthrow
    But, by Your Word and Spirit kind,
    Transform each person’s heart and mind,
    So, guided by Your holy light,
    We think and say and do what’s right.

    Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

  13. Doxology: One Praise from All

    One God You are, yet Persons Three —
    You dwell in perfect unity.
    May we, though many, with one voice
    In You forevermore rejoice:
    We praise You, Father, with the Son
    and Holy Spirit, Three-in-One.

    Romans 15:5–6 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hymn text © 2011 Walter P. Snyder. May not be used or reproduced without permission.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

You may also download a PDF copy of Before the One True God, either five pages with Scriptures or a single page with hymn only.

Four tunes in 88 88 88 meter are found in Lutheran Service Book. These are Melita, All Ehr und Lob, Vater unser, and Ryburn. Links take you to the respective MIDI audio files.

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