Christ is the world's true light #542

# 542     Christ is the world’s true light

Text:      George Wallace Briggs

Tune:     St. Joan

Composer:  Percy E.B. Coller

George W. Briggs wrote this text as a "missionary hymn" to emphasize one of the concepts of modern missions: “In Christ all races meet.” The text was published in the Advent section of Oxford's Songs of Praise (1931) and in Briggs's Songs of Faith (1945), in which it was entitled "The Light of the World."

The text begins by affirming Christ's own saying, "I am the Light of the world" (John 8: 12). Christ is the light and daystar who brings his people salvation from the darkness of sin. Borrowing one of Paul's memorable teachings in Galatians 3:28 and Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17, the text confesses the essential unity of all humanity and especially the oneness of the family of God. Only when the nations and all peoples submit to Christ's reign will our "groaning" world experience true peace and redemption.

Percy E.B. Coller composed ST. JOAN and submitted it anonymously for publication in The Hymnal 1940, where it was set to Brigg’s text.  Coller must have enjoyed the companionship of a saintly wife because he named this tune in her honor.  The tune requires confident accompaniment and a brisk tempo that thrives on one pulse per bar.