In discussions of modern worship, the subject of “new hymns” comes up, describing pieces that are contemporary, but written in a “hymn style,” that is, the traditional verse-chorus, verse-chorus form.
One such piece — which was old enough to make it into some of the hymnbooks that got published, but new enough not to contain archaic language — is Bryan Jeffrey Leach’s 1976 composition, “We Are God’s People.”
This is also one a few songs that truly celebrates the church itself; striving for unity but recognizing that the body of Christ is made up of many parts.
Unfortunately, despite the glut of church choirs and congregations on YouTube, there is not a recording of the entire hymn anywhere to be found. The tune is a little angular — this is what some would call an anthem and it uses a classical melody — but maybe someone out there can pair these lyrics to something that works with guitar, because this song has a great message.
We are God’s people, the chosen of the Lord,
Born of His Spirit, established by His Word;
Our cornerstone is Christ alone, and strong in Him we stand:
O Let us live transparently, and walk heart to heart and hand in hand.
We are God’s loved ones, the Bride of Christ our Lord,
For we have know it, the love of God out-poured;
Now let us learn how to return the gift of love once given:
O Let us share each joy and care, and live with a zeal that pleases Heaven.
We are the Body of which the Lord is Head,
Called to obey Him, now risen from the dead;
He wills us be a family, diverse yet truly one:
O Let us give our gifts to God, and so shall His work on earth be done.
We are a temple, the Spirit’s dwelling place,
Formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God’s grace;
We die alone, for on its own each ember loses fire:
Yet joined in one the flame burns on to give warmth and light, and to inspire.
Words by Brian Jeffery Leech, 1976
Music by Johannes Brahms, 1877, Tune: Symphony
Turns out this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this song on this blog; here’s where my thoughts were at two years ago on the subject of spiritual honesty and transparency.