Posted by: rcottrill | January 4, 2016

A Few More Marchings Weary

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Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; d. Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: William Howard Doane (b. Feb. 3, 1832; d. Dec. 23, 1915)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Little used now, this 1882 song reflects both the struggles of the Christian life, and the glorious hope of our home in heaven.

One of the most significant aspects of war is troop movement. Moving large battalions efficiently, over considerable distances, sometimes over difficult terrain, so that they are in position to fight effectively, presents complex logistical problems that the military studies constantly and carefully. Alexander the Great was a master of the swift deployment of his troops.

Earlier, in days of preparation, soldiers may complain about the harshness of basic training, when they are called upon to engage in long, weary marches, over and under obstacles, carrying rifles and heavy backpacks. But in the field, their conditioning and endurance will enable them to move more quickly into position, and be alert and ready to fight when they do.

Another factor: A force cannot fight for long if it moves beyond its supply line. It must have a constantly renewed and renewable supply of manpower, transportation, food, fuel, weaponry, and so on. Napoleon failed in his invasion of Russia precisely because of faulty logistics. His troops moved too far from their source of supply, and were ill prepared for the long distances and harsh winter weather they faced.

In the Bible, the Christian’s life and ministry is pictured as a titanic battle. Not with other human beings, first of all, although there are certainly those who oppose the cause of Christ. But, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” Eph. 6:12).

Satan and his demon army rage against the Lord and all who belong to him. If we are to be successful, we must avail ourselves of the equipment God supplies. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”–there is our source of supply, the Lord Himself. “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil….that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:10-11, 13).

As to the preparation of the long marches and arduous duties of the Christian warrior, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (II Tim. 2:4). We are to “fight the good fight of faith” (I Tim. 6:12). “Exert all your strength in the honourable struggle for the faith,” says Weymouth’s translation.

Hymn writer Fanny Crosby wrote an insightful little song making use of that military imagery. And notice, in the refrain, there will be “No more marchings weary” in our eternal home. The song says:

CH-1) A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!
A few more storm clouds dreary, then we’ll gather home!
A few more days the cross to bear,
And then with Christ a crown to wear;
A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!

O’er time’s rapid river, soon we’ll rest forever;
No more marchings weary when we gather home!

CH-2) A few more nights of weeping, then we’ll gather home!
A few more watches keeping, then we’ll gather home!
A few more vict’ries over sin,
A few more sheaves to gather in,
A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!

If you know anything about Fanny Crosby, you know of her tremendous output. She wrote around 8,500 hymns and gospel songs. Even today, evangelical hymn books often contain more of her work than that of most other authors. (I counted them, recently, in Great Hymns of the Faith. It has twenty-three of her songs in it.)

Another thing you may know about Fanny is that she was blind from infancy. And if you’ve seen pictures of her, you know that she seems a frail little woman–but she was tough and determined–and immensely gifted. She wrote the present hymn when she was sixty-two, in an era of much shorter life spans than today. But her marchings for the Lord were not done yet. She continued to give us songs for another three decades. Then, she was “gathered home.”

The final stanza of the song speaks of the partings here on earth that death brings.

CH-3) A few more sweet links broken, then we’ll gather home!
A few more kind words spoken, then we’ll gather home!
A few more partings on the strand,
And then away to Canaan’s land:
A few more marchings weary, then we’ll gather home!

1) What does this song suggest to you about the Christian life?

2) What are some hymns that offer a more positive vision of the Christian’s pilgrimage?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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