1 Before the roads or railways came
or buildings rose so high,
great Michael won his princely fame
and angels rode the sky;
as once above the fields they told
of glory, and a King,
so may their music heard of old
tune all our tongues to sing.

2 And long before south London fields
or fruitful orchards grew,
a cross, a garden, once revealed
what angels hardly knew:
so here as homes and gardens spread
a living church was born,
whose lofty roof and bricks of red
saw nineteen-hundred dawn.

3 In reach of river, city, trees,
of common land and heath,
it spans the turning centuries
and speaks of life and death:
and as our schools and shops arrived,
with parks and leisure space,
so lives are changed and souls revived
salvation by God's grace!

4 As men and women teach or write
or travel, rule, or build,
for rich and poor, for black and white,
God's promise is fulfilled:
as we survey these hundred years
or mark two thousand gone,
we find a path through joys and tears
and, one in Christ, move on.

5 Not every tongue has called him Lord
nor every knee bowed down;
let young and old, in deed and word,
know him and make him known:
our strong Foundation, sinners' Friend,
whom angel hosts obey,
Redeemer, Jesus, come! Extend
your kingdom here today!

Christopher Idle
© Christopher Idle/Jubilate Hymns Ltd
CMD