Anthem of Affirmation: Loved then, now, and tomorrows to come
Englishman religious poet and hymn-writer Horatius Bonar penned “Beloved, let us love” in 1880. He became a minister of the Free Church of Scotland and his pursuits included study, philanthropy, and business, and he was consistently devout. He worked tirelessly for the church in the North Parish, in Kelso which was a poetic and historic place from which Bonar had a rich patch of nature to draw inspiration for his preachings, books, and hymns. He was a well-known writer from the publication of his prose works in “Kelso Tracts”. Three series of his “Hymns of Faith and Hope” have been re-issued several times.
His authored works have been described to be simply too numerous. Bonar is considered the most popular hymn-writer of Scotland, plus he ranks as among the prime hymn-writers of the entire UK and the US. The hymn “Beloved, let us love” is found in Supplement of the Baptist Psalms and Hymns. Like many of his works, this hymn expresses child-like trust in God above, echoing sympathy and hopefulness without the frills of over-sentimentality.
The composer of the tune of “Beloved, Let Us Love” was England’s leading composer during the Tudor and Jacobean periods, Orlando Gibbons. Gibbons began his musical life very early as a member of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Then he occupied prestigious posts as keyboard player and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died of apoplexy at age 41, and his monument was built in Canterbury Cathedral. Gibbons had an unparalleled mastery of counterpoint and creating beautiful melodies. Apart from Sunday church service, “Beloved, Let Us Love” is always married to wedding ceremonies owing to the celebratory textures, accompaniment contrasting to its harmonies, and it is bound to be a hymn for the next generation of church population to come.