The Queen’s coffin is borne into St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
Once again, to my delight, the Robert Bridges’ text, “All my hope on God is founded,” set to Herbert Howells’ tune, Michael, was a musical selection for the Committal Service for the late Queen, this time as part of a liturgy in the more intimate setting of St George’s Chapel, Windsor. This is a hymn tune and text that might deepen your spiritual life. It certainly has had this effect upon me.
One of the striking lines in Bridges’ remarkable hymn text, sung by the whole congregation at the Queen’s Service of Committal, is this: “God’s great goodness aye endureth, deep his wisdom, passing thought: splendour, light, and life attend him, beauty springeth out of naught.”
That line wonderfully honors the biblical account in Genesis of God’s creation of the vastly beautiful universe out of nothing, as well as the glory of the Lord’s resurrection after crucifixion from an empty tomb. It provides an encouraging reminder that even when we feel most empty, or when circumstances seem most unpromising, God brings light in the darkness, and creates beauty where ugliness seems to prevail.
Bridges’ compelling hymn text complements all that has been said in honor of the late Queen’s reliance upon her faith, her life of duty and service, and self-sacrifice. Indeed, the role of faith in her life, and her unhesitating devotion to it, are the kinds of attributes that later lead those who propose additions to the Church’s calendar to consider someone like Elizabeth II for such a fitting remembrance.
For all her hope on God was founded, and she exemplified the beauty of a well-lived public life. She might well have protested that it was an apparent ‘beauty sprung out of naught,’ but the recent fortnight of observances and demonstrations of respect show that most think and believe otherwise.This fits with how -as a sincere Christian- she truly believed that Grace provides where human limitations fall short.
Here is the full text of the hymn. Verse 2 was omitted at the Queen’s Committal service, perhaps out of sensitivity regarding her solemn commitment to upholding the institution of the monarchy. But I very much doubt that the Queen had any hesitation about the generic point of those words.
All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
calls my heart to be his own.
Human pride and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple, fall to dust.
But God’s power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.
God’s great goodness aye endureth,
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendour, light, and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
from his store
new-born worlds rise and adore.
Daily doth th’ Almighty giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.
Still from earth to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.
Based on its inclusion in the September 9 Service of Remembrance (along with an anthem setting by Howells), and it having been featured again at the September 19 Committal service, this hymn was surely one of the Queen’s favorites. For we are told that she selected all the music and other liturgical and ceremonial details for these recent services. With its lyrical melody, and its positive and faith-stirring text, so fitting to the Queen and her life, “All my hope on God is founded” is another treasure among works offered for Anglican worship and liturgy.
The photos above are screen capture images from the Royal Family’s YouTube channel recording of the Committal Service for Her Majesty The Queen.