The Tabernacle Choir Blog

“May We Be More Like Thee”: A Hymn by Lloyd Newell and Mack Wilberg

During the October 6 Music & the Spoken Word program, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square debuted a special new musical number written by announcer Lloyd Newell and music director Mack Wilberg. The idea for “May We Be More Like Thee” came to Newell more than a dozen years ago. “It was on a Sunday, after a broadcast, when the words ‘May We Be More Like Thee’ came to my mind and heart. Later that night, I began writing the lyrics. The ideas for the words and verses began to flow. Within a week or so, the hymn text was formed.” recalled Newell.

He knew he wanted his friend and colleague Wilberg to compose the music but having such a busy man find the time was a different story. Wilberg himself has often referred to the Choir as being like “a speeding train never stopping to let its passengers off.” With endless weekly broadcasts, concerts, and composing, it can be difficult to put aside the time for outside projects. Throughout the years, the two occasionaly talked about the hymn, with Wilberg offering lyric suggestions. Periodically Newell would tweak the lyrics changing a word here and there, with added insight from his wife, which improved the flow and meaning of the hymn. 

Newell described the final stages of how the hymn came together and was completed:

“Finally, about six months ago, Mack committed to compose the hymn within the next month.  We also planned to program it for the October 6, 2019 broadcast, the broadcast before general conference, and I would write a ‘Spoken Word’ that would lead into it. In April that year, he carved some time, thought a lot about it, worked on it, and the tune came to him.  He worked his ‘musical magic’ on the lyrics. The hymn is fitting testament to our friendship and our involvement with the Choir and its broadcast over these many decades. To work together with Mack in the creation of a sacred hymn has definitely been one of the great highlights of my 30 years with the Choir. To me, it’s a meditative prayer, a petition for strength, hope, and solace in the Savior.  The hymn is both a promise and a plea to be more like Jesus.”

Watch The Tabernacle Choir, and organists Brian Mathias and Richard Elliott, perform "May We Be More Like Thee," by Mack Wilberg and lyrics by Lloyd Newell.

Lyrics: 

With humble hearts, we join in song
To worship and to pray.
Our Lord, Redeemer, Son of God
Who to our rescue came.
We praise Thy life and sacrifice;
We strive more earnestly
In thought, in word, in deed, O Lord,
May we be more like Thee.
As pilgrims on a sea of strife,

Oft wounded lost and weak,
We fast and pray for heaven's strength,
Thy help, Thy grace, we seek.
We place our burdens at Thy feet;
We yoke ourselves to Thee,
And with this heartfelt plea, O Lord,
May we be more like Thee.

With broken hearts we supplicate,
We cast away our sin,
Our sorrow, and our suffering,
To find the joy within.
Repentance brings us lasting peace;
New eyes that we may see,
Forgiveness teaches us to love,
Dear Savior, more like Thee.

When in Thy arms forever clasped
Safe in Thy tender care.
Then changed by Thy redeeming grace,
At last to be joint heirs.
We'll join in song with heav'nly throngs
And dwell with Thee above.
In faith and hope and charity,
We'll feel Thy endless love.

We'll join in song with heav'nly throngs
And dwell with Thee above
In faith and hope and charity,
We'll feel Thy endless love,
Thy endless love.

 


 

Since 1990, Lloyd Newell has been well known as the voice of the The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s weekly inspirational broadcast, Music & the Spoken Word. This historic broadcast—the longest running continuous radio network broadcast in the world—is heard and seen each week on hundreds of television and radio stations by millions of people around the world.

Mack Wilberg was appointed music director of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square on March 28, 2008, having served as associate music director of the Choir since May 1999. Dr. Wilberg is responsible for all musical and creative aspects of the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in rehearsals, concerts, tours, and recordings, as well as the weekly broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word.