- Singing the Faith: 539 (CD22 #15)
- Paul Wood
- “Sing hosanna” by Anon arr Norman Warren
Ideas for use
This baptism hymn has been set to a tune that is familiar to many beyond the walls of a church (as “Give me joy in my heart”) – and which is easily accessible to those who don’t know it. It explains clearly what Christians believe is happening during the sacrament of baptism.
Paul offered this hymn to the compilers of Singing the Faith in response to the need for a hymn about baptism that, as Paul puts it, “people could easily understand and that would mean something”. He had called for hymns about baptism that might be used to reach out to the unchurched. (Marjorie Dobson also took up that call, writing Born in a stable (StF 532), which echoes the baptismal service: “all this for you, child, all this for you”.)
The hymn moves from a description of the symbols of baptism (especially water) and their meaning (v.1) to what this means for the child or person being baptised (V.2) and concludes with our response of praise to God whose love is shown in the life of Jesus and who “offers us life by his Spirit, showing us the way to our new birth” (v.3).
For further reflections on the Methodist understanding of baptism see the notes that accompany Mary Rose Jensen's Covenant child (StF 533).
As in Beyond these walls of worship (StF 547), co-written with Ian Worsfold, it is our response as members of a congregation that Paul emphasises. That response is encapsulated in the refrain, which draws upon the words of the Doxology,* underlining praise as our starting point and thanks as our basis for worshipping God.
Paul Wood is a Methodist minister, currently serving as Coordinator for Ministry Development for the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network. Known by many for his co-leadership of worship at Methodist Conference for a number of years, Paul first trained as a primary teacher with a music specialism and is an experienced and enthusiastic music director for musical theatre companies. Paul was a member of the Singing the Faith music group and has been chair of the Singing the Faith Reference Group since its inception in 2011.
Together with his writing partner, Ian Worsfold, Paul talks about his passion for music making and hymn writing in Faith sung and shared.
* Traditionally, the Doxology is translated: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, and now, and always, and to the ages of ages. Amen.