Posted by: rcottrill | May 14, 2014

Meet Me There

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Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 11, 1915)
Music: William James Kirkpatrick (b. Feb. 27, 1838; d. Sept. 20, 1921)


Wordwise Hymns
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Note: This hymn was first published in 1885, and credited–until well into the twentieth century–to someone named Henrietta E. Blair. But that was simply one of dozens of pen names used by Fanny Crosby.

The incident that led to the writing of this hymn is telling. It illustrates how songs often grew out of particular circumstances and encounters in the lives of the hymn writers. Their minds are tuned to see such things as illustrations of spiritual truth, and turn them into songs to share.

Gospel musician William Kirkpatrick (“Kirkie” to his friends) dropped in to see Fanny Crosby one day. After staying only a few minutes, he got up to take his leave. To which Fanny responded in disappointment, “Oh, dear, it’s nothing but meeting and parting in the is world, isn’t it?” The smiling Kirkpatrick replied, “Well, I will not say, as Bliss did, ‘Meet me at the fountain.’” (He was referring to one of Philip Bliss’s lesser known songs, “Will you meet me at the fountain, / When I reach the glory land?”) “But,” continued Kirkpatrick, “I will say, ‘Where the tree of life is blooming,’ meet me there.”

The latter may possible be an allusion to a lovely song called Rest for the Weary, by Samuel Young Harmer (1809-1884), which was published in 1856. In any event, the comment inspired Fanny to write her own song about heaven, and later Mr. Kirkpatrick supplied the tune.

CH-1) On the happy, golden shore,
Where the faithful part no more,
When the storms of life are o’er, meet me there;
Where the night dissolves away
Into pure and perfect day,
I am going home to stay–meet me there.

Meet me there, meet me there,
Where the tree of life is blooming, meet me there;
When the storms of life are o’er,
On the happy golden shore,
Where the faithful part no more, meet me there.

The phrase, “where the faithful part no more” is found in CH-1, then picked up in the refrain. In the heavenly kingdom “there shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4), so the most painful parting of all will no longer sever loving ties. When we are caught up into the presence of our glorified Saviour, “we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thess. 4:17). As Fanny puts it, “I am going home to stay.” It’s a wonderful word of “comfort” (vs. 18).

CH-2) Here our fondest hopes are vain,
Dearest links are rent in twain,
But in heav’n no throb of pain–meet me there;
By the river sparkling bright
In the city of delight,
Where our faith is lost in sight, meet me there.

Things such as disappointed hopes, and the rending of dear relationships (CH-2) are an all too common thing. But in heaven there will be “no throb of pain.” It’s put forcefully in Revelation, so there’s no mistaking it: “There shall be no more pain” (Rev. 21:4). As Philips’ paraphrase has it: “Never again shall there be sorrow or crying or pain” (italics mine).

Here on earth, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). But, in heaven, what has been long hoped for will be realized. “Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (I Cor. 13:12). There is “where our faith is lost in sight” (CH-2).

CH-3) Where the harps of angels ring,
And the blest forever sing,
In the palace of the King, meet me there;
Where in sweet communion blend
Heart with heart and friend with friend,
In a world that ne’er shall end, meet me there.

Two things catch our attention in the final stanza. The heavenly city will be filled with beautiful music, and with warm fellowship. Likely we have all heard some gloriously beautiful music here on earth, but the chorus of united praise in heaven will surpass it all. As to the “sweet communion” there, we will enjoy a richness of fellowship based on a greater understanding of ourselves and of others. And there will be a special joy in meeting those in heaven whom we had some part in bringing to Christ. The Apostle Paul writes of this:

“What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (I Thess. 2:19-20).

It’s my hope and prayer that you, the reader, with “meet me there, where the tree of life is blooming” (Rev. 22:2-3).

1) What parting in recent months has given you particular pain?

2) In addition to the Lord Jesus, whom are you looking forward to meeting in heaven?


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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