Posted by: rcottrill | June 10, 2019

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Charles Wesley (b. Dec. 18, 1707; d. Mar. 29, 1788)
Music: Aberystwyth ( or Parry) Joseph Parry (b. May 21, 1841; d. Feb. 17, 1903)

Links:
Words for the Pilgrim Way (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The tune Martyn, by Simeon Marsh (1798-1875) is used in some hymn books, but the Welsh tune Aberystwyth is superior, if your congregation can handle it.

If you enjoy really fine singing, check out here the clip of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in 1935’s Naughty Marietta, singing the song discussed below. There seems to be a problem synchronizing picture and sound but, make no mistake, that is them singing, and they are terrific–especially MacDonald. This kind of mastery of the art of singing seems harder to find today.

Composer Victor Herbert (1859-1924) is considered one of the pioneers in American musical theatre. In 1910, his most popular operetta, Naughty Marietta, debuted on Broadway. It later became an Oscar winning movie. In the story, the Countess Marietta and Captain Warrington sing a passionate duet called Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.

Life has many mysteries, many things that puzzle and perplex us. Big ones such as: Why am I here? What is life’s purpose? What moral standard should guide me through life? What is ahead after this life is through? And more immediate and practical issues, such as: Where will I live? Where go to church? What job opportunities should I pursue?

But what’s the great mystery of life, according to the song just mentioned? What is it all the world is seeking? The couple sings:

Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you,
Ah! I know at last the secret of it all;
All the longing, seeking, striving, waiting, yearning,
The burning hopes, the joy and idle tears that fall!

And the object of this desperate and universal search, according to the song?

‘Tis love, and love alone, the world is seeking,
And ’tis love, and love alone, that can repay!
‘Tis the answer, ’tis the end and all of living,
For it is love alone that rules for aye!

There may indeed be something else you would identify as life’s greatest mystery, but that one certainly has merit. To be loved, and able to return that love, is a major factor in finding meaning, fulfilment and satisfaction in life. Yet individuals often try many other things that prove inadequate.

The Lord knows about love and how we need it. In the Bible some form of words such as love and beloved are found about six hundred times.

There we’re told of an eternal inter-Trinitarian love. God the Father loved the Son (Jn. 3:35), and spoke of Him from heaven three times as “My beloved Son” (Lk. 3:22; 9:35; 20:13). And the Son told of His love for the Father (Jn. 14:31). That love has always been, and always will be.

Then there is the Lord’s love for lost sinners, and His desire to provide a way of salvation for them. The familiar John 3:16 speaks of it. And “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8)

It stands to reason the Lord will also have a special, family love for those who’ve become His children, through faith in Christ. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (I Jn. 3:1). And “Christ…loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25).

And what about our own love? When asked which was the greatest commandment in the Jewish Law, Christ said it was the command to love God (Matt. 22:37-38)–a love to be demonstrated by our obedience to Him (Jn. 14:21). And finally, there is our love for others, which the Lord Jesus said is a second significant commandment like the one to love God (Matt. 22:39).

There’s a hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) that some have ranked as perhaps the finest in the English language. I’d rank Isaac Watts’s When I Survey the Wondrous Cross right up there too. But, published in 1740, Jesus, Lover of My Soul deserves a very high place. It’s about the saving, protective, nurturing love of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which Paul wrote, “The Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

CH-1) Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last.

CH-2) Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

CH-5) Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.

Questions:
1) What is it about the love of the Lord that’s the most difficult to understand or accept?

2) What other hymn(s) would you rank as being among the best we have?

Links:
Words for the Pilgrim Way (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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