Posted by: rcottrill | July 25, 2011

Even Me

Words: Elizabeth Harris Codner (b. _____, 1824; d. Mar. 28, 1919)
Music: William Batchelder Bradbury (b. Oct. 6, 1816; d. Jan. 7, 1868)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Author Elizabeth Harris married a pastor, Rev. Daniel Codner. She wrote her hymn in the summer of 1860, and it was published the following year. Mrs. Codner’s original hymn had seven stanzas. Most books currently use only four (CH-1, 2, 3 and 6. Occasionally, CH-4 is included, rounding out the Trinitarian structure that deals with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.) You can see all seven on the Cyber Hymnal link. Notice, in the stanza on the Holy Spirit, how she accurately reflects the Spirit’s ministry of glorifying Christ (cf. Jn. 16:14).

CH-4) Pass me not, O mighty Spirit!
Thou canst make the blind to see;
Witnesser of Jesus’ merit,
Speak the Word of power to me;
Even me, even me,
Speak the Word of power to me.

Even me. It’s a phrase that’s also used effectively in Philip Bliss’s Jesus Loves Even Me. As an expression of humility, it recognizes the total unworthiness of the supplicant. It’s as though the one praying is saying, “Lord, you’re blessing many others so freely. As for me, in myself, I’m not worthy of the least of your favours. But perhaps, as the blessings rain down, You could spare a few drops even for me.”

It reminds me of an incident in the Gospels, when a Syro-Phoenician woman sought the Lord’s help for her demon possessed daughter (Matt. 15:21-28). She was a Gentile, and therefore had no right to the covenant blessings promised to the Jews. The Lord Jesus reminded her that His ministry was to Israel (vs. 24) and, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (vs. 26). It was not said unkindly, but to test her faith. And she passed with flying colours, saying:

“Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

All right, if she was, in His imagery, just a little dog under the table, even they had access to the crumbs that fell. The implication is powerful: that just a crumb of His mighty power would be sufficient to heal her daughter–even her. Christ not only delivered her daughter, but commended her for her great faith (vs. 28).

CH-1) Lord, I hear of showers of blessing,
Thou art scattering full and free;
Showers the thirsty land refreshing;
Let some drops now fall on me;
Even me, even me,
Let some drops now fall on me.

Whenever a believer is confronted by the holiness of God, there is a sense of sinfulness and inadequacy. It happened to the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-5), and to Peter (Lk. 5:3-9). And Elizabeth Codner prays with a similar sense of her own unworthiness.

CH-2) Pass me not, O gracious Father,
Sinful though my heart may be;
Thou mightst leave me, but the rather;
Let Thy mercy light on me;
Even me, even me,
Let Thy mercy light on me.

CH-5) Have I been in sin long sleeping,
Long been slighting, grieving Thee?
Has the world my heart been keeping?
O forgive and rescue me;
Even me, even me,
O forgive and rescue me.

This is a fine hymn. And stanzas that have been often omitted deserve our attention too. Try printing up all the words, and have a group of believers sing it at the beginning of a time of prayer.

Questions:
1) The reference to “showers of blessing” (also used in Daniel Whittle’s song of that name), comes from a promise of actual refreshing rains to fall upon the land of Israel, during the coming reign of the Messiah (Ezek. 34:25-30). If this is applied in a secondary sense to the spiritual blessings God showers on Christians today, what might it include?

2) What are some things that can hinder the full appropriation and enjoyment of God’s blessings in the believer’s life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


Responses

  1. What a magnificent hymn! I had never heard it before, and it is not in the 1991 Baptist Hymnal, so I had to look it up. The only thing about it that is a bit off-putting (and not much so) is the odd meter (87.87.3). This hymn could work well as an altar call.

    • Thanks for your comments. Personally, I don’t see a problem with the metre. It is unique–but there are a number of tunes like that. Beautiful, reverent tune. And I can’t hear it without thinking back to the 1960’s when I sang it with the Ambassador Male Choir, in Toronto. At one point, we had 16 second basses, who could rumble along on the lowest notes of the chord. It sounded like a pipe organ! Wow! Most of those men are with the Lord now, including the director. But I still have fond (and sometimes hilarious) memories of touring with them.

  2. I just remembered the hymn–“I am so glad that our father in heaven”–which is very dear to me. The chorus goes like this:

    “I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
    Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me.
    I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
    Jesus loves even me.”

    Another song, my mom’s favorite hymn was, “Jesus, My Sav­ior, to Beth­le­hem Came.” Every stanza shows how many wonderful things Jesus has done for “ME”

    • Thanks for sharing. The first song mentioned is “Jesus Loves Even Me,” by Philip Bliss. I’ve sung it many times as a solo. The secont (your mother’s favourite) is actually called “Seeking for Me.” Interestingly, we only know the initials of the author (A. N.), and know it was written some time in the 1800’s.Excellent words. God bless.


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