The Story behind the Hymn |The Venerable Bede



The Venerable Bede was not called Venerable because he was so old but because he was so wise and brilliant in many different areas. Living thirteen hundred years ago, he was one of the earliest historians and theologians in the English church.

He wrote books on science, nature, and grammar. He is revered as “The Father of English History” because of his book Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. In the book he describes how the Christian faith came to England. It came, he says, with singing.

The early missionaries to England brought a simple lifestyle, and new converts believed, “admiring the simplicity of their innocent life, and the sweetness of their heavenly doctrine.” In one city, he wrote, the Christians came together to “meet, to sing, and to pray,” and soon the king and ten thousand citizens were baptized.

Bede wrote and sang his hymns accompanied by his Saxon harp. And when he was dying in the year 735, he asked his friends to carry him to the room where he usually prayed. There he sang the “Gloria Patri.”

When he uttered his last words on earth, he continued his song in the presence of the triune God.

Adoration and Praise Scriptures: Acts 2:32-33; Philippians 2:8-10; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 12:2

Themes: Praise, Eternity, Ascension

A hymn of glory let us sing, New hymns throughout the world shall ring; By a new way none ever trod Christ takes His place—the throne of God.

You are a present joy, O Lord; You will be ever our reward; And great the light in You we see To guide us to eternity.

O risen Christ, ascended Lord, All praise to You let earth accord, Who are, while endless ages run, With Father and with Spirit, One.

THE VENERABLE BEDE (673–735) Stanzas 1–2 translated by Elizabeth Rundle Charles (1828–1896), altered. Stanza 3 translated by Benjamin Webb (1819–1885), altered.

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