Born in Ednam, near Kelso, in Scotland, Henry Francis Lyte abandoned early thoughts of a medical career in favour of Christian ministry. He served as a pastor in England, and was the author of many hymns. In his final pastorate, lasting 23 years, he laboured faithfully in the fishing village of Lower Brixham, Devonshire.
Two or three of his hymns are found in many hymn books: Abide with Me; Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken; and Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven. The latter, published in 1834, is based on Psalm 103. In more recent times, it was brought to prominence by a special occasion. The wedding of Queen Elizabeth II on November 20, 1947, took place on the hundredth anniversary of Lyte’s death. At (then Princess) Elizabeth’s request, the hymn was used for the Processional. (Coincidentally, on a personal note, June 1st is also the date of my own wedding anniversary. And my wife and I likewise used this hymn as our Processional.)
For couples preparing for marriage this is an option worth considering. What is commonly known as “Here Comes the Bride” has become the traditional music for the bridal procession. But that is actually the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, a secular opera by Richard Wagner–and the marriage in the story is a failure! If the tune Lauda Anima is used for Lyte’s hymn, and played at a stately walking pace, the song can serve to emphasize the spiritual dimension of a Christian wedding. The hymn begins:
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who, like me, His praise should sing?
Praise the everlasting King!
(2) It’s Just Like His Great Love (Data Missing)
Nothing is known about Edna R. Worrell, other than her name. (And even her middle initial is in doubt, some giving it as “R,” others as “H.”) It is possible she lived in the Philadelphia area, but that is uncertain too.
We do know that she produced a gospel song in 1903 called It’s Just Like His Great Love. As the title sugests, it’s about the depth and consistency of the Lord’s great love for His children. We marvel at His grace and patience, even in the face of our weakness and waywardness.
A friend I have called Jesus, whose love is strong and true,
And never fails howe’er ’tis tried, no matter what I do;
I’ve sinned against this love of His, but when I knelt to pray,
Confessing all my guilt to Him, the sin clouds rolled away.
It’s just like Jesus to roll the clouds away,
It’s just like Jesus to keep me day by day,
It’s just like Jesus all along the way,
It’s just like His great love.
Sometimes the clouds of trouble bedim the sky above,
I cannot see my Saviour’s face, I doubt His wondrous love;
But He, from heaven’s mercy seat, beholding my despair,
In pity bursts the clouds between, and shows me He is there.
O, I could sing forever of Jesus’ love divine,
Of all His care and tenderness for this poor life of mine;
His love is in and over all, and wind and waves obey,
When Jesus whispers “Peace, be still!” and rolls the clouds away.