Onward, Ye Saints of God

open hymnal in the sunshine

This Song for Sunday was once a school song for a small Bible college.


Onward, onward, ye saints of God;
Remember that you battle for the Lord of lords.
Onward, onward, ye saints of God;
Be strong, ye saints, for great in Christ is your reward.
Our firm foundation is Jesus the Lord.
No need to falter, but trust God’s living Word,
For ev’ry Word of God is pure and true;
He shows us how to live and what to do.

Forward, forward, ye men of God;
If ye retreat, ye perish, so then take your stand.
Forward, forward, ye men of God;
Fear not, for God’s great Joshua is in command.
He stands secure; He defeats ev’ry foe,
And He defends us, His mighty works to show.
Who can withstand the One Who conquered death?
All hell shall tremble at His mighty breath.

Upward, upward, ye servants of God;
Your Captain leads you on; He is God’s only Son.
Upward, upward, ye servants of God;
Take courage, for in Him the vict’ry has been won.
Christ is our Rock, and that cannot fail.
He never changes; o’er sin He must prevail.
Soon He will call us home to be His bride;
But until then, dear saint, in Him abide.

Onward, forward, upward, ye saints of God.

January 21, 2005 
Copyright © 2017 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved

I can still remember the night this song came to be. Our church was forming its own Bible college, and the president commissioned me to write the school song. He wanted it to be long, for it would be used as the graduation march. He also wanted it to encapsulate the doctrines for which the church and college stood.

As I sat at the dinner for the opening of the college and listened to our pastor give the address, excitedly I jotted his outline down on my napkin. Onward, Forward, Upward. Yes! This would be the theme of our school song. That night at home, the words poured out, along with the melody, and I wrote them all down on staff paper. The next day I tidied it up in my music writing software, then worked on the harmonies over the course of the following weeks, and even took it with me to a seminar and sought the help of a professional (Ron Hamilton).

Sadly, the college folded after only two years, and the song went into a drawer, where it was all but forgotten. Recently I stumbled across it, and with the start of a new school year, thought it would be an appropriate time to share it. You may appreciate it for its poetic value, or perhaps someone out there may have a use for the score. I do not have an audio recording, but I still have the printed music.

Photo taken in Milton, FL, 2018

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