Monday, November 26, 2007

A Very Old Hymn and How It Affected Me

A Sunday night church service in a little church in Calumet City,Illinois.
The pastor announced the hymn and told us where to look in the hymnal.
I thought,I really don't want to sing some obscure hymn,I would rather sing a chorus or something more familiar.

The piano player played the first few opening notes.Then I remembered,I know this a little.
The congregation started singing,I just listened for a bit.
Then,something hit me,I did not know what.I was dumb stuck as I listened to the people singing.It seemed these kind of lyrics had been on my heart for a long time.
Perhaps it seems corny to you,to me it was a moment God wanted me to remember and I have all these many years later.

The service ended,I took my family home.
The hymn stayed on my mind.
Later that night I told my wife I had to go back to the church for a few minutes.
I went back,snapped on a few lights,grabbed a hymnbook and looked up Christ Returneth.
(You can click this link and hear the tune and see the words)

What hit was the sincerity of the author,we had shared the same thoughts,the same longing for Jesus.

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory
To receive from the world His own.
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song?

Christ returneth, Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! Amen.

It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives His own.

O joy! O delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread, and no crying,
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives His own. O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song?

Christ returneth, Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! Amen.

Now I listen to obscure hymns,I think of Jesus by the campfire singing the old hymns and spiritual songs.
This hymn has stuck with me all these years,through losses,gains,spiritual victories and defeats,it is like an old friend.

James McGranahan (1840-1907) was an American Gospel song and hymn writer. Wrote the music for such familiar hymns as "Christ Returneth!," "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing," and "The Banner of the Cross," and both the words and music for "Verily, Verily," and "Go Ye into All the World." Edited fifteen hymn books. Singing evangelist with Major D. W. Whittle for eleven years.

1 comment:

robert said...

Greetings from Wordwise Hymns. It's interesting how a hymn can strike us in a memorable way, at a particular time. I've had that experience too. The text of the song you mention was written by H. L. Turner and first published in 1878. We know nothing of him, not even his full name.

I'm not sure I'd call a 133-year-old hymn "very old," though. :-) Our hymns go back a long way. Isaac Watts gave us "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" more than 300 years ago.

In any event, glad Turner's song was a blessing to you. If you're interested in learning more about our hymns and gospel songs, drop by my site. God bless.