This new commandment: Love one another.
By this shall men know Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love One to another.”
This hymn quotes very closely John 13:34-35, a beautiful scripture which clearly shows Christ’s love for us. There are other scriptures which tell us similar words and teach us the importance of this commandment. In Mark, we learn that, not only is this a commandment, but it is the second most important commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12: 30-31).
As N. Eldon Tanner told us, “We cannot love God without loving our neighbor, and we cannot truly love our neighbor without loving God. This applies to you and to me, and if each of us applies it to himself, we need not worry about the other” (N. Eldon Tanner https://www.lds.org/ensign/1972/10/love-one-another?lang=eng).
Easier said than done! Loving in this complete and unselfconscious way seems to come much more naturally to children than to us adults. We remember our little grudges and grievances too well, and are often too concerned with ourselves to show our love to others. I was talking to a friend yesterday who does substitute teaching in elementary schools in our city. She remarked on how much she enjoys being in kindergarten. “The children come up to me and tell me they love me,” she said. This must be one of those areas in which we should be more like small children!
History of LOVE ONE ANOTHER
Luacine Clark Fox is the daughter of J. Reuben Clark, who was a counsellor to President David O. McKay. She tells the story of how this hymn came to be in “We Shall Make Music” by Patricia Kelsey Graham:
“It is always my habit to pray before doing any writing or composing. This I did while in the process of working on “Psalm of Easter,” from which “Love One Another” is taken. In searching the scriptures, I came to the words of the Saviour at the Last Supper wherein he gave his new commandment to love one another. I knew that I had found the theme I wanted. As I jotted down the words in my notebook, taken from John 13:34-35, the melody to accompany them came into my mind, and I wrote it down as well. The final result of words and music was exactly the same as had come to me initially, with no variation whatsoever. It is my witness that whatever is of worth in the song came from the Lord” (We Shall Make Music, p. 124).
Congregation Choir Arrangements of LOVE ONE ANOTHER
Listen to our arrangement with a violin playing the instrumental countermelody. PURCHASE it here:
LISTEN to our arrangement with our vocal countermelody. PURCHASE it here:
Suggestions for Use
Our Congregation Choir arrangements add a beautiful alternate accompaniment to the original SATB found in the hymnbook. This alternate, enhanced accompaniment could be used with the SATB for a piano/organ duet accompaniment for the entire congregation or a large choir. It could also be used alone as a more embellished accompaniment for a solo singer or group, or just to enjoy as a piano solo.
This short hymn could be extended nicely with our very pretty countermelody. It might be performed as follows:
Verse 1: original melody with organ accompaniment
Verse 2: Countermelody sung by soloist (voice or instrument) with enhanced piano accompaniment.
Verse 3: Melody, countermelody, piano and organ all together.
Sister Fox had many requests through the years for a second verse to this popular song. She eventually complied with this verse:
“Thus spake the Saviour unto His disciples.
Thus speaks the Saviour unto us all.
May we endeavor, now and forever, This sacred counsel – to recall” (We Shall Make Music, p.124).
This beautiful hymn that recounts Christ’s teachings on love is very appropriate any time of the year, but especially near Valentine’s Day, and also during the Easter season, since that is when He taught these words.
Happy Valentine’s Day!