Singing through the Year: Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

“Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” is based on a Latin text (likely from the 600s) that was translated by John Mason Neale in the mid-1800s. Neale wrote and translated many hymns, including the popular hymn for Palm Sunday, All Glory, Laud, and Honor.

The text draws on 1 Peter 2:2-10:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”


“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.

We’ll be singing “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” to the tune WESTMINSTER ABBEY by the English composer Henry Purcell. Here’s a piano version of the hymn (great for learning the tune and singing along) and a beautiful choral version.

Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ, the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord and precious,
binding all the Church in one;
holy Zion’s help forever,
and our confidence alone.

To this temple, where we call you,
come, O Lord of hosts, and stay;
come, with all your loving-kindness;
hear your people as we pray,
and your fullest benediction
shed within these walls today.

Here bestow on all your servants
what they seek from you to gain.
What they gain from you, forever
with the blessed to retain;
and hereafter in your glory
evermore with you to reign.

Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever three and ever one:
one in might and one in glory
while unending ages run!

Singing through the Year is a weekly series of hymns related to upcoming Sundays’ lectionary readings. It features hymns that will be sung at the church where I am organist.