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“Crown Him (Majesty)”
Featuring Chris Tomlin
If you’ve spent any time in church, you have probably sung the hymn “Crown Him”…
Crown Him with many crowns, The Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
This hymn has two authors: one Anglican and one Catholic. It was written during the nineteenth century, a time when Anglicans and Catholics did very little songwriting together and very little together in general.
The original six verses were written by Matthew Bridges, a Catholic, who based the song on Revelation 19:12: “His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.”
Godfrey Thring, an Anglican clergyman, wrote six new verses for fear that a Catholic hymn was becoming too popular among the Anglican church and teaching its congregants bad theology.
Today we sing a mix of all twelve verses, depending on what hymnal you’re looking at. What was done as a means of dividing the church, actually united it, creating a hymn for both Protestants and Catholics. In this way, we are practicing what we sing: Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Ultimately, it is heaven who has the authority over Catholics and Protestants, and over all divided sects of the church. When God’s throne is at the center of our worship, the discrepancies and arguments pale.
Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed o’er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
Jesus came to save. As Luke 19:10 says,“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” And Romans is very clear about who the lost are: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All of us are lost. We are united with our fellow church-goers, and non-goers, in our sin. That gives us freedom to love each other.
When our gaze is fixed on the throne and we are preoccupied with crowing him with many crowns, we find that we are capable of loving those around us—all of the other lost people sitting on our pew, or not at church at all. We are united in our gaze and His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high. Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.