Bread of the world in mercy broken

A hymn to sing along with…

Bishop Reginald Heber wrote many hymns, some very familiar today. You can read more about him in the post Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. Other hymns in this collection that were written by him include Brightest and Best of the sons of the morning and By cool Siloam’s shady rill.

The Genevan Psalter was originally published by John Calvin in 1539. Calvin believed that the whole congregation should “Sing Along” during worship (not just a group of musicians, as had been the practice up till then). The tune used for this hymn was first published in the 1551 edition of the psalter, set to Psalm 118. It is called Rendez à Dieu, the opening words of that psalm in French.

And as a special treat, a beautiful modern second tune Spiritus vitae by Mary Jane Hammond (1878-1964). She was born at Liverpool, the daughter of a Vicar, and died, a spinster, at St Albans. She had been a teacher, but little else is known about her.

1 – Rendez à Dieu
2 – Spiritus vitae

Bread of the world in mercy broken,
wine of the soul in mercy shed,
by whom the words of life were spoken,
and in whose death our sins are dead.

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
look on the tears by sinners shed;
and be thy feast to us the token
that by thy grace our souls are fed.

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