This immensely useful hymn arose out of the author’s involvement in the life of the Blackburn Diocese where he has served all his ministerial life. The Bishop of the Diocese made a call to mission to arouse the parishes to their responsibility in this field. The call centred on four meetings in every area in which were expounded the key elements of the Apostolic preaching, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The hymn was written for these meetings with the four points being taken up in turn in the four inner verses. It was immediately seized upon for wider use and has become something of a standard hymn in our books.
The composer was a highly enthusiastic proponent of the works of the great classical German composers. He claimed that this tune was to be found in Beethoven somewhere, though where is a mystery, and despite many theories it has not been found. It is probably best thought of as being by Gardiner himself.
from notes by Alan Luff © 2004