Posted by: rcottrill | December 15, 2017

O Lord of Heaven and Earth and Sea

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: Christopher Wordsworth (b. Oct. 30, 1807; d. Mar. 20, 1885)
Music: Almsgiving (or Dykes), by John Bacchus Dykes (b. Mar. 10, 1823; d. Jan. 22, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Christopher Wordsworth)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Christopher Wordsworth was the nephew of famed poet William Wordsworth. For a time, he served as the head master of Harrow Boys School. Later he became the pastor of a church in an English town with the odd name of Stanford-in-the-Vale-cum-Goosey. He wrote many hymns, including O Day of Rest and Gladness, which presents three reasons why Christians have set aside Sunday as the Lord’s Day.

The history of money goes back a long way. In the beginning the currency used was things useful in themselves, such as livestock or sacks of grain. These were presented as payment for something else, a house, or perhaps a bride. Later, smaller and more portable things such as shells and beads became a recognized currency.

By 2000 BC, precious metals, gold and silver, were measured out by weight to make purchases. Abraham bought a piece of property as a burial ground for his wife, by weighing out four hundred shekels of silver (Gen. 23:14-16). The first coins came into use around 1000 BC, with paper money coming along much later.

Today, coins and paper money are still in common use, but two new means of payment are gaining ground. Credit cards were introduced in the 1950’s, and today many carry out Internet transactions from their computer or smart phone, with no physical exchange at all.

At the Jewish temple, in Jesus’ day, there were collection boxes with trumpet shaped openings at the top to receive the offerings of the people. In Luke 21:1-4 we see the Lord Jesus observing this procedure, and using it to teach His followers. The rich gave much, but a poor widow is commended by the Lord for putting two small coins in one of the boxes. Her gift was greater because she gave sacrificially, “out of her poverty.”

Giving to the Lord’s work has long been recognized as an individual responsibility. All of our blessings come from God, and we give to Him out of what He has given us (I Chron. 29:14). Someone has said, “Christian stewardship is the use of God-given resources to accomplish God-given goals.” Of course this covers not only our treasures (money), but also our time and talents being used for God. But when we put money on an offering plate, we’re giving it to the Lord, dedicating it to His service.

That means the church’s bank account becomes the Lord’s treasury, out of which His work is supported. In the early days of the church, believers met in homes (e.g. Phm. 1:2); there were no church buildings set aside for the purpose. (It looks as though the first came along in AD 231.) Now for most local churches, the upkeep of a building is part of their financial responsibility, along with purchasing the equipment and supplies needed to run a full church program.

Money is also designated for the support of church personnel. The pastor is supported out of the Lord’s treasury, so that he can give his full time to ministry (I Cor. 9:13-14; Gal. 6:6). And there’s an awareness that the congregation needs to assist those in special need in the community and beyond (Rom. 12:13; Gal. 2:10; I Jn. 3:17). As well, there’s the assistance of other Christian works (missions) across the world to be committed to (Phil. 4:15-16).

It’s important to be taught the responsibility of supporting the Lord’s work. We need to be informed as to what the Bible says about it. However, this presents a problem for some pastors. Because they themselves are financially supported by the church, they fear teaching on giving will be seen as an attempt to get more money for themselves from God’s people.

Pastor Wordsworth had a novel way around this. Discovering that those who attended had never been taught the duty and privilege of giving, he wrote a hymn about it, and had it sung about once a month. Apparently the gentle reminder worked. Givings in the church increased. (Note: the word “lend” in the seventh stanza is used in an older sense of give, or devote.)

CH-1) O Lord of heav’n and earth and sea,
To Thee all praise and glory be;
How shall we show our love to Thee,
Who givest all?

CH-2) The golden sunshine, vernal air,
Sweet flowers and fruits, Thy love declare;
Where harvests ripen, Thou art there,
Who givest all.

CH-3) For peaceful homes and healthful days,
For all the blessings earth displays,
We owe Thee thankfulness and praise,
Who givest all.

CH-4) Thou didst not spare Thine only Son,
But gav’st Him for a world undone,
And freely, with that blessèd One,
Thou givest all.

CH-7) We lose what on ourselves we spend,
We have as treasure without end
Whatever, Lord, to Thee we lend,
Who givest all.

Questions:
1) What do you have of time, talents and treasures that should be yielded to the Lord?

2) What is meant by sacrificial giving?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Christopher Wordsworth)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | December 13, 2017

O God, the Rock of Ages

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: Edward Henry Bickersteth, Jr. (b. Jan. 25, 1825; d. May 16, 1906)
Music: Greenland (or Haydn), by Johann Michael Haydn (b. Sept. 14, 1737; d. Aug. 10, 1806)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Edward Bickersteth)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Edward Bickersteth was a pastor and a hymn book editor, as well as writing some hymns himself. He wrote this one for his congregation to sing on New Year’s Sunday, in 1860. He wanted to encourage their trust in God for the coming year, and he emphasized that the Lord’s care was assured, and His promises were dependable and unfailing.

The fable of the Three Little Pigs has been around for at least two centuries, perhaps longer. The Disney Studios made a popular cartoon version of it in 1933. In the story, Mama Pig sends her three offspring out into the world to seek their fortunes, and they each build a house to live in. One house is made of straw, another of sticks, and the third of bricks.

When a big bad wolf comes along, and he’s determined to dine on pork, he asks slyly to come in to each house in turn. When refused he says, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!” Which he does easily, with the houses made of straw and of sticks. But he cannot blow down the house of bricks.

The details of the story have varied greatly over the years. In some versions, the first two pigs are eaten by the wolf; in others, they run for safety to the third brother’s house. In some accounts, the wolf is killed by the third pig; in others he simply runs away, never to return. Strangely, in still another story, the wolf is made out to be a kindly character!

The moral drawn from the tale has not always been the same either, but one that’s quite clear is this: If you’re going to build a house to live in, one where you’ll be safe, it pays use the strongest possible materials, and take the time and effort to build it well.

This has an application to the way God Himself is described in the Bible. Many times He is called the Rock of His people, or compared to a rock, the One in whom they may safely hide. The first instance is found in Deuteronomy 32:4, “He is the Rock,” declares Moses. Other examples from the Psalms:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust….Blessed be my Rock!” (Ps. 18:2, 46).

“He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Ps. 62:6).

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation” (Ps. 95:1).

You can see the theme of protection and deliverance running through these verses. Climbing to the top of a rocky cliff, or hiding in a cave or crevice in it will provide a hiding place, a place of security. God’s steadfastness and trustworthiness are represented too.

That symbol is used in Augustus Toplady’s well known hymn that begins:

“Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.”

There’s actually a Bible verse that uses that expression, but it isn’t made clear in some translations. Isaiah 26:4 says, “The Lord is everlasting strength” (NKJV), but the Hebrew word for strength (tsoor) can also be rendered “rock.” Here is how the Amplified Bible words the text:

“Trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]” (Isa. 26:4).

With echoes of Psalm 90, Pastor Bickersteth’s hymn says:

CH-1) O God, the Rock of Ages,
Who evermore hast been,
What time the tempest rages,
Our dwelling place serene:
Before Thy first creations,
O Lord, the same as now,
To endless generations,
The Everlasting, Thou.

CH-3) O Thou, who dost not slumber,
Whose light grows never pale,
Teach us aright to number
Our years before they fail;
On us Thy mercy lighten,
On us Thy goodness rest,
And let Thy Spirit brighten
The hearts Thyself hast blessed.

CH-4) Lord, crown our faith’s endeavor
With beauty and with grace,
Till, clothed in light forever,
We see Thee face to face:
A joy no language measures,
A fountain brimming o’er,
An endless flow of pleasures,
An ocean without shore.

Questions:
1) What are some things a great Rock might illustrate about the Lord?

2) How will the fact that God is your “Rock” affect your life in the coming days?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Edward Bickersteth)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | December 11, 2017

From Greenland’s Icy Mountains

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: Reginald Heber (b. Apr. 21, 1783; d. Apr. 3, 1826)
Music: Missionary Hymn, by Lowell Mason (b. Jan. 8, 1792; d. Aug. 11, 1872)

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

Note: So well was Heber’s hymn written in the original manuscript form that not a word needed to be changed later. As for Lowell Mason, we know his work from many hymns in our hymnals. For example, he wrote the tune Bethany for the hymn Nearer, My God, to Thee.

There are many exclusive clubs around the world, where only members are allowed to enjoy the facilities and mingle with those deemed society’s elite. All others are excluded.

The application process to join these is rigorous, sometimes taking years. You must be recommended by at least two current members in good standing, and be a person with prestige and social influence. And you must by wealthy. The registration fee for one club is $50,000, plus an annual fee of $15,000. The Mar-a-Lago Club, in Florida, has become famous recently because it’s owned by Donald Trump, the current president of the United States. To join you must pay $200,000, in addition to an annual fee of $16,000.

And this does not mean that everything inside is free for the members. They must still pay for meals, for a round of golf, or a game of tennis, or other services. What then are the advantages for the chosen few? Perhaps business contacts that may pay dividends down the road. Otherwise there’s not much to say for membership, when weighed against the cost. Some people might look up to you for being a member, but those are pretty expensive bragging rights!

Aren’t you glad the Christian gospel is not like that. It’s not for an exclusive few. Jesus said:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mk. 2:17).

“That whoever [anyone and everyone who] believes in Him [Christ] should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:10).

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in faith] shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

This is reflected in what has been called the Great Commission, given by the Lord to His followers, that they should share the good news of salvation through faith in Christ with everyone, everywhere–with “All the nations” (Matt. 28:19; Lk. 24:47); “all the world” (Mk. 16:15); “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

That was the ministry of the apostles, after Christ’s ascension, and from the first century onward there has always been Christian missionary outreach. However there was a great resurgence of world evangelism late in the eighteenth century and through to the early twentieth century.

Called the “Great Century” of Christian missions, it was begun by the pioneering work of William Carey in India. Carey (1761-1826) has been called the Father of Modern Missions. This was also the time when Reginald Heber lived, a godly Anglican clergyman, later the bishop of India, and the author of a number of wonderful hymns.

In 1819, a royal letter was sent to churches in England, calling for a collection to be made to help the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Heber wrote a hymn to be sung on that occasion in his father-in-law’s church. The words of the hymn were written out on slips of paper, and the following day (Sunday) were sung to the tune of an old ballad.

Then, two or three years later, the words came to the attention of a woman living in Savannah, Georgia, who saw the need for a better tune. She happened to know a young bank clerk who lived down the street who was said to have musical talent. She took the words to him, and in half an hour he composed Missionary Hymn, the great tune we use today. The bank clerk was Lowell Mason. It was his first hymn tune, and he went on to write dozens more.

CH-1) From Greenland’s icy mountains, from India’s coral strand;
Where Afric’s sunny fountains roll down their golden sand:
From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver their land from error’s chain.

CH-3) Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,
Shall we to those benighted the lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim,
Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Messiah’s name.

CH-4) Waft, waft, ye winds, His story, and you, ye waters, roll
Till, like a sea of glory, it spreads from pole to pole:
Till o’er our ransomed nature the Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator, in bliss returns to reign.

Questions:
1) What is your church doing in support of world missions?

2) What are you doing personally to support this work of world evangelism?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | December 8, 2017

Learning to Lean

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 Stallings (b. _____, 1938)
Music: John Stallings

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

Note: John Stallings (born in Georgia) has been a pastor and evangelist, and a singer and song-writer, over the course of many years. During the 1970’s, when Southern Gospel Music came to prominence, with the influence of musicians such as Bill and Gloria Gaither, John Stallings wrote his most popular Christian song. It has a similar theme to Hoffman and Showalter’s Leaning on the Everlasting Arms (based on Deut. 33:27).

Consider what it means to lean–to tilt, slant or bend. Often it implies a need to lean on something, for support of some kind.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Italy, is the free-standing bell tower of a nearby church. Completed over six centuries ago, it was built on marshy ground, and began to tilt almost immediately. As the angle of incline continued to grow, it was feared the tower would collapse. But engineers have used counterweights, bracing, and improvements to the foundation to stabilize it. The tower now seems safe from falling any time soon.

People can lean too, a little bit, and straighten up again without a problem. But when weakness or injury brings the danger of falling, various aids are used to provide support. Perhaps the injured limb is strengthened with a bandage or a cast, or the individual leans on a cane, crutches, or some kind of walker, to give more confidence in getting around.

Spiritually, this has an application to our faith in God. To lean on the Lord is to trust in Him, to depend and rely on Him. God’s Word says:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him [as Lord], and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

In the affairs of life, there are definitely things we should not lean on, as the passage indicates. That’s not to suggest, of course, that we shouldn’t use the brains God has given us, and apply our experience and training to a given situation. But we should beware of making that the bottom line, of making no attempt to factor in God’s Word and will. We might end up building a tower on marshy ground!

As the Lord Jesus put it in a parable:

“Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26-27).

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

When life’s puzzles confuse and confound us, we need to lean on the Lord and His certain Word. Missionary to China Hudson Taylor once said, “Trust in the Lord is not heavy baggage, and it never fails.”

John Stallings had been the pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama, for a time. Author Lindsay Terry, in his 1990 book, Stories Behind Popular Songs and Hymns, says it was then multiple trials descended on his life. One of his daughters took sick and nearly died, another daughter was seriously injured in a car accident. Also, Pastor Stallings felt it was time to leave his ministry in Montgomery. He moved to Florida, when he began to construct a new home.

In Terry’s words, “Things weren’t going well.” But Stallings determined to trust in the Lord. One day he was sitting in the place where he lived in those days, and the words and music of a simple little chorus came to him.

Learning to lean, learning to lean,
I’m learning to lean on Jesus.
Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed
I’m learning to lean on Jesus.

John Stallings had no idea what an impact that chorus would have. He shared it in various places where he was booked to preach, and soon it was being sung everywhere. Many were blessed by the reminder to trust in the Lord. Mr. Terry even reports a time when the Lord used the chorus to pull her back from suicide.

A few months later, Stallings wrote a couple of stanzas to go with it, making it a full song. It’s been published in Praise! Our Songs and Hymns (Singspiration, 1979), and Favorites Number 9 (Singspiration, 1981).

The song–especially the chorus–remains a favourite, and has encouraged many of us to lean on the Lord in difficult times. It’s something we all need to be doing–learning to lean trustingly on Him.

Questions:
1) What is an experience you’ve had recently when leaning on the Lord became a reality?

2) How do we “learn to lean”?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | December 6, 2017

Jesus, Still Lead On

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: Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (b. May 26, 1700; d. May 9, 1760)
Music: Seelenbräutigam, by Adam Drese (b. Dec. ___, 1620; d. Feb. 15, 1701)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Count von Zinzendorf)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Nikolaus von Zinzendorf was born into aristocracy and wealth in Germany, but from boyhood he had a desire to be a follower of Christ, and bring others to Him. Submitting to the wishes of his family, he trained as a lawyer, but that was not to be his life’s work. When he married, in 1722, he and his wife agreed to lay aside their rank and give themselves to winning others to the Saviour. Zinzendorf also wrote about two thousand hymns.

A follower is literally one who comes after. The word may have been passed down to us from the Old English term full-gan, meaning full going. This can refer to an individual traveling on behind the one in front, from one place to another. But we more commonly use it as a synonym for a disciple, and mean someone who accepts the teaching and authority of another.

Evolutionist Charles Darwin (1809-1882), whose Godless theories came to be called Darwinism, has had many followers in the latter sense, including British author H. G. Wells. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Freudism significantly influenced the theories of psychiatrists Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. The political theories of Chinese Communist Mao Zedong (1893-1976), later called Maoism, have been reproduced in many other countries, including Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Disciple and follower are, of course, words the Bible uses too, many times, particularly in the four Gospels, and the book of Acts, where believers become disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. The term disciple translates the Greek word mathetes, from which we get our word mathematics. It suggests a disciplined course of study, and the Lord makes it clear that learning from Him will also involve serving Him and labouring on His behalf. Jesus said:

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk. 10:45). And, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn. 13:15).

A disciple, then, is what we could call a learner-servant of Christ. And we are summoned, not only to preach the gospel and call others to put their faith in Christ, but to enlist them too as His learner-servants: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).

Christians are followers of Christ. The Gospels show the Lord calling others to Him for that purpose.

“He said to them [fishermen named Peter and Andrew], ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men [in other words, disciple-makers]’” (Matt. 4:19).

And we see them doing that in Acts, beginning in Jerusalem, where “the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly” (Acts 6:7). Later a new term was introduced: “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).

This leads us to look at a remarkable man. During a time of religious persecution, Zinzendorf offered his estate as a refuge for Moravian believers fleeing their oppressors. He and another man, a carpenter named Christian David, built the village of Herrnhut (meaning the Lord’s Shelter) as a religious community that grew to about six hundred people. Later, learning of the need for a gospel witness in America and the West Indies, and elsewhere, the Moravians began sending out missionaries.

It was through meeting Moravians that John and Charles Wesley were converted. Another thing that linked them together was a great love of hymns, and an awareness of their importance in ministry. Charles Wesley wrote many, and so did Count von Zinzendorf. Best known is the latter’s hymn Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness, translated from German into English by John Wesley. But another of Zinzendorf’s songs speaks of being a follower of Christ.

(The word “fatherland” refers to one’s native country. Zinzendorf uses it in the hymn as a term for heaven, the Christian’s native land through the new birth (cf. Phil. 3:20).)

CH-1) Jesus, still lead on, till our rest be won,
And, although the way be cheerless,
We will follow calm and fearless,
Guide us by Thy hand to our fatherland.

CH-2) If the way be drear, if the foe be near,
Let no faithless fears o’ertake us,
Let not faith and hope forsake us,
For through many a woe to our home we go.

CH-4) Jesus, still lead on, till our rest be won;
Heavenly Leader, still direct us,
Still support, control, protect us,
Till we safely stand in our fatherland.

Questions:
1) What has it meant in your own life to be a “follower” of Christ?

2) Zinzendorf speaks of times when the way is “cheerless,” and of going through “many a woe.” How do these things relate to your own experience? (And how has the Lord sustained you then?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Count von Zinzendorf)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | December 4, 2017

Come, Thou Long Expected 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: Charles Wesley (b. Dec. 18, 1707; d. Mar. 29, 1788)
Music: Hyfrydol, by Roland Huw Prichard (b. Jan. 14, 1811; d. Jan. 25, 1887)

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

Note: John Wesley, with his brother Charles, brought revival and influenced social reform in Britain in their day. While John did most of the preaching, Charles provided more than 6,000 hymns that winged the truth into hearts through music. Two and a half centuries later, hymn books still contain many of his songs: Jesus, Lover of My Soul; Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Rejoice, the Lord Is King; Depth of Mercy, Can There Be; O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing; Hark, the Herald Angels Sing; And Can It Be? and Soldiers of Christ Arise, to name just a few.

The great Welsh tune Hyfrydol is also used with the hymn Our Great Saviour, and can be used effectively with Philip Bliss’s hymn, I Will Sing of My Redeemer.

The stillness of the night seems to wash tension from our souls, bringing a calming sense of peace. We heave a gentle sigh of contentment. Then, suddenly, the silence is broken by a crack of thunder, and soon torrents of rain are lashing windows illuminated by jagged streaks of lightning.

A sudden noise can break the silence. But we use that phrase another way too. It can mean we begin to talk about something that seemed to be, for whatever reason, off limits before. A variety of subjects can be kept from casual conversation by a kind of unspoken consensus. Family conflicts, money troubles, and more. Years ago, nervous breakdowns and depression, a pregnancy outside of marriage, and terminal illness were seldom discussed openly. (Some doctors even advised not telling the patient that his life was about to end.)

There can be silence as well about social wrongs rooted in prejudice. In Canada, First Nations people have broken the silence about abuses suffered during the days of the Residential Schools (1876-1996). And in recent days more and more women are speaking up about verbal and physical abuse suffered in the workplace and elsewhere. In many cases the harm that was done has left behind a trail of bitterness, mistrust, and even despair.

Breaking the silence takes courage, but ideally it will bring a new sense of hope and freedom to the individual, and a new understanding on the part of the rest of us. Learning to listen with compassion, and be supportive, when sufferers share painful things, can help to bring change and healing.

In the Bible, there is a long silence of another kind that was suddenly broken. It actually divides our Bible in two.

In about 415 BC, the Old Testament prophet Malachi predicted the coming of the Lord, and the ministry of John the Baptist to announce His appearing.

“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight” (Mal. 3:1).

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. When we turn the page, Matthew begins. But four centuries passed in between. Bible scholars sometimes refer to them as the Four Hundred Silent Years. “The Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings [or beams]” wrote the prophet (Mal. 4:2). But when? Year after year the people of Israel waited and longed for His coming, only to be disappointed.

Generations passed. And there does not seem to have been a single inspired prophecy in all those years. Only divine silence.

The breaking of the silence came around 5 BC, with an angelic visitation to an elderly Levitical priest named Zacharias. His wife Elizabeth was barren, and a senior citizen too. But the angel informed Zacharias that he would have a son, one who’d “go before Him [the Lord Jesus]” and “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk. 1:17). God’s “messenger” predicted by Malachi was to come at last.

Six months later, the angel Gabriel visited a young virgin in Nazareth named Mary, and told her that, by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, she would give birth to the promised One, the Messiah–to be called Jesus (Lk. 1:31-35).

After His birth in Bethlehem, the angelic announcement came, “There is born to you…a Saviour.” And the joyful news of His coming called for the enlistment of a whole choir of angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest! (Lk. 2:11, 14).

In 1745 hymn writer Charles Wesley published a short hymn that brought the longing for His advent down to a personal level. It expresses the needy sinner’s desire that Christ would enter his life to bring eternal salvation and a new hope and new direction in life, through His reign there.

CH-1) Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

CH-2) Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Questions:
1) As a Jew who believed God’s Word, how would you feel and act if you lived during the Four Hundred Silent Years?

2) What would be the evidence in lives if Christ were to “rule in all our hearts alone [i.e. without a rival]”?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | December 1, 2017

Gazing on the Lord

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: Centra Thompson (no data available)
Music: Dijon, by J. G. Bitthauer (18th century, no other information)

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

Note: Nothing is currently known about Miss Centra Thompson, but she has given us a lovely hymn about believers gazing in wonder and worship on the Lord Jesus in heaven. If you know other things about her–birth and death dates, country she’s from, etc., please pass the information along to me.

It was a rare event. In August of 2017 a solar eclipse tracked across the entire United States. Even those a distance to the south and north got to see at least a partial eclipse. But seeing was a potential problem. We didn’t want to miss it. But warning after warning was issued concerning the damage that could be done by gazing directly at the sun. To gaze or not to gaze.

We’ve likely all experienced sunburns on our skin from the harmful rays of the sun, if we don’t use proper UV protection. It’s also possible to get a burn on the retina of the eye (and the damage is not reversible). The only safe way to view the eclipse was through specially designed dark glasses, or through a device that would project the image on a piece of card. It’s to be hoped all acted wisely and enjoyed the experience.

But consider the word “gaze” for a moment. Gazing is usually applied to something that has little or no movement. It’s difficult to gaze at a meteor that’s gone in the blink of an eye. The word relates to things that are stationary or slow moving.

The dictionary says it means: to look steadily and intently, with feelings such as great curiosity, interest, pleasure or wonder. A couple of related words carry a different emphasis. To gape at something is to stare at it open-mouthed. To gawk is to stare foolishly, without being sensitive to the meaning. An example of the latter would be gawking at a car accident, with no concern for those involved, and no intention of helping.

Applied negatively, we can gaze in shock at a huge bill from the plumber, or gaze with hurt feelings at an angry letter from someone we considered a friend. We can also gaze lustfully at impure photographs. On the positive side, we can gaze in wonder at a beautiful flower, or the crimson glory of a sunset.

We can find examples of the word in the Bible. At the time of Jesus’ ascension back into heaven, two “men” (likely angels) appeared to His disciples and said:

““Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

And when Stephen was stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr, we read:

“He, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

Other times the same Greek word is translated differently, but to express a similar meaning. At the synagogue in Nazareth, when Jesus began to speak, the people sat with “eyes…fixed on Him” (Lk. 4:20). And when Paul was summoned before the Jewish Sanhedrin, he stood “looking earnestly at the council” (Acts 23:1). The same Greek word, in both cases.

We look forward to the time when the children of God will be gathered around His heavenly throne. In that day we will gaze upon the glorified Son of God with awe and adoration. That is what Miss Thompson tried to capture, at least in part.

Significantly, the marks of Calvary were clearly evident after Christ’s resurrection. For doubting Thomas this was a final proof it was indeed the risen Lord who met with them (Jn. 20:24-28). And in one of John’s visions of heaven, Christ appears as “a Lamb as though it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6), eliciting these words of praise:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (vs. 11-13).

It seems likely that the scars of Christ’s crucifixion will still be visible in heaven, reminding us of the great cost of our salvation, and filling us anew with joyful praise and worship.

1) Gazing on the Lord in glory,
While our hearts in worship bow,
There we read the wondrous story
Of the cross, it’s shame and woe:

2) Ev’ry mark of dark dishonour
Heaped upon the thorn-crowned brow,
All the depths of Thy heart’s sorrow,
Told in answ’ring glory now!

3) On that cross, alone, forsaken,
Where no pitying eye was found;
Now, to God’s right hand exalted
With Thy praise the heav’ns resound!

Questions:
1) What have you gazed at recently that was a joy and a blessing?

2) Can you think of a couple of reasons why the disciples needed to stop gazing up into heaven in Acts 1:11?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | November 29, 2017

Where High the Heavenly Temple Stands

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: Michael Bruce (b. Mar. 27, 1746; d. July 5, 1767)
Music: Brookfield, by Thomas Bishop Southgate (b. June 8, 1814; d. Nov. 3, 1868)

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

Note: Some old hymn books (and Hymnary.org) try to compromise, and credit the hymn to both Bruce and Logan, but careful research has removed any reasonable doubt that Logan stole the credit for himself of something that was not his property. The story is below.

It happens once in awhile. One person builds an addition on his house. Nicely done, quite attractive. But his neighbour says there’s been a mistake. That his property line cuts right through the middle of the addition. And a subsequent survey shows that to be the case.

So it wasn’t the builder’s property, and he had no right to use it. It’s to be hoped, when this happens, the neighbours can reach a satisfying resolution of the problem, but sometimes, sadly, they don’t. There can be hurt feelings on both sides, friends become enemies, and reputations are soiled by a unseemly squabble.

This struggle over property rights has shown up in another arena: popular music. It may relate to similar phrases in the lyrics of two songs, or be something in the tunes, or in the arrangements of the tunes, even sometimes in background sound effects. Many legal battles have been waged over the unlawful copying of a song. But it’s far from simple. There can be a blurred line between inspired by, and stolen from!

So what about our hymn writers? Would they stoop to stealing someone else’s songs? Aren’t they Christians? As to the latter question, no, not always. But that is only part of the story. Even genuine Christians can sometimes stray, and do foolish, and even illegal things. As for a Scotsman named John Logan (1748-1788), whether or not he was a born again Christian, that’s for the Lord to decide. But here’s the unsavory story of what he did.

It involved another Scotsman, Michael Bruce, who was a fine poet, and also wrote a number of hymns. Bruce began training for the ministry, but he died at twenty-seven, before his training was completed. The two men named, Bruce and Logan, knew each other. And Logan went to his friend’s bereaved parents with a proposal.

John Logan asked for the handwritten manuscript of Michael Bruce’s writings, saying he wanted to publish them for the benefit of the family. They readily agreed. And three years later, a book of poems was published under Bruce’s name but, for some unexplained reason, the hymns he’d written were omitted.

Meanwhile, Logan himself had become a clergyman. And the Bruce family wrote to him and requested a return of the manuscript copy of their son’s work, but their letters went unanswered. Then, Mr. Bruce himself went and asked for the material, but was told the servants must have accidentally used the pages in the kitchen to singe fowl!

However, eleven years afterward, Logan published a second book that included some of his own writings, plus the missing hymns of Michael Bruce–which he claimed as his own creations. That he was a man of questionable character is evident. And John Logan eventually got himself in other trouble. A play he wrote was banned because it was ruled to promote rebellion, and he was forced to resign his pastorate.

Not a nice story. But below is part of a hymn by Michael Bruce, based on Hebrews 4:14-16, which says:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The Lord knows and understands the struggles we have. He went through them too. And He invites us to come boldly (with cheerful confidence) to the throne of God, seeking the grace and mercy available there to help us.

CH-1) Where high the heavenly temple stands,
The house of God not made with hands,
A great High Priest our nature wears,
The Guardian of mankind appears.

CH-3) Though now ascended up on high,
He bends on earth a brother’s eye;
Partaker of the human name,
He knows the frailty of our frame.

CH-5) In every pang that rends the heart,
The Man of Sorrows had a part,
He sympathizes with our grief,
And to the sufferer sends relief.

CH-6) With boldness, therefore, at the throne,
Let us make all our sorrows known;
And ask the aid of heavenly power
To help us in the evil hour.

Questions:
1) What particular distress in your life are you glad Christ understands and has sympathy and compassion for you?

2) Is there a trial someone near you is going through that you can bring today to the throne of grace?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | November 27, 2017

Is My Name Written There?

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: Mary Ann Pepper Kidder (b. Mar. 16, 1820; d. Nov. 25, 1905)
Music: Frank Marion Davis (b. Jan. 23:1839; d. Aug. 1, 1896)

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

Note: Not a great deal is known of Mary Ann Pepper, who became Mrs. Mary Ann Kidder. There is even some confusion over the details of her life. Phil Kerr, in his usually reliable book Music in Evangelism (1962), says Mrs. Kidder was a Baptist, and she spent her entire life in Massachusetts. But preeminent scholar of hymnology, John Julian, in his massive (1,768 pages) Dictionary of Hymnology (1907), wrote that Kidder was a resident of New York City for 46 years, and she was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Until there’s more confirming data, I’m inclined to favour Julian, as he was half a century closer to her time.

If we hope to stay organized, making lists is a part of life. In many homes there’s a weekly shopping list, of groceries and toiletries, and more things to be purchased. There are also to-do lists of home projects or other activities we need to fit into our busy schedules. And at Christmas time, we may make a list of who we’re planning to give gifts to, and what the gifts might be.

Then, there are the “Top Ten” lists that describe either what’s the best or the most popular in various categories–books, movies, songs, and so on. In 1977, the first Book of Lists was published, with hundreds of lists, some fascinating, others bizarre. Lists of: the world’s greatest libel suits, of dogs that bite, of people accused of being Jack the Ripper, and much more.

In New York City, in the late nineteenth century, something called the Social Register was developed, a list of prominent families said to be the socially elite in polite society–mainly well-to-do, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS). The “Establishment.” To be on the list was seen to be a doorway to success; to be omitted from it could be a serious barrier.

But there’s another list of people that were hated, and facing mortal danger, rejected just because of their ethnic background. During the days of the Second World War in Europe, millions of Jews were imprisoned and killed by the Nazis. But one who did his part to prevent this slaughter was, remarkably, a prominent Nazi himself.

Oskar Schindler (1908-1974) was a German industrialist who operated several factories. And “Schindler’s List” identified Jews that he went out of his way to hire to work for him. Gradually, he took on the role of their protector. He used bribery and other means to keep them out of the clutches of the Gestapo, even, at one point setting up a hospital in the back of one of his factories to help Jews that were too old or sick to work. Before he was done, Oskar Schindler had saved the lives of twelve hundred Jews.

When we turn to the Bible, we find more lists. Because tribal identity in Israel was important, and associated with God-given tribal territories, there are lists of families with their tribes (Num. 1:1-4; Neh. 7:5). But God has His list, too, called the Book of Life. That may be the one referenced by the Lord Jesus, when He says:

“Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:2).

When we get to the book of Revelation, we find the Book of Life spoken of seven times. It soon becomes clear that this is a list of all who have, through faith, been granted eternal salvation.

“There shall by no means enter it [the heavenly kingdom] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

“Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

Given this eternal peril, there is some urgency to making sure that we are among those who will joyfully gather around the throne of God in the future. A jailer in Philippi asked the question one day, “What must I do to be saved?” And missionaries Paul and Silas responded, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:30-31). That is, believe that, when Christ died on the cross, He paid the debt of your sin in full (Jn. 3:16). The jailer and his family did just that (vs. 34).

In 1876, Mary Ann Kidder gave us a hymn about being found listed in the Book of Life.

CH-1) Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold;
I would make sure of heaven, I would enter the fold.
In the book of Thy kingdom, with its pages so fair,
Tell me, Jesus, my Saviour, is my name written there?

Is my name written there,
On the page white and fair?
In the book of Thy kingdom,
Is my name written there?

CH-2) Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea,
But Thy blood, O my Saviour, is sufficient for me;
For Thy promise is written, in bright letters that glow,
“Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow.”

Questions:
1) Are you confident today that your name is written in the Book of Life? (If not, please read God’s Plan of Salvation.)

2) Other than John 3:16, what is another great verse on the subject of salvation?

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

Posted by: rcottrill | November 24, 2017

We Saw Thee Not

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 Hampden Gurney (b. Aug. 15, 1802; d. Mar. 8, 1862)
Music: Knowles Shaw (b. Oct. 31, 1834; d. June 7, 1878)

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

Note: John Gurney was a British pastor. He is credited with publishing the final version of the hymn in 1851. The Cyber Hymnal says it’s a revision of a poem by Anne Rigby Richter, who died in 1857. However, W. J. Limmer Sheppard, in his book Great Hymns and Their Stories (1923) says the original was a poem by an unknown American poet, later revised in 1834 by a Mrs. Carus-Wilson, then still later by Gurney. Evangelist and song writer Knowles Shaw who composed the tune is best known for Bringing in the Sheaves.

How much of this old world’s history have you lived through? Twenty or thirty years? Seventy or eighty years? That’s not much of the totality of recorded history. It goes back thousands of years. Wouldn’t it be amazing to travel back through time and witness some events of the past?

Novelists have frequently made use of that theme. The Time Machine (1895), by English author H. G. Wells, became not only a popular book but a Hollywood film. In it, the central character actually moves forward in time, and he’s discouraged to find a dark and dangerous society up ahead. Madeleine L’Engle’s award winning novel, A Wrinkle in Time (1962), was a children’s adventure about time travel. And Jack Finney’s classic book, Time and Again (1970) is a romantic adventure about traveling back to New York City, in the 1880’s.

But these books and others like them are all fiction. What about seeing and hearing real history? In the nineteenth century the means of taking still photographs and, later, movies, were invented. Experimental sound recording began in 1860, and movies with sound in 1900–though it took more than two decades for the latter to become workable at a commercial level. Of earlier times than this we have only written records.

Of special significance to Christians is the fact that we have no photographs of the Lord Jesus, or sound recordings of His teaching. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we did!) But we do have the trustworthy record of the Bible, particularly the four Gospels that describe His days on this earth, books that include some extended times of teaching, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7).

But there’s something unusual about those four biographies that some may not have noticed. Though they cover the entire time Christ was on earth, all the way from before His birth to His ascension back into heaven again, much of the Gospel record deals with a single week of His life. In all, nearly a third (32.75%) of the Gospels is taken up with the Passion Week, from Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, to His death and resurrection a week later.

There was an incident at the time of Jesus’ resurrection that illustrates the issue of not being personally present to experience or confirm a historical event. The Lord appeared to His disciples at a time when one of them, Thomas, was absent, perhaps purchasing food or doing some other errand. When he returned, the others excitedly told him they had seen the risen Christ. But Thomas said he could not believe it.

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25).

Then, days later, Christ visited the disciples once more, when Thomas was present. He was then convinced (vs. 27-28). But the Lord gently chided him for his reluctance to believe, saying, ““Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vs. 29)–which includes each one of us, today.

We were not actually there. Separated by nearly two thousand years from those events, we know about them through the inspired record. We’re those who, Jesus says, “will believe in Me through their words” (Jn. 17:20). Among the New Testament authors, Peter and John were witnesses of those long-ago events.

“We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty [at His Transfiguration]” (II Pet. 1:16).

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life [Christ]…that which we have seen and heard we declare to you” (I Jn. 1:1, 3a).

The present hymn is based on the Lord’s comment to Thomas in John 20:29. The song describes different events in Jesus life, saying, “We saw Thee not…but we believe.”

CH-1) We saw Thee not when Thou didst come
To this poor world of sin and death;
Nor yet beheld Thy cottage home,
In that despisèd Nazareth.
But we believe Thy footsteps trod
Its streets and plains, Thou Son of God.

CH-2) We did not see Thee lifted high,
Amid that wild and savage crew;
Nor heard Thy meek, imploring cry,
“Forgive, they know not what they do!”
Yet we believe the deed was done,
That shook the earth and veiled the sun.

CH-3) We stood not by the empty tomb,
Where late Thy sacred body lay;
Nor sat within that upper room,
Nor met Thee on the open way.
But we believe that angels said,
“Why seek the living with the dead?”

May we be among those who see Him, by faith and, “though now [we] do not see Him [physically], yet believing, [we] rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:8).

Questions:
1) Other than Christ’s death and resurrection, which scene during His earthly stay would you most wish you had witnessed?

2) Is there a special way we are blessed by having to trust in God’s Word, rather than being there to see Christ at the time?

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

Older Posts »

Categories