Hymn #342: Be Known to Us in Breaking Bread

James Montgomery (1771-1854) recalled the revelation of the resurrected Christ to travelers on the road to Emmaus in this hymn text, first published in his Christian Psalmist (1825).  There it was entitled “The Family Table,” suggesting its use for grace before meals.

James Montgomery, the son of Moravian missionary parents, was one of the greatest and most prolific of English hymnwriters.  Although he made his living as a journalist, he published more than four hundred hymns in various volumes during his lifetime.

This anonymous tune is called ST. FLAVIAN here, although it was previously known as REDHEAD NO. 29 or OLD 132ND.  There was a Saint Flavian, the bishop of Constantinople, who died in 499 C.E.  This tune was first set to Psalm 132 in Day’s Psalter of 1562.

Days’ Psalter of 1562 was the first to contain the entire Book of Psalms in English meter.  Although the work was done by Sternhold and Hopkins, the psalter is named for John Day, who printed it.  As a young man, Day moved to London, England, where he learned the printing trade.