Written in 1972, the song was first published by the ‘Word of God’ Charismatic Community, University of Michigan.
It can be said to be based on Exodus 18:12 “Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God" - but clearly has other scriptural links, including the Last Supper.
It was initially popular in both the UK and US, and has also been translated into:
- Dutch (Wees Welkom Al Gij Heiligen Van Ouds)
- Swedish (Gud är en av oss vid detta bord).
Sometimes it is called "O Welcome All Ye Noble Saints Of Old" or "Welcome All You Noble Saints".
As awareness of gender-exclusive language grew, it became clear that the original text could not easily be adjusted. Stearman and Rev Stamps collaborated and reworked the title and hook-line as "In Christ There is a Table Set for All".
The original text was copyright by Dawn Treader Music of Pasadena Texas in © 1977, and is now administered in the UK/Eire by Song Solutions and in the US by Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing.
The song is popular for Lord’s Supper re-enactments, as well as services with a social inclusion / justice theme. It has been recorded by many artists, including:
- Craig Smith
- Michelle Swift on the “Beloved Deciple" CD” arranged by Travis Cottrell (link below)
- Cynthia Clawson
Sheet music for it is currently published as “In Christ there Is a Table Set for All” in:
- The 2008 edition of Catholic Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew - UK)
- The first, but not second or third - edition of the Gather Comprehensive hymnal (GIA Publications - USA)
LyricsThe full lyrics are subject to copyright, and cannot be reproduced here. Each verse has three lines, followed by a chorus which is the title repeated twice. An outline of the lyrics is:
O, welcome all ye noble saints ....
Elders, martyrs, all are falling down...
Who is this who spreads the victory feast?...
Beggars, lame, and harlots ..
Worship in the presence ....
When at last this earth shall pass away...
A specifically Eucharistic verse was added by Stamps in 1980, and may not be subject to the original copyright:
‘Here he gives himself to us as bread;
Here as wine, we drink the blood he shed.
Born to die, we eat and live instead,
God and man at table are sat down.’