Hymn #584: I Am the Light of the World

Jim Strathdee (b. 1941) based this text on a Christmas poem by Howard Thurman.  He used it during Epiphany at Temple United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.  It was taken to Central America by a Methodist bishop who was visiting in Los Angeles and is widely sung in Nicaragua and Honduras.

Jim Strathdee was born in Sacramento, California, on May 9, 1941.  His father was a United Methodist minister.  By age fourteen, Strathdee was directing the choir at his home church.  He received his musical training at California State University at Northridge and at the University of Redlands, California.

Jim Strathdee wrote this song to meet the needs of an inner-city congregation in California.  He named it LIGHT OF THE WORLD from the words of the refrain.  The hymn was translated into Spanish and became popular in Panama and throughout Latin America.

Jim Strathdee and his wife, Jean, have traveled for more than twenty years, conducting workshops and leading conferences on church music.Strathdee continues to compose music for the wider church.  In 1990, he became music director at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Sacramento, California.