Posted by: rcottrill | December 7, 2010

Today in 1845 – George Minor Born

Graphic Grain in FieldGeorge Austin Minor served in the military during the American Civil War. After the war he followed a career in music. He taught at singing schools and was a choral conductor. He also helped found the Hume-Minor Company that made pianos and organs. He attended the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, where he served as Sunday School superintendent.

One is tempted to pun that his contribution to gospel music was “minor,” since his name is found in our hymn books solely as the composer of the tune for Bringing in the Sheaves, written by Knowles Shaw. But without such obscure contributions by many, we would be unable to enjoy the hymns we have sung for so many years.

This particular gospel song is based on Ps. 126:5-6, in which the psalmist says:

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

The context refers to the Jews returning to the Holy Land, after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Their release from bondage was cause for great rejoicing (vs. 1-4). However, they found their homeland devastated, and once fertile fields overgrown with weeds. It would require months and years of labour and sacrifice to turn things around. And vs. 5-6 illustrate a spiritual principle. Seeing the fruit of changed lives in our service for Christ requires  patient, sacrificial effort, as we sow the seed of His Word.

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

(2) Today in 1877 – Caroline Noel Died
Caroline Maria Noel was the daughter of an English clergyman. Both her father, Gerard Thomas Noel (1782-1851), and her uncle, Baptist Wriothesley Noel (1799-1873) were pastors and hymn writers. Interestingly, the latter began his years of ministry as an Anglican, and then became a “Baptist.” 

Miss Noel’s most productive period of writing came in middle age, after she suffered from a prolonged illness. Miss Noel was an invalid for the last 25 years of her life, and died at the age of 60. She published a couple of volumes of verse, but is only known in hymnody for her hymn, At the Name of Jesus, reflecting Paul’s declaration in Philippians concerning Christ’s exaltation:

God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)

At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess Him King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call Him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

At His voice creation sprang at once to sight,
All the angel faces, all the hosts of light,
Thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,
All the heavenly orders, in their great array.

In your hearts enthrone Him; there let Him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true;
Crown Him as your Captain in temptation’s hour;
Let His will enfold you in its light and power.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With His Father’s glory, with His angel train;
For all wreaths of empire meet upon His brow,
And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.


Responses

  1. […] That passage became the basis for a fine hymn called At the Name of Jesus, written by Caroline Maria Noel. Miss Noel, the daughter of a pastor in England, tried her hand at writing poetry during her teens, but abandoned the practice for years afterward. Finally, in the last 25 years of her life, she was struck down and bedridden by a painful and crippling illness. As has sometimes happened, limitations in one aspect of her life caused her to pursue another. Caroline Noel once again began to exercise her poetic gifts, publishing a collection of verse in 1870 called The Name of Jesus, and other Verses for the Sick and Lonely. Her hymn is from the book. (For a bit more about Noel and this hymn, see the second item under Today in 1845.) […]

  2. Lutheran Service Book uses the tune KING’S WESTON by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It’s not an easy one to teach to a small congregation. I think if they chose the tune you featured, the text might get sung more often.


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