May the Mind of Christ my Saviour


RATHER a short post this week, as this hymn seems to be the only surviving work of both author and composer, and not much is written about either of them, even though they both lived in the last century.

The words were written by Kate Barclay Wilkinson (1859-1928) who was born in Timperley, Cheshire (where I spent the first eight years of my life). She was the daughter of a mechanical engineer, William Beckett Johnson, and she married Frederick Barclay Wilkinson, a cashier, at St John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Altrincham, Cheshire, in 1891.  She worked with young women in west London, and was actively involved in the Keswick Deeper Life Convention movement.

The hymn, written some time before 1912, appears to have come out of the author’s involvement with the Keswick Conventions. It is based on the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5, ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.’ The fifth verse invokes the imagery of Hebrews 12:1-2, ‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’

1 May the mind of Christ, my Saviour,
live in me from day to day,
by his love and pow’r controlling
all I do and say.

2 May the Word of God dwell richly
in my heart from hour to hour,
so that all may see I triumph
only through his pow’r.

3 May the peace of God my Father
rule my life in ev’rything,
that I may be calm to comfort
sick and sorrowing.

4 May the love of Jesus fill me
as the waters fill the sea;
him exalting, self abasing:
this is victory.

5 May I run the race before me,
strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus
as I onward go.

6 May his beauty rest upon me
as I seek the lost to win,
and may they forget the channel,
seeing only him.

It was first published in the 1925 Golden Bells Hymnal with a tune written for it by clergyman Arthur Cyril Barham-Gould (1891-1953). He was born in Hastings, and prepared for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1927 to a curacy at All Souls’ Langham Place (opposite BBC Broadcasting House) followed by ministry at St Mary’s Reigate and Holy Trinity, Brompton, West London. From 1936 until his death he was vicar of St Paul’s, Onslow Square, South Kensington. He also ministered in several overseas chaplaincies during and after World War 2. He composed St Leonards for Wilkinson’s text while living at St Leonards-on-Sea, the close neighbour of Hastings. It is the only melody under his name and I can’t discover how he came to write it.

Here is a sweet performance by six sisters of the talented American Bennett Family

This is by the Canadian Ordinary Time ensemble:  

And this lockdown version from Singapore had been posted for just 29 minutes when I found it on YouTube yesterday:

There is an alternative tune used in several YouTube recordings but I don’t know what it is called. Here it is performed by the Joyful Singers, at Calvary Tengah BP Church, also in Singapore:

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