Salvador Dali, 1948
It is the day the Church celebrates Christ’s ascension to sit by his Father’s side. The mental image we have is that Christ simply “floated” into heaven. Once when preaching to group of very young children on this day several years ago, a minister asked the children what they thought the disciples saw when he ascended.
One little boy answered innocently, “I see the bottom of Jesus’ feet!” Apparently, Salvador Dali felt the same way!
Composers Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring Write Crown Him with Many Crowns (from “Share Faith”)
In the 1800s there was great tension between the Catholic and Anglican churches (see: History of Hymns). Crown Him with Many Crowns is a wonderful example of how God takes the troubles of man and turns them around for good (Romans 8:28).
The song was originally penned in 1851 by Matthew Bridges (1800-1894), who once wrote a book condemning Roman Catholic theology, and then later converted to Catholicism. Bridges wrote six stanzas, based upon Revelations 19:12, “…and on His head were many crowns.”
Godfrey Thring (1823-1903) was a devout Anglican clergyman who was concerned that this popular hymn was allowing Catholic theology to be sung by protestant congregations. And so he wrote six new verses.
The 12 stanzas have been mixed and matched down through the years. Interestingly, of the following six verses most commonly appearing in hymnals today, three were written by Bridges (vs 1,2,and 4) and three by Thring (vs 3,5 and 6).
Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.
Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.
Crown Him the Lord of heaven: One with the Father known,
One with the Spirit Through Him given From yonder glorious throne.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou hast died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail Throughout eternity.
Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.
Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11)