Commune with the Lord: "Bread of the World"
Another favorite song for the Communion time is "Bread of the World" it is also known by a more extended title called "Bread of the world in mercy broken." The longer title also served as the hymn' s first line.
Appearing in the "Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Church Year" in 1827, this hymn is part of the collection published after Heber's death. The hymn has an original subtitle "Before the Sacrament," indicating this hymn was written as an Eucharistic song. The psalm can be sung in acapella or an accompanying instrument.
Reginald Heber (1783–1826) wrote this hymn along with his 83 other hymns. He was a prolific hymn writer who was born in Cheshire, England and died in Tamil Nadu, India. His parents were Thomas Heber and Elizabeth Atherton. His education included Brasenose College in Oxford. After his training, he accepted a fellowship at All Souls College and later became Rector at Hodnet, Shropshire, England. He traveled to India as the Bishop of Calcutta (Kolkata), India in 1827.
Two tunes were attributed to this hymn. The first is the "Eucharistic Hymn" by John S. B. Hodges (1830-1915). This hymn was the original tune and was composed with the lyrics in mind. The second hymn is the "Rendez Á Dieu" by Louis Bourgeois (1543). A revised version of the tune was released in 1551.
Bourgeois' "Rendez Á Dieu" (translated 'Render to God') is one of the composer's 15 tunes/creations. The composer was born and died in Paris, France. He was a casualty of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, religious strife in France. A follower of John Calvin, he followed the former when Calvin went to Geneva in 1541. He was also known to be imprisoned after he was discovered modifying tunes of other composers. He left Geneva in 1557 and spent the rest of his days in Paris.