By Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
IN CHRIST ALONE my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied \”“
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine \”“
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!
This is yet another modern hymn by Stuart Townend. I would put this song right up there against any hymn, I mean any hymn written. It is a modern hymn extraordinaire. I hope meditating on this song will be a blessing to you. It has the aura of a hymn written three or four hundred years ago, yet it is popular over a wide spectrum of churches today. It’s rich lyrics and fitting melody make it perfect for corporate worship, and when sung in a full congregation, it has almost the same effect as Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. It is theologically sound focusing on the sure hope we have despite our struggles to fight the good fight of faith. This song could even enrich the worship of church’s who emphasize strictly traditional hymns.
Getty grew up in a home where they sang contemporary Christian songs and also traditional church music. During high school he was influenced by teachers and musicians who loved historic church music. This continued at university, when he lived beside Durham Cathedral, and experienced the music there-the genius and artistry of timeless melodies married to the texts of some of the most fabulous poetry ever written. Around that same time, Getty struggled to understand and fully embrace his faith amid an unbelieving, universalist, and multi-religious culture. It was a journey to believe in the uniqueness of Christ, the Scriptures and the gospel story. By the time Getty came through this, his faith was stronger, and Getty really wanted to write songs for the Church that brought the full, rich, life-giving story of the gospel into believers’ hearts and minds.
Getty then had the privilege of connecting with songwriter Stuart Townend, who had penned the hymn “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.” When they first met, there wasn’t an immediate personal connection. But they said, ”Let’s write one song.” They knew both wanted the song to be story-driven, so Getty said, “Let’s do a song that tells the whole story of Christ coming to earth-the whole gospel story in one song. Let’s have as many verses as we want, and let’s just go for it.”
Getty’s melodies tend to be heavily influenced by Irish music, and the Irish melodic style is essentially congregational. Although Irish music isn’t particularly spectacular compared to say, African rhythm or to the unusual tones of Chinese music, or even the sophistication of much contemporary music, it has tremendous strength in its ability to be experienced and sung by large groups of people-whether in our homes, schools, or even at a sports match. It can be sung with or without instrumental accompaniment. The underlying sense of lilting pathos in Celtic melodies (which can also be heard in our speaking voices and is tied closely to our history) also helps the songs tell a story with all its raw emotion and passion. All Irish music centers on stories, whether of love or war or of people and places.
About the Hymn: “In Christ Alone” is a popular, modern Christian song written by Keith Getty (Northern Ireland) and Stuart Townend (England), both songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music. This song originally was called “My Hope Rests Firm in Christ Alone,” but Getty and Townsend later changed it to “In Christ Alone My Hope Is Found.”The song has a strong Irish melody, and was copyrighted by Getty and Townend ©2001 Kingsway Music and Thankyou Music. In Christ Alone is the first the two songwriters penned down in their partnership of song writing. The music was by Getty and the original lyrics by Townend.
“In Christ Alone” is considered a Christian credal song (another word for lullaby) for belief in Jesus Christ. The theme of the song is the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and that he is God who even death cannot hold:
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
The song is commonly known as “In Christ Alone (My Hope Is Found)” and “In Christ Alone (I Stand)” taking verses from the song and has become very popular and has been subject of many cover versions and many language translations.
The Getty/Townend song should not be confused with the similarly titled song “In Christ Alone” co-written by Don Koch and Shawn Craig and performed by Michael English and covered by Brian Littrell in his album Welcome Home and others.
The song was composed in 2001 and gained increased popularity first in Ireland and the UK and then in the United States and internationally. By 2005, it had been named by a BBC Songs of Praise survey as the 9th best loved hymn of all time in the UK. By 2006, it rose to the number one position on the United Kingdom CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) charts, and as of January 2009, it was still number one in the UK (also No. 2 in [[Australia] and No. 7 in Canada).
In 2008, the “In Christ Alone” appeared on CCLI’s “Top 25 CCLI Songs” list. The newest CCLI chart, released for the February 2011 biannual copy activity report, showed the song had moved up to number 11.
Philosophy of Getty/Townend Modern Hymns
Stuart Townend contends that current worship practices have often allowed the pendulum of expression to swing towards subjective experience and personal feeling about God. The Getty/Townend hymns attempt to redress that imbalance.
Getty/Townend hymns also develop a particular poetic and musical style that unites people of diverse traditions and generations, choosing influences of folk and classical music as well as of contemporary songwriting and standard hymnody.
“There are two reasons we write modern hymns,” explains Keith. “First, it’s to help teach the faith. What we sing affects how we think, how we feel and ultimately how we live, so it’s so important that we sing the whole scope of truth the Bible has given us. The second reason is to try to create a more timeless musical style that every generation can sing, a style that relates to the past and the future.
“In the Church, the purpose of singing is to express the community we have as the Body of Christ,” his wife, Kristyn, adds. “To try to search for the melodic ideas and song structure that might bring more people in—that’s what we’re trying to investigate. Is there a way to bring everyone together musically?”