Descant to the hymn tune GARDINER, also published as GERMANY. Free score with harmonized descant. || Audio: intro (four bars, ad lib) | hymnal verse | free harmonization (Wm. Gardiner, 1815) | organ bridge (ad lib) | descant and harmonization Free score.
The hymn text
The hymn Where cross the crowded ways of life was written at the turn of the 20th century by poet Frank Mason North (1850-1935). Active in urban ministry, North's hymn is a reverse analogy to William Blake's And did those feet in ancient time; whereas Blake saw the coal-scarred landscape of England replaced at Christ's coming by a green and pleasant land, North appeals to the 'Master, from the mountainside' to transfigure the chaos, din, and desparation of the city into a new Jerusalem, sent from above. While waiting in expectation, however, the church begins the transformation with quiet, persistent individual acts of Christ-like selflessness. North understood well the difficulty of changing the tenacious dynamics of "race and clan" with transformative one-to-one acts of grace, such as "the cup of water given for Thee." Final transformation descends as the heavenly city; for now, the Church must be the next best thing. First published in a missionary journal, The Christian City in 1903, it appeared two years later in the Methodist Hymnal; wide acceptance followed.
Hear the original
(The link to GERMANY redirects to this page.)
Where cross the crowded ways of life
*adapt. fr. William Gardiner, 1815
till all the world shall learn thy love,
and follow where thy feet have trod;
till glorious from thy heaven above
shall come the city of our God.
– Hymnal 1982
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