Beautiful Lord is a worship song that is easy to sing and yet has a timeless beauty and tranquility about it. One of my friends has described as a true worship song in the sense that it’s not about ‘I’ but rather about ‘him’, which very much sums up my approach to worship music. It can be sung as a unison melody with a straightforward piano accompaniment; or if you prefer there is a particularly lovely arrangement (with a backing track that you can download below) for three voices (SAT) and a group consisting of flute, 4-string electric bass guitar, double-action harp, string quintet (Vl1, Vl2, Vla, Vlc, Db) and 6-string acoustic guitar.
I revised it in 2014 to make it more easily playable on a double-action harp.
Beautiful Lord, we welcome you!
Come, stand beside us;
Teach us and guide us.
Beautiful Lord, we welcome you!
Let us see your face
Smiling in this place:
Flood it with your grace,
Into the stillness speak your Word:
Help us to face it,
Love and embrace it.
Into the stillness speak your Word,
For we are your choice.
May we hear your voice
And our hearts rejoice,
Jesus, we're thrilled to be with you,
Filled with elation
Jesus, we're thrilled to be with you:
Lord, we cling to you
As we sing to you,
Opening to you,
Lord, let your love shine in our eyes,
Sharing a blessing,
Lord, let your love shine in our eyes:
As we share your peace,
Lord, our lives release;
Make all striving cease,
sung by Sarah Hardy at Steeple Ashton in 1994.
played as an instrumental.
of the 2014 revision for you to download and use in your church
(CCLI licensing terms apply)
We humans seem to have a gift for arguing about things that are actually of negligible importance in the grand scheme of things: and when I see such an argument taking place between people whom I love, I do what I can do calm things down. That’s why I wrote Beautiful Lord for Michael Ward.
At the end of 1990 Michael was the Vicar of Saint James' Church, Southbroom, Devizes. He was going through a rough time trying to reconcile differences of opinion within his church. So I wrote some verses that spoke about how gathering together in worship is about meeting Jesus. It’s about putting aside everything about ourselves and concentrating on him and his word. It’s about love for one another regardless of whatever differences may exist in the opinions that we hold. Ultimately it's about experiencing the peace of God, which is why Beautiful Lord has such an all-pervading sense of utter tranquility.
It was this wonderfully peaceful quality in the music that led to it being put to a use that I had never envisaged. In 1994 two friends of mine (Ken and Christine Hardy, of Melksham) wanted to produce a relaxation recording with a specifically Christian emphasis. While discussing possible music to provide a backing to this, we hit on the idea of using Beautiful Lord. We recorded it in Steeple Ashton, with their daughter Sarah as the vocalist. At that time Sarah's voice had a beautifully youthful quality to it (she was still at school, if I remember correctly) and yet the occasional hints of a more mature-sounding vibrato make this one of my favourite vocal recordings of any of my works.
The painting that I chose as the cover for the published music is one of the most hypnotically beautiful I've ever seen. Painted by Christian artist Lorraine Cox, it depicts Moses on the mountain, listening to God. It may take a while to load, but it's worth looking at.