Posted by: rcottrill | September 26, 2012

My Home, Sweet Home

Words: Napoleon Bonaparte Vandall (b. Dec. 28, 1896; d. Aug. 24, 1970)
Music: Napoleon Bonaparte Vandall

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (none)

Note: The Wordwise Hymns link talks about this song, and provides a secondary link to Vandall’s other beautiful gospel song, After, and the story of its connection with his family life. Mr. Vandall, an evangelist with the Church of the Nazarene, went home to be with the Lord in 1970, at the age of seventy-four. His wife passed away three years later.

Now and then, the writing of a hymn is closely connected with a prior hymn or hymn writer. There’s an interesting connection, if a little more remote, in this case. Napoleon Vandall was saved in 1920 at the Christian camp at Sebring, Ohio. It was there that another hymn writer frequently ministered. Anne May Sebring Murphy, a member of the Sebring family that founded the town, wrote the gospel song Constantly Abiding, in 1908.

Though I can’t prove it, it’s almost certain that the two musicians knew one another. Anne Murphy wrote (in CH-3 of her song  Constantly Abiding) of the ongoing fellowship of the Lord Jesus “while here on His footstool I roam” (cf. Matt. 28:20). Because of this, even in times of suffering, she was able to say, “Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud, / I’ve a peace that has come here to stay!” (CH-1).

But Anne Murphy also looked forward to an eternity with the Lord Jesus, saying. “He’s coming to take me, some glorious day, over there to my heavenly home” (CH-3). When he too faced problems and difficulties, it was that prospect that especially cheered Napoleon Vandall.

1) Walking along life’s road one day,
I heard a voice so sweetly say,
“A place up in heav’n I am building thee,
A beautiful, beautiful home.”

Home, sweet home, home, sweet home–
Where I’ll never roam!
I see the light of that city so bright–
My home, sweet home.

In his second stanza, Mr. Vandall notes two of the joys that await him in the heavenly city. First, he will be reunited with loved ones who have gone before (I Thess. 4:17; cf. 2:19). And second, he will participate with them in a ceremony of worship and praise described in the book of Revelation (Rev. 4:10-11).

The final stanza reflects upon the brevity of human life. That is certainly an important thing for the unsaved consider. This earthly life is over before we know it, while eternity is forever. It makes sense to do what we need to now to prepare for what’s ahead.

“‘All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (I Pet. 1:24-25).

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:1).

It is a warning. But the brevity of life can be a comfort to the believer. The trials we face, day by day, painful and difficult though they may be, will soon be behind us, lost in the glory of eternal day.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:16-18).

3) Life’s day is short–I soon shall go
To be with Him who loved me so;
I see in the distance that shining shore,
My beautiful, beautiful home.

1) This is a difficult question to answer, since we’re not as yet in our perfected eternal state, but how do you think you’ll feel when you first see the Lord Jesus Christ?

2) Beyond meeting our Saviour, what is it about our heavenly home that most interests you?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (none)


  1. Those sound like wonderful songs. Having been raised Nazarene, I feel an extra connection to them. But they aren’t in either of the Nazarene hymnals I own. Do you know where I could find the music?

    • Yes, both hymns can be found in either Living Hymns, or Great Hymns of the Faith, two hymn books that I’ve recommended from time to time. Thanks for asking, and God bless.

      • How interesting to note that this was written by a Nazarene evangelist. My husband and I have been Nazarene song evangelists and ministers of music for almost 50 years. This song has been on my mind recently. I learned it as a child and have not thought of it in years until the past few weeks. Thanks for sharing. Along the same line,,,do you know the old song “nearer home, nearer home..every day I’ve come a little nearer home”. I think the verse starts ” since I started on my journey toward that heavenly land”…thanks. P Showalter

      • Thanks for your intriguing note. I’ll get to the song you mention in a moment, but first I have a question for you. Is your husband any relation to the Anthony Showalter who wrote the tune for the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”? (See his biography in the Cyber Hymnal.) If there is a connection, I’d be interested in learning anything you can tell me about the gentleman mentioned.

        Now, as to the song, yes, I have a copy of a 1943 song book compiled by gospel song writer Charles Weigle, in which he includes the song–likely written the year before. Its proper title is “A Little Nearer Home, and the lyrics go like this:

        Since I started on my journey t’ward the heav’nly land,
        Where I’ll join the happy throng around God’s throne,
        I have met with many trials hard to understand,
        But each day I’ve come a little nearer home.

        Nearer home, nearer home,
        Ev’ry day I’ve come a little nearer home;
        Nearer home, nearer home,
        Ev’ry day I’ve come a little nearer home.

        I may pass through days of sorrow like a river deep,
        I may see the angry billows dash and foam;
        I may need to climb a pathway over mountain steep,
        But each day I’ve come a little nearer home.

        There are times as I press onward when the road seems long,
        But I think of when no longer I shall roam;
        Then my soul is filled with gladness and I sing my song,
        Ev’ry day I’ve come a little nearer home.

        So there you are! I do vaguely recall Mr. Weigle’s song, but I don’t think I’ve every used it myself. I’m more familiar with his, “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus.”

        Thanks for getting in touch. Drop by any time. And God bless you both.

      • Thank you for your swift reply re A Little Nearer Home. I can see the book it was in, in my minds eye. I believe it was red and yellow. This is a memory that is about 60 years old. I started piano at age six and began playing for congregational singing at age 9. Played for my first revival at another church accompanying a song evangelist at age 10. One of the people I accompanied sang A Little Nearer Home. What a beautiful memory. I am still involved playing every Sunday at the church where my husband is Minister of Music. A J Showalter is not related, as far as we know. We have not done research on that. Showalter is a rare name in most parts of the country, although there are many in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Many of them were Mennonite background. We met an Amish bishop in Virginia who was a Showalter. Thanks, again, for the info and words to A Little Nearer Home.
        God bless you and your ministry. Patty Showalter.

      • Hi, again. Thought you might have the answer…just received a call from a dear friend who is dealing with the soon loss of his wife due to cancer, unless God intervenes. He is trying to locate the song I Want the World to Otis skillings. I think it was co written by Eddie Smith. I am coming up with very little when I google it. I remember the song but not enough of the lyrics to be of help. Do you happen to have the words or could you guide me to a link? Thank you. Have a great day. Patty Showalter

      • H-m-m… Sorry to say, I came up empty too. You’re right about the co-author, Eddie Smith. And it looks like the song has a 1970 copyright. But I couldn’t actually find it anywhere, either in books I have or on the Net. Went to the Lillenas Publishing Company site, because they publish Skillings’ work, but couldn’t find the song there either. (You might try phoning them.) Even tried YouTube, and it looks as though there are a number of songs with that name, but I wasn’t sure which is the one you’re looking for.

        My resources and research mainly relate to the traditional hymns and gospel songs found in standard hymnals, and this is really outside that range. Hope you have success elsewhere. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

      • I appreciate your reply. Thank you for trying. Patty

  2. My mother requested the song “Home Sweet Home” be sung at her funeral. Was very difficult to find it recorded anywhere. We did find a couple but was wondering if you know of any recordings that can be heard on line. THANKS


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