Tuesday, July 16, 2013

o for a thousand tongues

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of His grace! *

Even as a little girl I loved this old hymn.
But I always thought the imagery odd,
envisioning myself with a thousand tongues.
I mean, that's just plain strange.

The author, Charles Wesley, began his education early at his mother's knee.
English was his first language, but his mother knew and taught Charles in
Greek, Latin and French.

Charles later graduated from Oxford with
a Masters in Classical languages and literature.

I now realize that such a man, as he wrote that hymn,
was not envisioning himself with a thousand tongues.
(Am I the only one who ever interpreted it that way?)

He was imagining a chorus of praise
in one thousand languages
from all around the earth and throughout history
all singing together the glories of our God and King!

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine it with me...
one thousand languages from all time and all places,
lifted in unison to sing of the triumphs of His grace.

No wonder Wesley wrote a hymn about it.

My gracious Master, and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of Thy name. *

So that every tongue, every tribe
can join us when we lift our voices on that great day...

*Taken from the hymn, 'O For a Thousand Tongues' by Charles Wesley

**Note:  There are now almost 7,000 known languages in our world.  Maybe the hymn should read, 'O for 7000 tongues to sing...'


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I am 75 years old and still, when I hear "Because He Lives" I get goosebumps.

OliveTree said...

This has always been one of my favorite hymns, too, Barbara. Thanks for your post.