Posted by: rcottrill | February 1, 2010

Today in 1862 – Battle Hymn of the Republic published

This patriotic song, that became the battle cry of the Union in the American Civil War, first appeared in the February edition of The Atlantic Monthly, in 1862. The composer of the tune is unknown. It had been used for many different lyrics previously, including the abolitionist song that begins, “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave.” It was to give a more uplifting text to the fine tune that Julia Ward Howe wrote her Battle Hymn. For more on this song, see Today in 1861.

(2) Today in 1909 – Bev Shea Born
TGraphic Bev Sheahough he has been associated with American evangelist Billy Graham for about 60 years, George Beverly Shea was born in Winchester, Ontario, Canada. He has a rich baritone voice, enhanced by careful training. (Early on, his vocal coach was renowned operatic baritone John Charles Thomas.)

Mr. Shea’s style is plain and unaffected, uncluttered by vocal tricks or fancy arrangements. His diction is crisp and clear–you can understand every word. He looks his audience squarely in the eye and delivers a message, using music. A modest and godly man, to many of us he sets the standard. He defines what it means to minister in song, rather than simply perform. As of this writing, Bev has celebrated his 100th birthday, seems in good health, and is still singing.

The Wonder of It All is a song for which Bev Shea wrote both words and music. It celebrates the love of God for us as an incredible thing above all others.

There’s the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.

O the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all–
Just to think that God loves me!
The wonder of it all, the wonder of it all–
Just to think that God loves me!

The song most often associated with Bev Shea is his testimony song, I’d Rather Have Jesus. He wrote the tune to accompany a poem by Rhea Millar. Listen to this incomparable minister of the gospel below.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.


  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog!

    I’m so grateful for the technology of YouTube that allows us to see and hear this Godly man’s music!

    • You’re certainly welcome. And I agree. There are many bizarre things on YouTube (!), but by doing a careful search I’ve often been able to find fine renditions of the hymns I deal with. I thank the Lord for the added dimension it gives my daily blog.

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber Hymnal (Bev […]


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