Susan asked for this one: Christ Shall Have Dominion. If It sounds like Onward, Christian Soldiers, it’s because both lyrics use the same melody by Arthur S. Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan fame, published in 1871. It doesn’t have to be fancy–three friends, a guitar, and a couple of hymnals will do the trick.
The first time I posted this hymn, somebody complained. I replied, “Well, then, who would you rather have dominion, other than Jesus Christ?” I never got an answer.
One of the wisest things I ever heard anybody say came from a panelist on this dinky little 15-minute talk show on a Christian radio station. When things look darkest, she said, “Sing louder.” And I think Christ Shall Have Dominion would be a very good thing to sing. And a very good thing to pray for.
The last time I posted Christ Shall Have Dominion as the daily hymn, there was an objection to it. I’d rather not revisit the objection, nor have I anything against the reader who made it. Instead, I would rather counter with a question.
If you would rather Christ not have dominion, who, or what, would you prefer to have it?
I’m a political scientist, with the papers to prove it; and I defy all comers to name a worldly scheme of government that is not ridiculous. Because we ourselves are sinners, never possessed of anything but incomplete knowledge, given to lies and wishful thinking, apt to make horrendous mistakes in judgment, no government we can devise will be any better than we are. And that’s not very good.
But Jesus Christ the Son of God is defined by God the Father as having the right to rule: because He alone is the king who rules in righteousness. The government shall be upon his shoulder, brought about only by the power and the grace of God–not by conniving media, crooked donors, violence, theft, treason, or any of the other means so dear to the human heart. There is nothing we can do to bring Christ down from heaven to set his throne on earth. God does not depend on us.
Only anarchists can convince themselves that human beings can live without someone having dominion over them. And only fools believe that any human government can bring us to an earthly paradise. The mob who cried for Christ to be crucified professed that they had no king but Caesar. Had Caesar submitted himself to God and to God’s law, God would have blessed him as carrying out the duties of a proper ruler–even as He will bless governments today who do the same.
It seems the least they could do while waiting for the King.
This is the congregation at Grace Community Church in San Antonio, Texas; and the hymn is Christ Shall Have Dominion, by Arthur Sullivan, best known as half of Gilbert & Sullivan.
This is the hymn that’s with me this morning, and I’ll have something to say about it when I get back from the nursing home.
Oh, do the wicked not want to hear this! Maybe that’s why the comments had to be disabled on the youtube page.
Join the folks at Grace Community Church, San Antonio, Texas, in singing Christ Shall Have Dominion. At least sing the chorus: “Christ shall have dominion over land and sea, Earth’s remotest regions shall His empire be.” And sing it loud! It may be God will hear us.
Praise of God should be a regular part of daily life–and you don’t need an orchestra to do it. Here all it takes is three people and a guitar. And I chose this hymn because I found myself whistling it in the shower yesterday: Christ Shall Have Dominion, by A. Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan fame. Sung to the same tune as Onward, Christian Soldiers.
Sing it today: Christ shall surely have dominion! Sing it louder.
If you don’t already know this hymn, the first thing you’re going to think is, “Hey, that’s Onward, Christian Soldiers!” Actually it’s Christ Shall Have Dominion, but you’re right about one thing–the music is exactly the same. And that’s because the melody used in both hymns was composed by the same man–Arthur S. Sullivan, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.
You might want to turn up the volume on this one. And pray: O Lord Our God, we long for the day when this your promise is fulfilled, and Christ reigns over all Creation!