# 541 Come, labor on
Words: Jane L. Bostwick
Music: Ora Labora by Thomas Noble
Jane L. Borthwick (b. Edinburgh, Scotland, 1813; d. Edinburgh, 1897) wrote this text and published it in her Thoughts for Thoughtful Hours (1859) in seven, six-line stanzas. Borthwick revised the text into its present five-line form and published that version in her Thoughts for Thoughtful Hours of 1863. The Psalter Hymnal includes stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 6 from her revised version. Inspired by the gospel parables that liken the coming of God's kingdom to the sowing of seed and harvesting of grain (see Matt. 9:37-38; Matt. 13; John 4:35-38), the text calls us to work for God's cause even in the face of Satan's opposition. Because our earthly time is limited, we must use our resources wisely and be diligent in our kingdom tasks until we hear the final “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). Borthwick was a member of the Presbyterian Free Church of Scotland and had a strong interest in the church's mission work. She also supported Moravian missions in Labrador, Canada, and was involved in social service work in Edinburgh. Both Jane and her younger sister Sarah Findlater Borthwick (PHH 333) are well-known translators of German chorales.
Thomas Tertius Nobel (1867-1953) was born in Bath, England, educated at the Royal College of Music, and was a noted composer and organist. He served as a church organist in Cambridge and Colchester. He moved to Ely Cathedral in 1892 as organist and choirmaster, and in 1898 to York Minster, where he founded the York Symphony Orchestra, directed the York Musical Society, conducted the York Pageant, and revived the York Music Festival after a lapse of 75 years. He became an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1905. In 1913, he moved to New York City, where he was organist at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, and established its choir school and a boys’ choir. In addition to composing, he wrote about music education, and helped edit the 1916 Protestant Episcopal hymnal, and served on the music committee that prepared its 1940 successor. He wrote a wide range of music, but only his services, anthems and hymn tunes are still performed regularly. Died: May 4, 1953, Rockport, Massachusetts
Enjoy this magnificent organ and strong congregational signing: Gerre Hancock (1934-2012), Organist & Master of Choirsters at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue plays "Come, Labor On", a hymn so closely associated with St. Thomas, and improvises the voluntary on his last Sunday at St. Thomas Church, the Feast of Corpus Christi 2004. YOUTUBE