“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3:17
The text of this hymn was written by Reginald Heber (1783-1826). It was composed while he was Anglican archbishop of Calcutta, India, from 1823 to 1826 for St. Stephen’s Day, a religious holiday observed by the Anglican Church, and published posthumously in an 1827 collection of Heber’s poems entitled Hymns written and adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year. The tune (All Saints New) was composed for this text by Henry Stephen Cutler, who was born Oct. 13, 1825 in Boston, MA. After studying organ with A. U. Hayter in Boston, he went to Europe in 1844 to continue his studies in Frankfurt am Main. While there, he visited many English cathedrals and became familiar with their style of music. Returning to Boston in 1846, he became music director at Grace Episcopal Church.
It speaks of the army of saints, past and present who follow Jesus. I find it a powerful reminder that we are not alone in the Christian walk, we join our brothers and sisters, past and present, as well as Jesus Christ our head.