Beautiful Lord

Beautiful Lord

December 1990 | For Michael Ward
Photo: Brașov, Romania

What is it?

Beautiful Lord is a worship song for church use. It has a timeless beauty and tranquility about it that is difficult to describe. 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.


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,
Holy Lord.

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,
Holy Lord.

Jesus, we're thrilled to be with you,
Filled with elation
In contemplation.
Jesus, we're thrilled to be with you:
Lord, we cling to you
As we sing to you,
Opening to you,
Holy Lord.

Lord, let your love shine in our eyes,
Sharing a blessing,
Never distressing.
Lord, let your love shine in our eyes:
As we share your peace,
Lord, our lives release;
Make all striving cease,
Holy Lord.


A particularly lovely recording featuring Sarah Hardy (in F major, which better suited her voice).


Viña del Mar, Chile

The Anglican church on Avenue Von Schroeders,
Viña del Mar, Chile

Beautiful Lord is one of four worship songs that I wrote in the early 1990s. I wrote it originally for the vicar of a local Anglican church, to help people focus on God rather than themselves. The verses speak 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.

The song has been used in some fairly exotic locations, thanks to my work as an international consultant, the most remote being a small Anglican church in Viña del Mar (just northeast of Valparaíso) in Chile. I have used it also in various churches in Romania and Moldova. (I did translate it into Romanian in 2002, but I have not published that version.)

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.

St Mary's Church, Steeple Ashton

Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Steeple Ashton,
and Sarah, who is singing in the video above.

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