Show me how to stand for justice
Source: Singing the Faith: 713
Words: Martin Leckebusch
Music: “Dim ond Iesu” by Robert Lowry
Metre: 87.87.D. (Trochaic)
Ideas for use
Explore other hymns about understanding, and responding to, the needs of our neighbours in our article on the 2013 Oscar-winning movie, Dallas Buyers Club.
Martin Leckebusch has taken as his starting point for this hymn a verse from the book of the prophet Micah (Micah 6: 8):
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Each of the hymn’s three verses echoes one of the “requirements” of God. In verse 1, Martin declares that to “stand for justice” is to reflect the “immense compassion” of God in the lives we lead.
Where verse 1 emphasises the wider social implications of acting with justice, in verse 2, Martin writes of mercy (in other Bible translations: “kindness”) in terms of personal experience – as a response to our forgiveness and acceptance by Jesus, God’s Son.
Finally, in verse 3 (which has affinities with the Methodist Covenant Prayer), the requirement to “walk humbly with your God” is paraphrased as submitting “in humility… to the truth which I have heard”:
Make me conscious of your presence
every day, in all I do.
Edel McClean, a Methodist Learning and Development Officer for the North West England and Isle of Mann, has reflected on what it looks like to walk humbly in this way, trying always to remember God’s presence in everything we do.
“How can we be compassionate and loyal to love in a world that is overwhelming? Like any insurmountable task, we can follow Mother Teresa’s counsel and ‘do small things with great love’. Even Jesus in his ministry could not do everything, but he did respond to those he met with compassionate love.
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. God is not served by our fretting and feeling powerless. God is served when we seek to do what we can with love, when we refuse to give up hope, refuse to allow our sense of possibility to be pushed around and put down. God is served when we take God seriously.”
The tune “Dim ond Iesu”*
According to Delyth M Phillips of the Welsh Hymn Society, the tune ”Dim ond Iesu” (“Jesus only”) was composed by the American Robert Lowry (1826-99) and was included in Ira D Sankey’s collection Sacred Songs and Solos around 1895. It was called ‘Jesus only’ because it was used with Hattie M Conrey’s hymn ‘What tho’ clouds are hov’ring o’er me,’ which include the words “If I’ve Jesus, Jesus only”. In Welsh churches it is most often associated with the hymn “O fy Iesu bendigedig”, though sometimes with an alternative tune name: “Craig yr Oesoedd”.
In recent years, however, “Dim ond Iesu” has become popular within Welsh language contemporary worship gatherings for accompanying the original Welsh words “Dyma gariad fel y moroedd” (“Here is love vast as the ocean / loving kindness as the flood”).
The Welldigger blog contains a good deal of material about the 1904 Welsh Revival, including a substantial discussion, including links to videos, about “Here is love vast as the ocean”: The story of the love song of the 1904-5 revival. (Note: this page may take a few moments to open.)
*These notes are reproduced from correspondence with Delyth Davies, with thanks.
Read more about Martin Leckebusch’s approach to writing hymns in Taking a broad approach – the hymns of Martin Leckbusch.