Home Worship Planning History of Hymns History of Hymns: 'Creator of the Intertwined'

History of Hymns: 'Creator of the Intertwined'

By Erin Herndon & Chris Reed, Guest Contributors

Jacque Jones
Jacque B. Jones

“Creator of the Intertwined”
by Jacque B. Jones
Community of Christ Sings, 344
Worship (4th Ed.), 821

Creator of the intertwined,
you made us all unique:
each one with ears to hear faith’s call,
each one with voice to speak.
Each worships where the call is heard
in forest, temple, dome,
on mountain top, in upper room—
each one must find a home.
© 2004 GIA Publications, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

We constantly interact with those who follow other faiths. How do we respond to the confusion or chaos this may create? We sing to God about it, of course! Congregational layperson Jacque B. Jones (b. 1950) offers a lyrical response to the church’s engagement with interfaith and ecumenical dialogue in her hymn, “Creator of the Intertwined.”

The hymn—Jones’ first—was written in 2004 for the 2005 Macalester Plymouth United Church Hymn Search, focusing on “celebrating religious diversity and encouraging interfaith communications.” Jones, who now lives, works, and worships in Brooklyn Heights, a New York City neighborhood directly across the East River from the Twin Towers site, said the song was a direct response to her experiences in the wake of 9/11.

Her husband survived working on the 74th floor of the South Tower that day; blocks away from their home, downwind from the recovery zone, merchants largely from the Middle East felt the dust and debris from the collapsing towers swirl about them. According to Jones, “the events of those days were a personal lesson in the interdependence of people and the importance of the varied communities in which we live.” (Jones, 2023, email to authors)

The first stanza (cited above) introduces various world religions through the places they meet rather than by naming them: forest, temple, dome, / on mountain top, in upper room.” Christians, for example, might identify most closely with the “mountain top,” possibly a reference to the Transfiguration (Matt 17:1–13), and “upper room,” a reference to Christ’s last supper with his disciples before his crucifixion described in the three synoptic gospels.

During the months-long recovery activities following 9/11, responders and others used St. Paul’s Chapel (Episcopal) in lower Manhattan to eat, sleep, and organize their work during the grueling days following the attack. While Jones was working on ideas for the song, she passed through the neighborhood and stopped by St. Paul’s, where she found a collection of prayers for peace from many faith traditions. “It was this pamphlet—with its many varied voices all offering prayers for peace—that gave me a toehold into the hymn text. It made me see that this was a hymn that needed to speak to the creator of us all.” (Jones, 2023, email to authors) This inspiration finds its voice in the second stanza:

The song of peace is sung by all;
strength grows from unity.
In harmony we celebrate Your gift: diversity.
Can we not sing each other’s songs,
speak unfamiliar prayer?
Rejoicing in the riches found
in differences we share?
© 2004 GIA Publications, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Referencing scripture in a hymn about interfaith dialogue is a complex proposition; thus, no specific references from the sacred texts of any religion appear directly in the hymn. However, the song reminds us indirectly of the Prophet Isaiah’s foreseeing all people of all nations worshiping God (Isa 52:10), echoing Genesis 11:8. The third stanza also suggests Jesus’s Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25–37). Jones’s theatre background appears in a direct allusion to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” (Shylock, Act 3, Scene 1)

Jones echoes and amplifies this thought on the universality of our common capacity for pain and shared responsibility to bring relief to others, regardless of a person’s background or beliefs:

In evil’s wake we all are hurt;
when pricked, all humans bleed.
With common wounds and shared despair,
we seek the balm we need.
We do not ask before we reach
to offer our embrace,
we do not ask, “How do you pray?”
We reach with arms of grace.
© 2004 GIA Publications, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

This hymn text, exploring the contemporary promises and challenges of interfaith dialogue, is set to the familiar tune KINGSFOLD, first published in English Country Songs, ed. Lucy E. Broadwood and J.A. Fuller-Maitland (London, 1893). Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) named the tune for Kingsfold in Warnham, Sussex, the hamlet where he heard the tune, and arranged this melody for The English Hymnal (1906), for which he served as music editor. The tune KINGSFOLD serves as a “heart song” for Jones since she discovered it some twenty years earlier (Jones, 2023, email to authors).

The hymn first appeared in Hymns for a Pilgrim People (2007). It was later published in Worship! (4th ed., 2011) with a slight alteration in the third stanza suggested by the publisher, and in Community of Christ Sings (2013). It was also included in the author’s collection, Songs Unchanged, Yet Ever Changing: 50 Hymns (Chicago, 2014).

Jones was born in Texas City, Texas, and remained in Texas for her formal education, attending Baylor University (1968–1970) and the University of Texas at Austin with a focus in theatre and choreography (1970–1973, BFA). After a career as a technical writer for large accounting firms and governments, she now works in the development office of a private liberal arts college in New York City.

While this hymn was Jones’s first, she has penned eleven congregational songs with different social justice and inclusion-related themes. As a result of her work, she was elected treasurer, then president of The Hymn Society from 2014 to 2016. In 2022, she was honored as a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

With the passage of almost two decades since writing the text, the author’s urging us to recognize our interdependence across faith traditions through congregational song remains no less important. When confronted with the seemingly never-ending parade of wars, disease, and natural disasters, Jones’s final stanza reminds us that we are not alone in both our desire to reach out for comfort to our shared Creator and reach out with comfort to our neighbor:

Teach us to cherish what is strange
and so the richer be,
to listen with our hearts, and speak
with loving honesty.
From different sources comfort comes,
each seeks for the divine:
your voice speaks many languages,
just one of them is mine.
© 2004 GIA Publications, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


“Creator of the Intertwined,” The Beyond the Walls Choir (Community of Christ) (premiered November 21, 2020), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp3KHxzAwCU (accessed May 19, 2023).

Dirk Damonte, “Jacque Browning Jones,” The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press, http://www.hymnology.co.uk/j/jacque-browning-jones (accessed May 19, 2023).

“Jacque Browning Jones Honored as Fellow by The Hymn Society “ Press release from The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (2022), https://thehymnsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Jones-Press-Release.pdf (accessed May 4, 2023).

“Jacque B. Jones,” GIA Publications, Inc. (n.d.), https://www.giamusic.com/store/artists/jacque-jones (accessed May 19, 2023).

Jacque B. Jones, email correspondences with the authors, April 14–17, 2023.

Carlton R. Young, Companion to the United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), pp. 169, 294, 527–28, 667.

Erin Herndon is the accompanist at First United Methodist Church in Terrell, Texas. She holds a BA in Music (voice and harpsichord) from the College of William and Mary. She is currently pursuing a master’s in sacred music from Southern Methodist University, concentrating in keyboards, and is a hymnology student of Dr. Marcell Steuernagel.

Chris Reed is a healthcare compliance lawyer and commercial litigator who practices in Dallas, Texas, while attending SMU Perkins School of Theology to complete his M. Div. degree. He attends the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Dallas and is an oblate with the Benedictine Order of the Holy Cross Monastery in Woodville, Texas. He studied hymnology with Dr. Marcell Steuernagel.

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