Posted by: rcottrill | September 19, 2018

Heaven in My Heart

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Ida Augusta Guirey (b. Mar, 20, 1874; d. July 16, 1957)
Music: Robert Parsons (no information)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Ida Guirey)
Hymnary.org

Note: Published in 1943, the present song was written by Ida Guirey. Miss Guirey (who never married) was a pastor’s daughter. She wrote several hymns. The theme here reminds me of a song by Charles Butler, Where Jesus Is, ‘Tis Heaven There.

When we talk together, there are some subjects that are painful or unpleasant to discuss–though we may have to deal with them at times. But heaven is a much more positive theme, and the prospect is pleasant to anticipate and reflect upon.

The more troubling and difficult our struggles, the more we might identify with a character in Shakespeare’s play, Richard II, who says, “Comfort’s in heaven, and we are on earth, where nothing lives but crosses, cares, and grief.” That’s one reason the Lord wants believers to find encouragement and comfort in contemplating our future heavenly home. “Let not your heart be troubled…” (Jn. 14:1-3); “Comfort one another with these words.” (I Thess. 4:16-18).

The Bible uses words such as heaven and heavenly nearly seven hundred times. And, not surprisingly, hundreds of hymns have been written on the subject. Those Bible references, however, should be divided into three categories–identifying three different “heavens.”

¤ Earth’s atmosphere, where birds fly and clouds form, is called heaven (Gen. 1:20).

¤ A second “heaven” is outer space, where planets and stars are found (Gen. 15:5).

¤ What the Bible calls “the third heaven,” or Paradise (II Cor. 12:2-4) is where God’s throne is, and the holy angels dwell, with the saints who’ve departed this life (Rev. 4:1-2).

There is, however, a fourth way we could use the word heaven. Though the Bible doesn’t do so, the concept is certainly there. When we contemplate the blessings of God (of which a future in heaven is one), heavenly thoughts and feelings of joy and bliss fill our hearts. A century after Shakespeare wrote the play quoted above, Puritan clergyman Peter Drelincourt wrote:

“God comes to us before we go to Him; and heaven enters into our souls before we can enter into heaven.”

The Bible declares that Christians are, already, citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20). It’s appropriate then that we think about the affairs of our heavenly home, and rejoice in things related to it. There are three questions to consider:

¤ How does one get on the road to heaven?
¤ What are the heavenly blessings of the journey there?
¤ And what do we anticipate our heavenly home will be like?

That’s the subject of a gospel song called Heaven in My Heart, which deals with the three questions just mentioned in three successive stanzas.

How does an individual get started on the heavenly way? Through faith in Christ, believing that “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). A familiar verse of Scripture says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

1) It was heaven in my heart when Jesus found me,
Heaven in my heart, heaven in my heart;
All my sins He took away, a new life gave me.
I can never tell the joy that filled my heart.

Stanza two of Guirey’s song talks about the Christian life, with the Lord’s presence and leading. The main way the Lord guides us is by His Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105).

2) It is heaven ev’ry day with Him abiding,
Heaven ev’ry day, heaven ev’ry day;
There is light upon my way with Jesus guiding,
Shining more and more unto the perfect day.

The final stanza is about our eternal destiny. As Christ promised:

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3).

3) ‘Twill be heaven by and by His face beholding,
Heaven by and by, heaven by and by;
O the glory through eternity unfolding,
When we dwell with Him at home beyond the sky.

Heaven in my heart, heaven in my heart,
This the life He gave me when He saved me.
Heaven in my heart, heaven in my heart,
O the joy of knowing Jesus saved me.

Questions:
1) If heaven is in our hearts, how will that be seen in our lives?

2) Why do you think fewer hymns about heaven are being written today, compared to a century or more ago?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Ida Guirey)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | September 17, 2018

As with Gladness Men of Old

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: William Chatterton Dix (b. June 14, 1837; d. Sept. 9, 1898)
Music: Dix, by Konrad Kocher (b. Dec. 16, 1786; d. Mar. 12, 1872)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: William Dix managed an insurance company in England. But he also made a contribution to our Christmas traditions in several ways. Mr. Dix wrote a number of hymns, including two popular Christmas carols, What Child Is This? and As with Gladness Men of Old. There is a lovely fifth stanza of the latter song which (sadly) most hymnals omit. Some only use the first three. Here are the last two, with their logically connected message.

CH-4) Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

CH-5) In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its light, its joy, its crown,
Thou its sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!

We have many traditions when it comes to Christmas. The decorations, the turkey dinners, the cards, the gifts, the songs and stories, all have been enjoyed for many years. But sometimes the word tradition is used in a kind of mocking way. “Well, that’s the traditional way of doing it,” someone may say. And you can tell they mean, “That’s the old-fashioned, out-dated way, but we know better now. But traditional does not mean old-fashioned.

The word is found in the Bible (II Thess. 2:15; 3:6, 14). The Greek word for it (paradosis), simply means to hand over, to give into the hands of another. Tradition is just a handed-on teaching or practice. (Paul used the word of his own God-inspired teaching.) It refers to something that is passed on from one person to another, or one generation to another.

And that can be a good thing to do. Whether in a family, a church, or a nation, tradition gives continuity and stability, in place of confusion and uncertainty. People know what is expected of them. Tradition helps to create a smooth flow from one generation to the next. And, properly handled, it can help the younger generation avoid the mistakes of their elders (cf. Ps. 78:1-8).

Traditions can also give us a sense of belonging to something that is both special and enduring. The fact that we are doing something today that past generations have done gives us a bond with them. We feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s part of what makes family reunions so exciting. There’s a shared history to enjoy and pass on to the next generation.

But there are dangers to avoid. Any time we talk about tradition in biblical terms, the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees comes to mind. But Jesus did not condemn all tradition, when He talked with the Pharisees. Instead, he accused them of using tradition to evade their responsibility to God (Matt. 15:3, 5-6). When that happens, tradition has become too “bossy.” Overruling what God has said can never be right.

Tradition is being abused when it’s used:

¤ To displace reality (Acts 19:13, 15)
¤ To deplore any change (Acts. 10:13-15)
¤ To devalue the past (Acts 17:21)
¤ To deny the truth (Acts 14:11-15)

If we avoid those four extremes or dangers, we can continue to make use of tradition.

Jeremiah told the people of his day, “Ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16). The wise person appreciates the heritage of the past and will continue to employ it and be enriched by it.

As with Gladness Men of Old is based on the visit or the wise men to the baby Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). By memorializing that event in a song, the author retold the story, added to our sacred songs of the season, and highlighted gift-giving, a tradition he encouraged with these words:

CH-3) As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

The word “gift” is used in the Bible over a hundred times. God Himself is the greatest Gift-giver (Jas. 1:17). He sent His Son to be our Saviour, and offers us eternal salvation through faith in Christ (II Cor. 9:15; Eph. 2:8). He has also given us various abilities to use for His glory (I Cor. 12:11; I Pet. 4:10).

We give back to the Lord when we honour and serve Him. The wise men have shown us a tradition worth emulating. And this Christmas, let us “Give to the Lord the glory due His name” (Ps. 96:8).

Questions:
1) Could you make a list of some of the gifts (perhaps ten) God has given you?

2) What spiritual blessing can you pass on to someone else this week?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | September 12, 2018

When God Speaks

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Carlton C. Buck (b. Aug. 31, 1907; d. Feb. 13, 1999)
Music: Frank Addison Simpkins (b. June 8, 1870; d. Mar. 4, 1939)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Carlton Buck)
Hymnary.org

Note: In 1936, Carlton Buck published the hymn called When God Speaks. Born in Kansas, Buck was an American pastor, musician and author, with several books and a number of sacred songs to his credit. In this song–used more as a solo number than with congregations–the author celebrates the power of the voice of God.

Operatic tenor Enrico Caruso died nearly a century ago. Yet he is still considered the supreme tenor of them all, and one of the greatest singers of all time. Caruso had the first million-seller recording in 1902. His technique was masterful, his voice was powerful, but full and rich as well. He sang with an emotional warmth that even shines through the scratchy low-fidelity recordings of the early twentieth century.

There are other voices in music whose power perhaps has to do more with what they sang, and when, than with the technical mastery they showed. Bob Dylan’s songs were a significant commentary on the anti-war ‘60’s, while Billie Holiday’s recording of Strange Fruit (about lynching) raised awareness in the civil rights movement. Beyond the realm of music, Winston Churchill’s was another voice with great power. His thrilling oratory helped to steel the British people in 1940, when Nazi bombs fell on London.

In the Bible, the sovereign strength of the voice of God is mentioned many times. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (Ps. 29:4). It was a voice heard in Eden, after our first parents sinned. “Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid’” (Gen. 3:9-10). And the voice of God thundered from Mount Sinai, when He gave the Law of Israel through Moses (Deut. 5:22).

The Lord Jesus took Peter, James and John upon into a mountain and was “transfigured” before them. That is, He gave them a glimpse of His heavenly glory, and “His face shone like the sun” (Matt. 17:1-2). At that time, God the Father spoke from heaven. “Suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” (vs. 5). And we hear the Son’s voice in almost the last verse of the Bible, when Christ promises concerning His return, “Surely I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20).

“The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard” (Isa. 30:30). And when the Lord speaks, things happen. In the opening chapter of the Bible, we only get to verse 3 before the Creator speaks. Ten times in the chapter we are told “God said,” and each time the forces and materials of the physical creation were called into being, or directed in some way. That same voice summoned many individuals to a challenging ministry for Him. The servants of God who responded include: Moses (Acts 7:31), Elijah (I Kgs. 19:11-12), Isaiah (Isa. 6:8), Saul (or Paul) (Acts 9:3-6), and John (Rev. 1:10-11).

In Pastor Buck’s song, first, we see the force of God in nature, and His authority over angelic spirits (Heb. 1:14).

1) When God speaks, the high mountains tremble;
When God speaks, the loud billows roll;
When God speaks, my heart falls to list’ning,
And there is response in my soul.

Speak to my heart! Speak now, I pray;
God of salvation, and Lord of creation,
O speak to my heart today!

2) When God speaks, the angels obey Him;
When God speaks, all nature is stirred;
When God speaks, the hard hearts are softened,
For no sweeter voice e’er was heard.

Then Carlton Buck refers to the need for a personal response to the voice of God, as He speaks, in our day, particularly through His Word.

4) When God speaks, ‘tis mine then to answer;
When God speaks, my tempest to still;
When God speaks, ‘tis mine then to follow,
And following Him, do His will.

Speak to my heart! Speak now, I pray;
God of salvation, and Lord of creation,
O speak to my heart today!

Questions:
1) What did the Lord say to you today, in your daily devotional time?

2) Is there a hymn through which the Lord spoke to you, recently?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Carlton Buck)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | September 10, 2018

Amazing Grace

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: John Newton (b. July 24, 1725; d. Dec. 21, 1807)
Music: New Britain, composer unknown; tune first used with this hymn in William Walker’s Southern Harmony, 1835.

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: There are many personal references in this hymn (I, me, my)–unusual for hymns of that day. In that, it resembles the gospel songs that came along in the nineteenth century. Newton revels in the grace of God that he himself experienced. Before he died, he composed what would become his epitaph:

John Newton, clerk
Once an infidel and libertine
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ,
restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach
the gospel which he had long laboured to destroy.

Amazing Grace is certainly the best known hymn in the English language. According to Hymnary.org, it’s found in over 1200 hymnals. And it could well be the favourite of more people than any other. But that wasn’t always the case.

The song remained in relative obscurity for the first 191 years of its existence, until an American folk singer made a recording of it in 1970. Judy Collins, as far as I know, makes know profession of being a Christian, but her haunting rendition of the hymn became a much-played hit, and she sang it many times in concerts.

John Newton, an Anglican clergyman, published a new hymnal he produced in 1779. Called Olney Hymns, after his parish town of Olney, in England, the historically significant volume included Amazing Grace, which he entitled “Faith’s Review and Expectation.”

The biblical inspiration for it is interesting. King David of Israel received a visit from the prophet Nathan, who brought a message from the Lord, the essence of which is now known as the Davidic Covenant. God promised:

“I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever” (I Chron. 17:14).

This will be accomplished through Christ, who in His human incarnation was a descendant of David (Matt. 1:1; Rev. 11:15). And when the king heard these words, he marveled at the grace of God that would grant him and his family such an undeserved privilege. He responded:

“Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree, O Lord God” (vs. 16-17).

It was those last two Bible verses that Pastor Newton referenced in the heading of his hymn. They expressed how he felt himself, a formerly wicked and profane slave trader, saved by grace. And if there was hope for John Newton, there is surely hope still for those who have wallowed in the dregs of sin. This is why Amazing Grace has long been a favourite of whose who are in prison. “A wretch like me” has special meaning for them!

The Bible says those who become Christians weren’t saved by the merit of their good works, but by the grace (the unmerited favour) of God.

“By grace you have been saved through faith [in Christ], and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified [declared righteous] freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23-24).

The hymn’s celebration of God’s grace begins with the familiar words:

CH-1) Amazing grace!–how sweet the sound–
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

The original song had six stanzas. But even hymnals that include six rarely use Newton’s last:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me hear below,
Will be forever mine.

This is replaced now by a stanza whose author is unknown. Below is Newton’s fifth stanza, followed by the replacement for the sixth. The two certainly go well together. (“The veil” is an allusion to the curtain that separated the holy of holies in Israel’s tabernacle–and later, the temple in Jerusalem. It’s a way to describe heaven, and our entry into the presence of God.)

5) And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

6) When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.

Questions:
1) What is the opposite of God’s grace–what we all deserve?

2) What makes God’s grace so “amazing”?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | September 5, 2018

Harboured in Jesus

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Elva Fay Wallingford (b. July 24, 1912; d. July 12, 2001)
Music: Don M. Allen (b. ____, 1910; d. ____, 2010)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Fay Wallingford)
Hymnary.org (Fay Wallingford)

Note: In 1936, Fay Wallingford wrote a gospel song, called Harboured in Jesus, which speaks to the personal and individual safety we have in Christ. We know little about the author, other than she lived in Los Angeles. A bit of nostalgia: On the copy of the song I have before me, I see my father’s notes for using it with our church choir, October 27, 1957. He was our organist and choir director.

A harbour is a port or haven for ships. The term comes from the Old English word herebeorg, meaning lodgings or a shelter. The Port of Shanghai, on the Yangtze River is the largest harbour in the world. It annually receives and docks about 140,000 ships.

Think of some of the uses of a port. Ships come to bring people home, or take them to their home. Or perhaps they bring those traveling on vacation. Or they come for commercial purposes, to deliver cargo, or pick up cargo. They may come for military reasons, to defend the harbour, or for medical reasons, to help out in a time of epidemic. And when a severe storm threatens, a ship may seek the refuge of a safe shelter.

Some of those purposes are represented in the Bible. In Genesis, elderly Jacob prophesies concerning the future of his sons–who became the heads of tribes in Israel. “Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea,” Jacob says, “he shall become a haven for ships” (Gen. 49:13). And Psalm 107 speaks of how the Lord protects those who sail the seas: “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still….So He guides them to their desired haven” (vs. 29-30).

In the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul is arrested, and sent by ship to Rome to be tried. The author describes the journey, and the ports of call along the way. At one point he says, “We came to a place called Fair Havens [good harbours], near the city of Lasea (Acts 27:8). “And because the harbour was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbour of Crete” (vs. 12).

Words like harbour and haven can also be used as a picture of protection and security in a more general way. When Paul and Silas, were missionaries of the gospel, they faced persecution many times. At the city of Thessalonica, when danger threatened, a man named Jason gave the two men refuge and safety in his home. Later, Jason was arrested and taken before the rulers of the city where it was charged, “Jason has harboured them” (Acts 17:7).

In spiritual terms, the New Testament describes Christians as being “in Christ,” or “in Him.” Paul often seems to use this phrase in a legal sense. It’s as though, when we put our faith in the Saviour, God sees us, in  terms of His justice, through Christ, and therefore as reaping the benefits of His saving work. In Christ we have a safe harbour, protecting us from the storms of God’s judgment. Are you looking for a safe harbour, spiritually? Christ is the answer.

¤ “Of Him [God the Father] you are in Christ Jesus” (I Cor. 1:30).

¤ “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

¤ “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

¤ “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace….In Him also we have obtained an inheritance” (Eph. 1:7, 11).

There is even a corporate application of this to the church as a whole. “We [believers], being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Rom. 12:5).

1) Once I was drifting, lost and in sin;
Once I was dying, darkness within.
Now I am living, the way He planned–
Harboured in Jesus, kept by His hand.

Harboured in Jesus, safe and secure;
Harboured in Jesus, safe evermore.

2) Storms may surround me, tempests may roar,
Doubts may assail me, knock at my door;
Nothing shall move me from Jesus’ side–
Harboured in Jesus, wonderful Guide.

4) Friend, are you drifting, with none to care?
Friend, are you dying, deep in despair?
Come unto Jesus, He’ll set you free;
Harboured in Jesus, eternally.

Questions:
1) What kind of dangers, for both time and eternity, do those face who are outside of Christ?

2) How is Christ like a harbour for those who put their faith in Him?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Fay Wallingford)
Hymnary.org (Fay Wallingford)

Posted by: rcottrill | September 3, 2018

Be Still, My Soul

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (b. Oct. 22, 1697; d. circa 1768); translated by Jane Laurie Borthwick (b. Apr. 9, 1813; d. Sept. 7, 1897)
Music: Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius (b. Dec. 8, 1865; d. Sept. 20, 1957)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Katharina von Schlegel belonged to the court of the local duke in Kothen, Germany, a court where master composer Johann Sebastian Back was the music director for a number of years. It is quite likely she knew him.

Some think she was the head of a Lutheran ladies seminary in Kothen. But she is not listed in any of their records. The “von” in her name suggests she belonged to an aristocratic family. By her money and influence perhaps she became a supporter of the seminary, and was involved in an unofficial way.

Katharina’s spiritual life was influenced by the Pietist movement, a group that believed that renewal would come through the study and preaching of God’s Word, the exercise of the priesthood of all believers (I Pet. 2:5, 9), and emphasized practical Christianity lived out in daily life. The Pietists also believed in the importance of congregational hymn singing.

Unacceptable behaviour, or actions inappropriate to the setting, may result in a directive to “Settle down!” When children begin a boisterous game of tag or dodge-ball in the house, imperiling the dishes, mom may say, “You can’t do that in here. Settle down! Or, go outside and play!”

The Bible has its own version of “Settle down!” It’s “Be still!” We read in Nehemiah, “The Levites quieted all the people, saying, ‘Be still, for the day is holy’” (Neh. 8:11). And David advises, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still” (Ps. 4:4). “Be still [cease striving in your own strength], and know [recognize] that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Other related injunctions indicate the need for a calm and quiet (still) faith in the face of trials. We are to “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

In the New Testament, we read of the Lord Jesus showing His power over the natural elements, when He and His disciples faced a storm on the Sea of Galilee. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” cried His men (Mk. 4:38). In response, “He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (vs. 39. “Be still” is literally be muzzled. One translator has, “Hush up, and stay that way!”

Similar thoughts led to the creation of a truly great hymn. Katharina von Schlegel wrote twenty-nine hymns. Be Still, My Soul was produced in 1752. Scottish translator Jane Borthwick gave us the English translation about a century later. The strength of faith and depth of feeling it expresses put it in the top rank of our hymns.

Borthwick ably translated five of the six stanzas in the original. The last two lines of the second stanza were a special blessing to me personally, at a difficult point in my life. And, unfortunately, many hymnals omit the third stanza, which speaks God’s comfort in the loss of a loved one.

CH-1) Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

CH-2) Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

CH-3) Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

CH-4) Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Questions:
1) If our souls are “still,” what will that look like  to others, observing our daily lives?

2) Various kinds of trials are mentioned in the hymn: grief and tears, pain, change and disappointment, fear, an uncertain future, thorny ways and storms, loss of loved ones. Which of these is the most trying for you at the present time? (And do you find encouraging truths in the hymn?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | August 29, 2018

Yielded

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: C. F. Warren (no information)
Music: Robert Harkness (b. Mar. 2, 1880; d. May 8, 1961)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Robert Harkness)
Hymnary.org

Note: Of the author, C. F. Warren, we know nothing. It could be one of those cases when the composer of the tune received the words, with a request to provide a tune, without knowing much about the author. We know this happened to him with the little song In Jesus.

Yield–it’s one of our multipurpose words. It can mean to give up, or give out. When a suspected thief raises his hands and yields to the police, he’s giving up. But when a garden produces baskets of juicy tomatoes, that’s what the plants have given out. That’s the yield.

But, when you think about it, there’s been some yielding on the part of the gardener, before that. If he’s wise, he’ll follow the accumulated wisdom regarding how to get the best crop. He knows the soil must be broken up, and fertilized, and watered. He knows the seed must be planted at the right time, and in the right way, and weeds must be controlled. If he refuses to do what’s needed, the final yield will suffer.

The first use of the word yield is found in the account of creation. God provided for each plant to yield fruit “after its kind,” in order to provide food for human beings (Gen. 1:11-12, 29).

Later, when the Lord gave the land of Canaan to Israel, He promised that it would yield food for them (Lev. 25:19). However, the abundance of the crop was conditioned on their obedience to Him. If they would keep God’s Law, they’d have plenty (Lev. 26:3-4). If not, He warned the crops would fail (Lev. 26:18-20).

Sadly, there were times of spiritual backsliding, but godly King Hezekiah called the people of Israel back to the Lord with these words:

“Do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord…that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you” (II Chron. 30:7-8).

A double use of yielding has its application in the spiritual realm for the Christian. In fact, the Bible often uses garden imagery to illustrate what it means to live a fruitful life, and how that’s to be accomplished. And yielding to the Lord (obedience) will bring a yield of spiritual fruit in one’s life. the Scriptures speak of a couple of different kinds of spiritual fruit–inner fruit and outward fruit.

☼ The inward fruit is godly character, Christlikeness, the kind of qualities described as “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23).

☼ The outward fruit is the good things that happen in the lives of others, through our service for the Lord (Jn. 15:16; Rom. 1:13).

As a loving parent would do, God disciplined the people of Israel. The Bible later makes this comment, which could be applied to Israel, and is certainly true of our individual lives today.

“Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives….Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:6, 11).

A parable of the Lord Jesus talks about seed falling on different kinds of soil (Matt. 13:3-9). In the story, the seed represents the Word of God, and the soils picture different conditions of heart in the hearers, with the good soil describing those who accept God’s message, recognizing how it applies to their lives (vs. 18-23).

If we humbly yield to the Lord, determined to do His will, we will be spiritually fruitful, yielding both the fruit of godly character and blessings for others in our service for the Lord. And there’s a gospel song from 1926 that talks about that, called simply Yielded. Like some of our hymns about personal dedication (such as All to Jesus I Surrender, or Have Thine Own Way, Lord), these are strong words. We must determine whether this reflects our sincere heart’s desire.

1) Lowly and humbly, Lord, here I bow,
Contrite and broken, help me just now;
Patient and still, Lord, O let me be
Fitted for service, cleansed, Lord, by Thee.

Yielded, Lord, to Thee,
Yielded, Lord to Thee;
Wholly Thine forevermore,
Yielded, yielded, yielded, Lord, to Thee.

3) Keep ev’ry thought, Lord, in Thy control,
Let Thine own presence now fill my soul;
Self on the altar, yielded to Thee,
Jesus my Saviour, faithful to be.

4) Ready and willing Thee to obey,
Silent, if need be, have Thine own way;
In full submission all do I give,
Nothing withhold, Lord, in me now live.

Questions:
1) What are often the obstacles in our lives to fully yielding to the Lord?

2) What do you think the author means by “Silent, if need be,” in stanza 4?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Robert Harkness)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | August 27, 2018

Am I a Soldier of the Cross?

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Isaac Watts (b. July 17, 1674; d. Nov. 25, 1748)
Music: Arlington, by Thomas Augustine Arne (b. Mar. 12, 1710; d. Mar. 5, 1778)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The Cyber Hymnal currently uses a tune by Ira Sankey for this hymn, which includes a refrain. Much more common is the use of Thomas Arne’s tune Arlington, taken from his 1762 opera Artaxerxes.

In Canada, compulsory military service (conscription) was a debated issue in both the First and Second World Wars. Some felt Canadians had no responsibility for what was happening “over there.” Nonetheless, eventually a law was passed, and Canadian citizens were compelled to serve in both wars. The United States has had conscription, known commonly as the draft, in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War.

And what of the spiritual realm? Satan’s long war against the Almighty began when he coveted the throne of God for himself (Isa. 14:12-15). Thwarted in his evil aspirations, he has focused his malice on this world, and man, the crown of the Lord’s earthly creation. He seduced our first parents in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6), and their sin has brought calamity on all who followed them.

Satan, also known as the devil, determined to enslave and destroy us all, but the Lord provided a means of deliverance. God the Son took on our humanity, and died to take upon Himself the punishment for our sins. Through faith in Christ our Saviour, we are spiritually reborn into the family of God (Jn. 1:12-13). Our sins are forgiven, and we receive the gift of eternal life (Jn. 3:16: Eph. 1:7). We’re turned “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).

That is the Christian gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4). And “behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (I Jn. 3:1). However, though the devil has lost us as his slaves, he continues to war against us. “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8).

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:12-13).

Against the enemy we are to wield “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (vs. 17). “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).

We are in a battle, a titanic struggle against a powerful enemy. To put it plainly, all believers have been conscripted into the army of the Lord.

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (II Tim. 2:3-4).

The Apostle Paul was able to say, at the end of his life, “I have fought a good fight…I have kept the faith” (II Tim. 4:7). But what about each of us who is a believer, yet is not doing our part? To use a modern term, are we draft dodgers, as far as the spiritual conflict is concerned?

In the words of pastor and hymn writer Isaac Watts, “Thou must meet this adversary [Satan] shortly, O my soul. Labour therefore daily to get courage and victory.” To accompany a sermon on First Corinthians 16:13 (“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”), Dr. Watts wrote the following hymn. It asks some challenging questions!

CH-1) Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name?

CH-2) Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

CH-3) Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

CH-4) Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the cross, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

Dr. Watt’s original word in line 3 of the fourth stanza was likely “cross” (as I have it) rather than “toil”–which is more common today. And using the word cross certainly ties in with his original question: “Am I a soldier of the cross.”

He also wrote two more stanzas which aren’t used today. They bring the battle on to a heavenly victory scene.

5) The saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
And seize it with their eye.

6) When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine,
In robes of vict’ry through the skies,
The glory shall by Thine.

Questions:
1) What is your answer to the penetrating questions of this hymn?

2) What does the line “Supported by Thy Word” mean in practical terms?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | August 22, 2018

Trusting Thee More

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Avis Marguerite Burgeson Christiansen (b. Oct. 11, 1895; d. Jan. 14, 1985)
Music: Wendell Phillips Loveless (b. Feb. 2, 1892; d. Oct. 3, 1987)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Avis Christiansen)
The Cyber Hymnal (Avis Christiansen)
Hymnary.org

Note: A resident of Chicago, Avis was married to a vice president of Moody Bible Institute. She wrote hundreds of fine hymns that have been used by the Lord to bless many. Love Found a Way, It Is Glory Just to Walk with Him, Fill All My Vision, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Has Lifted Me, Blessed Redeemer, How Can It Be? and Only One Life are some of these.

We have an expression that can mean two different things, depending on how it’s used. It’s “no doubt.”

If we were to say, “No doubt the tornado did a lot of damage,” we mean it’s certain, it happened without question. But the words are sometimes used sarcastically. To say crossly, “No doubt you’re always right,” we mean the opposite is more likely true.

An example of the latter is found in the Bible. Job’s companions insist that his painful trials are due to God punishing him for some wickedness (which was not true), and he retorts sarcastically, “No doubt you are the people [i.e. the only wise ones on earth], and wisdom will die with you!” (Job 12:2).

But if we consider the phrase as a sincere expression of certainty, we’re dealing with matters of faith. To return to the original example, because of our knowledge of tornadoes, and perhaps a personal experience of their destructive force, we can say with some confidence that we know what happened. However, tornadoes are quirky things. They can flatten one house, and leave the one beside it untouched. Or they can expend their energy safely in an open field, merely stirring up dust.

When it comes to spiritual matters, we can sometimes be even more uncertain. And the Bible gives us examples of those who struggled to trust in God when they needed to.

One day the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a storm arose. In their distress, the Lord Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. Impetuous Peter asked if he could do the same, and the Lord invited him to come. He began well but, as fear gripped his heart, he began to sink. “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31).

Several times Christ rebuked His followers for the littleness of their faith (e.g. Matt. 6:30; 8:26). After His resurrection, He appeared to the disciples. At first, they were terrified, supposing maybe they were seeing a ghost. “And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see’” (Lk. 24:38-39).

Many of us take some encouragement from the man who brought His demon possessed son to the Lord, saying, “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mk. 9:22). When Jesus asked him if he had faith, and “the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (vs. 24). Yes, we know what that’s like!

We need more faith, as the disciples also did, when the Lord told them to be forgiving of a person who wronged them over and over. They replied, “Increase our faith” (Lk. 17:4-5). May that be our prayer too.

Surely, many Christians can identify with these appeals. There will come a day when, in the presence of God, faith will be confirmed by eternal realities. But for now, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). And we do believe, but our limited faith is constantly being challenged by the things we go through.

This brings to mind a gospel song called Trusting Thee More, by Avis Christiansen. Published in 1934, the song says:

1) Lord, keep me trusting Thee day after day,
Trusting whatever befall on my way;
Sunshine or shadow, I take them from Thee,
Knowing Thy grace is sufficient for me.

Trusting Thee more! Trusting Thee more!
May ev’ry day find me trusting Thee more.
Cares may surround me and clouds hover o’er,
But keep me, Lord Jesus, still trusting Thee more.

3) Lord, keep me trusting, till faith lost in sight,
I shall behold Thee in endless delight;
Trusting to Thee all that lieth before,
Daily, Lord Jesus, just trusting Thee more.

Questions:
1) In what area of your life do you need a stronger and more consistent faith in God?

2) What have you found that God has used to strengthen your faith.

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Avis Christiansen)
The Cyber Hymnal (Avis Christiansen)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | August 20, 2018

One Sweetly Solemn Thought

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Phoebe Cary (b. Sept. 4, 1824; d. July 31, 1871)
Music: Dulce Domum, by Robert Steele Ambrose (b. Mar. 7, 1824; d. Mar. 31, 1908)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Phoebe Cary was raised in a Universalist household, but she and her sister often attended Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist services and were friendly with ministers of all these denominations. Though the present 1852 hymn poem is not strong on orthodox theology, it presents truth that is in harmony with it. Hymnary.org says it can be found in over 600 hymnals. Cary was also a champion of women’s rights.

In 1850, Charles Warner wrote: “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” meaning there are times when longtime political enemies will form an uneasy alliance to achieve a goal desired by both.

It’s a sly adaptation of a line from Shakespeare. In his play The Tempest, when shipwrecked Trinculo seeks shelter, reluctantly, beside a sleeping monster, he says, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. I will here shroud [cover myself] till the dregs of the storm be past.”

There can be unusual parings in other areas too. Sweet and salty snacks are quite common. And if you enjoy Chinese food, you’ve likely eaten sweet and sour chicken or pork. To our taste buds, sweetness and sourness are opposites, yet they seem to work well together. And reportedly some restaurants sell pickle-flavoured ice cream–but perhaps that’s going too far!

In daily life there are experiences that arouse conflicting feelings. For example, when a young person leaves home to attend college or take up employment in a distant place, parents may have what we could call a sad-glad reaction. Sad to realize the departing child will no longer be a daily part of the family circle, but glad that he or she is moving on to new challenges and accomplishments in life.

In the days of the early church, Christians faced a similar confliction of feelings. Before His return to heaven, the Lord Jesus had warned His followers that they would face persecution for their loyalty to Him. But He encouraged them to take the long-range view, to realize that victory and heavenly rewards would come in the end (Matt. 5:11-12; Jn. 15:18-21).

There came a day when the disciples were beaten for sharing the gospel and we read, “They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). There’s nothing pleasant about being beaten, imprisoned, or martyred for your faith in Christ. But even the Lord Jesus rejoiced in what He would accomplish through His death on the cross (Heb. 12:2).

The Apostle Paul faced his own sad-glad moment (Phil. 1:21-24). When he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, he faced the real possibility–one which eventually became a reality–that he would be executed. Sadly, this would deprive him of the opportunity to preach and teach others about the wonderful truths God was revealing through him. However, he rejoiced in the knowledge that death would mean he would “be with Christ, which is far better.”

Whether by persecution, natural causes, or something else, each of us faces the possibility of death. And every day we live brings our departure from this mortal life nearer. It’s a reality that American poet Phoebe Cary called a “sweetly solemn thought.”

Even for the Christian, this is so. The solemnity of death lies in the separation it brings for the living friends and family. If those loved ones are believers too, we can look forward to a reunion in heaven one day, but the loss of that individual is still painful. Also, with Paul, we may regret that they don’t have any more time to serve the Lord and do His work below.

However, we share with the apostle the sweet thought “to be absent from the body [means] to be present with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:8). As the Lord promised the repentant thief crucified next to Him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). The sadness of death and the hope of eternal glory are indeed strange bedfellows.

Below is the poetic form of Phoebe Cary’s work. Minor changes have been made to accommodate several musical settings, including the one in the Cyber Hymnal.

CH-1) One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me o’er and o’er;
Nearer my home today am I
Than e’er I’ve been before.

CH-2) Nearer my Father’s house,
Where many mansions be;
Nearer today, the great white throne,
Nearer the crystal sea.

CH-3) Nearer the bound of life
Where burdens are laid down;
Nearer to leave the heavy cross,
Nearer to gain the crown.

CH-4) But lying dark between,
Winding down through the night,
Is the deep and unknown stream
To be crossed ere we reach the light.

CH-7) Father, perfect my trust!
Strengthen my pow’r of faith!
Nor let me stand, at last, alone
Upon the shore of death.

CH-8) Be Thou near when my feet
Are slipping o’er the brink;
For it may be I’m nearer home,
Nearer now than I think.

Questions:
1) What, to you, is particularly “sweet” about the coming end of your life on this earth?

2) What are some “solemn” aspects of this?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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