Words: , De­cem­ber 26, 2004.

Music: Bread of Life, , 1877.

I was re­mind­ed of a val­u­a­ble less­on dur­ing the birth of this hymn. While driv­ing home to be with my fam­i­ly for Christ­mas, I heard a ra­di­o preach­er tell a sto­ry from a by­gone era, be­fore re­frig­er­a­tors, when horse drawn wa­gons de­livered ice from ice hous­es. The sto­ry told of an ice house own­er who lost his val­u­a­ble watch, a fam­i­ly heir­loom, and was fran­tic to find it. He had his em­ploy­ees rake through the ice house saw­dust for an hour with­out suc­cess. Then one of the work­ers said, “If ev­er­y­one will leave the build­ing, I think I can find your watch.” The own­er looked at him in­cred­u­lous­ly, but since his own ef­forts had failed, he or­dered ev­er­y­one else out. Ten minu­tes later, the em­ploy­ee emerged from the build­ing with the watch in hand. “How did you find that watch?” the amazed own­er ex­claimed. “Well, af­ter ev­er­y­bo­dy left, it got real qui­et, so I just lay down and list­ened, and the watch found me!” I thought of Psalm 46:10, but no­thing fur­ther came of the idea. At Christ­mas Eve ser­vice that night, our pas­tor, Lee Johnson, said in his ser­mon that Christ­mas is one of those times when God tells us to slow down, re­lax, and take time to breathe. I thought how nice­ly the thought tied in with the the ice house sto­ry. (God was nudg­ing me, but I hadn’t got­ten the mes­sage yet.)

Some time lat­er, our fam­i­ly was watch­ing the 1944 mo­vie “Meet Me in St. Louis,” which has a scene with an ice wa­gon. My mem­o­ry was pricked once again. I fin­al­ly got the idea God was try­ing to tell me some­thing, but with all the hus­tle and bus­tle of the Christ­mas sea­son, it was tough to hear the mes­sage clear­ly. Af­ter a while, though, when I got away by my­self, the words of this hymn came to me. Like 1 Kings 19:12, I thought: “…a still, small voice.” If things are too loud, you may miss it.

This hymn is ded­i­cat­ed to the Un­it­ed Meth­od­ist Church of the Ser­vant in Over­land Park, Kan­sas, as they pro­gress to­ward build­ing their new church home.

Dick Adams, 2004

The first known pub­lic per­for­mance of this hymn was January 2, 2005, at the Un­it­ed Meth­od­ist Church of the Ser­vant, Over­land Park, Kan­sas, when it was sung by choir di­rect­or and so­lo­ist Ta­ra Le­bar.

Builder of ages, Planner divine,
Drawing the length and breadth of space and time;
Yet also Monarch with kingdom to build,
And golden capital still yet unfilled.

Surveyor, Architect, Craftsman sublime,
He drew the blueprint ere the start of time,
Building with living stones fair temples bright,
Fixing our hearts into His halls of light.

First came the Cornerstone, Jesus, our Lord;
We hear this mighty Rock call from the Word:
“Build up My Church,” says He, “it cannot fail;
As long as you believe, you will prevail.”

“As you are gathered here, so here am I,
Lift up your hearts and song unto the sky;
Call in My citizens, do not delay;
Bring in My kingdom of the perfect day.”

So, in this year to come, we vow to build
Two things for Christ our King, with spirit filled:
First, we will make a house, fit for a King;
And build within ourselves hearts fit to sing.