Wayne S. Walker

“O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15.55)

     INTRO.:  A song which stresses the victory of Christ over the grave
is “Thine Is The Glory.”  The text was written by Edmond Louis Budry, who
was born on Aug. 30, 1854, at Vevay in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland.
A student of theology with the “Faculte libre” in Lausanne, Switzerland,
he served as minister at Cully and St. Croix, near Lausanne, from 1881 to
1889, and then returned to his hometown to become minister of the Free
Church in Vevey, where he remained for 35 years.  This hymn, “A toi le
gloire,” is dated 1884 and with some of his other works appeared in 1885
“Chants Evangeliques” published at Lausanne.  It began to be famous after
it was also published in the “Y.M.C.A. Hymnbook” at Lausanne in 1904.

      It was translated into English in 1923 by Richard Birch Hoyle
(1875-1939).  The English version first appeared in the 1925 “Cantate
Domino” published for the World’s Student Christian Federation of Geneva,
Switzerland.  In England, the song begins, “Thine Be The Glory.”  Budry
produced the words of over sixty chorales, many of which have appeared in
French hymnbooks.  Besides his original hymns, he translated German,
English, and Latin lyrics into French.  Some scholars believe that he
drew his inspiration for “Thine Is The Glory” from the words of Friedrich
Heinrich Ranke, which were first published in 1908.  The tune (Maccabeus)
was composed by George Frederick Handel (1685-1759).  It is adapted from
Othniel’s victorious procession in the original version of Handel’s
1745-1748 oratorio “Joshua.”

      The music was transferred around 1751 from “Joshua” to later
versions “Judas Maccabeus” which was originally staged in 1746.  There it
has remained, set to the chorus, “See, the conquering hero comes.”  The
melody was first used as a hymn tune in Thomas Butts’s “Harmonia Sacra”
of 1760, where it was set to Charles Wesley’s “Christ the Lord Is Risen
Today.”  After his retirement in 1923, Budry continued to write poetry
and died on Nov. 12, 1932, at Vevay.  The only hymnbooks published by
members of the Lord’s church for use among churches of Christ to include
the song that I know of are the 1986 “Great Songs Revised” edited by
Forrest M. McCann, the 1992 “Praise for the Lord” edited by John P.
Wiegand, and the 1994 “Songs of Faith and Praise” edited by Alton H.

     The rousing song recounts the resurrection of Christ and the events
surrounding it.

I. Stanza 1 centers on the angels who rolled the stone away
“Thine is the glory, risen, conquering Son; Endless is the victory Thou
o’er death hast won.
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away, Kept the folded
graveclothes where Thy body lay.”
  A. Jesus Christ is the risen, conquering Son: Rom. 1.3-4
  B. He has won an endless victory over death because He destroyed the
devil who had the power of death: Heb. 2.14-15
  C. This occurred when angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away:
Matt. 28.2-3

II. Stanza 2 centers on the women who came to the tomb and later saw
“Lo!  Jesus meets us, Risen, from the tomb; lovingly He greets us,
scatters fear and gloom.
Let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing, For her Lord now
liveth; Death hath lost its sting.”
  A. Jesus met the women as they ran from the tomb to tell the apostles:
Matt. 28.9-10
  B. While Jesus does not appear to us physically today, yet He still
meets and greets us through His word to scatter fear and gloom as we
accept the truth of His resurrection: 2 Tim. 8
  C. Therefore, His church should sing with gladness hymns of triumph to
the risen Lord: Col. 3.16

III. Stanza 3 centers on Thomas who at first doubted the resurrection
“No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of Life!  Life is naught without
Thee; Aid us in our strife.
Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love; Bring us safe
through Jordan to Thy home above.”
  A. Thomas doubted when he heard of Jesus’s resurrection, but when he saw
He believed: Jn. 20.24-29
  B. Since then, those who have not seen yet have believed because of the
overwhelming evidence presented can be more than conquerors through Him
who was dead but now is alive: Rom. 8.37
  C. And through faith, as God brought the Israelites over Jordan into the
Promised Land, so will the Lord bring us over the Jordan of death into
the eternal Promised Land of heaven: Josh. 3.1-17

     CONCL.:  The chorus repeats the victorious opening words of the
“Thine is the glory, risen, conquering Son;
Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.”
The death of Jesus on the cross was necessary for our sins.  But His
death really means nothing without His resurrection to validate it.
Therefore, because He was raised from the dead, and by His resurrection
gives us hope of being raised from the dead when He comes again, we
should say to our Lord Jesus Christ, “Thine Is The Glory.”

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