Posted by: rcottrill | July 12, 2010

Today in 1843 – Ralph Hudson Born

Born in Ohio, Ralph Hudson was a lay preacher and gospel musician in the late nineteenth century. He also served as an army nurse in the American Civil War, later going on write and compile books of gospel songs.

Ralph Erskine Hudson often took old hymns, set them to a bouncy gospel tune, and added a refrain. (This was not always an improvement! See the second item under Today in 1837.) The praise song Blessed Be the Name was written by William H. Clarke, of whom we know nothing. Hudson provided the tune, adding a refrain that Donald P. Hustad calls “one of those ‘wandering choruses’ that was appended to many different sets of words” (Dictionary-Handbook to Hymns for the Living Church, p. 47).

All praise to Him who reigns above
In majesty supreme,
Who gave His Son for man to die,
That He might man redeem!

Blessèd be the name! Blessèd be the name!
Blessèd be the name of the Lord!
Blessèd be the name! Blessèd be the name!
Blessèd be the name of the Lord!

His name above all names shall stand,
Exalted more and more,
At God the Father’s own right hand,
Where angel hosts adore.

Redeemer, Saviour, Friend of man
Once ruined by the fall,
Thou hast devised salvation’s plan,
For Thou hast died for all.

(2) Today in 1873 – Lydia Leech Born
Lydia Shivers Leech wrote the second and third stanzas of a gospel song that came out of great tragedy in the life of another song writer. Adam Geibel was born in Germany in 1855. When he was 8 years old, an eye infection left him blind. The family emigrated to America a few years later and, in spite of his disability, Adam grew up to be a successful composer, conductor and organist with many hymn tunes to his credit (such as the tune Geibel for Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus).

Then, on Easter week-end of 1911, his happy family life was shattered. Adam Geibel and his wife, along with their daughter and her husband, had planned to spend a vacation together. But the Geibels’ son-in-law was killed in an industrial accident while trying to save the lives of his coworkers. Adam Geibel was crushed by a weight of sorrow that lasted for a long time.

But one day friends noticed the man’s peace and joy had been restored, seemingly overnight. He said that the night before, he was praying about his personal struggle, feeling he couldn’t continue to bear the weight of it. He said the Lord Himself seemed to say to him, “Adam, someday you’ll understand all about it, for someday I’ll make it plain to you.” As the Bible puts it, “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now [we] know in part, but then [we] shall know just as [we] also [are] known” (I Cor. 13:12).

That assurance was the restorative he needed. He sat down at the piano and wrote the first verse and chorus of the gospel song, Someday He’ll Make It Plain to Me. He sent this to Lydia Shivers Leech, who added the remaining stanzas.

I do not know why oft ’round me
My hopes all shattered seem to be;
God’s perfect plan I cannot see,
But some day I’ll understand.

Some day He’ll make it plain to me,
Some day when I His face shall see;
Some day from tears I shall be free,
For some day I shall understand.

I cannot tell the depth of love,
Which moves the Father’s heart above;
My faith to test, my love to prove,
But some day I’ll understand.


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