|This hymn was written by Charles Wesley, the brother of John Wesley and the author of so many hymns (“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and more than six thousand others).
This hymn celebrates Christ’s glory—glory being a Biblical word usually associated with the splendor of God’s presence or the splendor of God’s creation.
Jesus Christ shared God’s glory— God’s magnificent presence. His glory was revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration to three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John. Seeing that glory astonished them—terrified them. My guess is that, if God were to reveal himself to us in all his glory, we might be a bit overwhelmed too. But the disciples didn’t have any reason to be afraid. Jesus didn’t come to hurt them, but to help them.
In this hymn, Wesley sees Christ’s glory filling the skies like the sun—triumphing over the shades of night. I like that vision of Christ’s glory, because it helps me to see Christ in every sunrise. Christ’s glory floods the world with light and dispels the darkness, just like the sun. The son, S-O-N, is like the sun, S-U-N, bringing light and warmth and life to our world.
Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan