For this one, I wanted to write a manly hymn for the church militant, which is something I think is too rare in our contemporary songs (nobody sings “Onward Christian Soldiers” anymore, for example). I wanted a song that serves as a battle cry, rallying the troops and encouraging men to fight the good fight of faith and to live in a particular way. So this one is essentially addressed to Christian men and intended to be sung primarily by Christian men.
It’s set to DIADEMATA (“Crown Him With Many Crowns”) because I think its joyful, jubilant, triumphant tone is well suited to the words.
Come, Men of Christ, Be Strong
To the tune of DIADEMATA (‘Crown Him With Many Crowns’)
Come, men of Christ, be strong!
Stand firm, and hold your ground.
Take courage: Though the battle’s long,
The Victor has been crowned.
Advance the cause of Christ!
Once more unto the breach!
Make sharp your swords and join the fight,
For triumph is in reach.
Come, men of Christ, enjoy!
God’s given all that’s fair.
The things of earth are for your joy,
Received with thankful prayer.
Take heart, glad men, have cheer!
Let loud your laughter ring!
And live as rowdy cavaliers
For covenant and King.
Come, join the Bridegroom’s feast!
The table’s set to dine,
Filled full with ale and fatty meats
And rich with bread and wine.
Lift up your glasses high,
And toast, “No king but Christ!”
Then eat your fill and fix your eyes
On Him, our sacrifice.
Sing, men of Christ, sing loud:
“Our banner is the Lord!”
First in, last out, and laughing loud,
We work for our reward.
One day we’ll hear, “Well done,”
And all our striving cease,
But ’til our lifelong race is run,
We’ll fight and laugh and feast.
© 2020 Josh Bishop