Father, Long Before Creation (iTunes)
Words from Chinese hymn, translated by Francis Jones, Music by Andrew Osenga
From the album Beams of Heaven: Indelible Grace IV (Indelible Grace Music)
This week's hymn came from an anonymous Chinese text that was sung by Chinese Christians in the mid-20th century. A scholar of Chinese music and culture named Bliss Wyant gave the hymn text to missionary Francis Jones, who translated it into English. The translation was first published in 1953 in a bulletin of the National Council of Churches and, subsequently, was included in numerous hymnals. The lyrics find their basis in Ephesians 1:3-14, where Paul writes of God's initiative in choosing his people in love, "to the praise of his glorious grace" (v. 6). The hymn's third verse also references John 3:16, as it reads, "God so loved us, that his only Son he gave."
The tune for this week's hymn was written by Andrew Osenga, who is known for being a member of the popular Christian band, Caedmon's Call. The band recorded the hymn in 2006, entitling it "Sing His Love", and Indelible Grace included it on its fourth album in 2008.