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Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendour

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1Q_O1e_rLM

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenward by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

The following is a word about the author from John (Confessing Evangelical:)

Frank Houghton was editorial secretary for the China Inland Mission (now OMF), and he wrote the hymn in the aftermath of the savage martyrdom of two missionaries, John and Betty Stam, who were beheaded by bandits in China in 1934 (their three-month old daughter miraculously survived, unnoticed by the bandits). The Stams’ great-nephew, Chip Stam, takes up the story:

The news of these sorrows had reached the mission’s headquarters in Shanghai. Though this was a very dangerous time for both the Chinese Christians and the foreign missionaries, Frank Houghton decided he needed to begin a tour through the country to visit various missionary outposts. While traveling over the mountains of Szechwan, the powerful and comforting words of 2 Corinthians 8:9, “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor,” were transformed into this beautiful Christmas hymn.

I already loved this hymn, but the “backstory” only adds to its power. Had it been written in comfortable, western safety, this would already be a great hymn. But how moving it is to think of a hymn so full of the love of God being written in circumstances of such precariousness and fear.

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