On Sunday we started a new sermon series entitled Take your Stand. Part one of this series focused on how we can Stand Up - for the right things, at the right time, in the right way. If you missed it, check it out. The one little problem I’ve had as a result of preparing for this sermon, is that I’ve had the old hymn “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus” stuck in my head all week!
If you’ve been around the church for a while I’m sure you will recall this old hymn. To be honest, I could only recall the first line of the first verse! I had no idea there were six verses, but it’s a hymn, so why I am surprised? Since the first line was firmly ingrained in my brain, I decided I would do a little research on this hymn. Here is what I found out:
This is hymn is old. Very old. It dates back to the spring of 1858 when a revival was taking place in Philadelphia. The movement grew out of midday prayer meetings coordinated by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), led by Rev. Dudley A. Tyng, a young Episcopalian minister. He was known and loved for his zeal for the work of God. Among the interdenominational leaders who gathered around him was the Presbyterian minister named George Duffield Jr..
Yup, Presbyterian history!
So here is how the story goes. On Tuesday, April 13th, 1858, Rev. Tyng was studying at his country home when he went to the barn to check on his mule that was driving a machine shelling corn. As he patted down the animal, the sleeve of his gown got caught in the cogs of the machine, and his arm was severely injured. The the arm was soon amputated. The wound became so serious that Tyng died the following week. Before he died, his last words to those gathered were, “Let us all stand up for Jesus.”
His words “stand up for Jesus” became an encouragement to all who had been affected by his ministry. When Tyng’s friend, George Duffield, Jr. (the Presbyterian!) preached to his own congregation the next week, he focused on Ephesians 6:14 (“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…”) and concluded his sermon with a hymn he had written. And guess how it began? “Stand up, stand up for Jesus.” The hymn was soon picked up by Presbyterian and Congregationalist publishers, and it quickly became an established work.
There you go!
Funny thing, I remember the first time I heard this hymn. It was in the church I was attending, and I was a very young Christian. I remember finding it so weird that beside the title of the hymn in the bulletin was an asterisk instructing the congregation to remain seated during the hymn. I couldn’t understand. How can we sit when the hymn clearly tells us to STAND UP? I remained seated with the others, abiding the rules set in the bulletin, when suddenly in the middle of the song, one strong courageous women stood up - we all followed! Stand up, Stand up for Jesus.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.