Home History of Hymns: "Bring Forth the Kingdom"

History of Hymns: "Bring Forth the Kingdom"

"Bring Forth the Kingdom"
Marty Haugen
The Faith We Sing, No. 2190

Marty Haugen

You are the salt of the earth, O people:
Salt for the Kingdom of God!
Share the flavor of life, O people:
Life in the Kingdom of God!
Bring forth the Kingdom of mercy,
bring forth the Kingdom of peace;
bring forth the Kingdom of justice;
bring forth the City of God!

Marty Haugen (b. 1950) is perhaps the most prolific and influential composer of liturgical music of his generation. His hymns, psalm settings and paraphrases, services set to music and anthems are widely used in both Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations around the world.

Born in Eagan, Minn., Mr. Haugen now has over 400 compositions in print. Though denominationally affiliated with the United Church of Christ, his music is widely used by Lutherans and Catholics, where he makes regular appearances in congregations and conferences.

In addition to his compositions, he maintains a busy travel schedule, offering conferences throughout North America, Europe, the Pacific Rim, Asia and Central America for church musicians interested in worship renewal, especially in light of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Known as one of the “Minnesota School” composers (along with David Haas and Michael Joncas) that offered music for the post-Vatican II Church, his song “Bring Forth the Kingdom” reflects the folk style of church music that began in the 1960s. According to the Web site for GIA Music, a publisher of Mr. Haugen’s compositions, Mr. Haugen, David Haas and Michael Joncas produced “some of the most popular and effective music for the Church’s worship that has appeared in the days following the Second Vatican Council.”

Though Mr. Haugen received a degree in psychology from Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), he pursued a career in music. Among his best-known compositions are settings of worship services, Mass of Creation and Holden Evening Prayer. Among his most widely sung hymns are “Shepherd me, O God” (The Faith We Sing 2058), “Healer of our every ill” (FWS 2213), and “Gather us in” (FWS 2236).

“Bring forth the kingdom” (1986) appears often in recent Catholic and Protestant hymnals and is one of the composer’s best-known songs. The folk style and solo-response structure of the hymn is reminiscent of the sound of Peter, Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio. The rousing refrain solidifies the theme, “Bring forth the kingdom of mercy, . . . justice, . . . peace, . . . the City of God.”

The biblical basis of the hymn is Mathew 5:13-16, immediately following the Beatitudes. The first two stanzas draw directly upon the metaphors of “salt of the earth” and “light on the hill” (“Light of the world” in the original). Stanza three amplifies the theme with “You are the seed of the Word” who sows “Seeds of mercy and . . . justice.” Stanza four includes the theme of a “pilgrim people” on a “journey” towards our “homeland”—“the Kingdom of God.”

*© 1986 GIA Publication, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Dr. Hawn is professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology.