(To learn how to play Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus on piano, watch the video at bottom of the page.)
The music used in Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus was written in 1830 by George Webb. The song lyrics were written by George Duffield in 1858 as a tribute to his friend, the Reverend Dudley Tyng. Reverend Tyng was a pastor of the ‘action adventure’ school of Christianity. He constantly exhorted Christians to take action against evil, and not to count the consequences.
He walked the walk. One of his sermons on the evils of slavery in America got him booted out of his then-pastorate. I can admire someone who has the strength of their convictions. His last ever sermon featured Exodus 10:11 “Go now ye that are men and serve the Lord.” That was at Jaynes Hall for the Young Men’s Christian Association, with an audience of five thousand. Over one thousand answered the altar call that day.
This next part is pretty harsh. About a week after that sermon, Reverend Tyng was in his barn where his mule was shelling corn on a ‘horse-power’, a precursor to actual motorized power. His sleeve got caught, the wheel pulled him in, and tore off his arm. He died within the day.
His dying sentence was “Let us all stand up for Jesus.” Wow. That’s an amazing faith, and an unbeatable testimony. Fittingly, his friend George Duffield wrote a tribute featuring those last words. The final portion of the service was a poem written for the service.
The story could have ended there, and we would never have known the stirring hymn “Stand Up For Jesus.” However, the poem was printed out by the Sunday School superintendent, and shared among the attendants. One of these fliers made it into a widely-published Baptist newspaper, and that… (Thanks for this phrase, Paul Harvey) is the rest of the story.
Honestly, I’ve always been more the non-confrontational type. One of the “Let’s all get along” people. There’s room for kindness and strength. We each follow our faith in our own way.
Oddly enough, for one of the world’s most popular hymns, we didn’t sing it very often at church in my youth. But I spent a few years going to Trinity Christian Academy, and that was one of their staple songs for the Thursday mandatory formations. My other main memory of that time was having to wear a tie every Thursday. The feeling of getting strangled once a week brought me decidedly mixed feelings about my time at Trinity. But I still like the song. :^)
I’ve always heard it as a march, and it sounds kind of mournful, or maybe combative. Since that’s not my normal style, I changed the tempo some. Starts off the way they always played it in Trinity, just as a nod to tradition. After that, it becomes more of a country/southern gospel rhythm. Hope you don’t mind, it’s just the way I tend to hear it in my head.