November 1, 2020

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

 


 Today’s hymn is a tune that I am familiar with, but not the words.  I was researching songs to use for this weekly segment, and saw the title of the tune, thinking it was a different song.

It’s much like when you pick a song on YouTube to play, and walk away. YouTube will sometimes play an ad for a different song before playing your selection. But if you’re away from the screen, and all you hear is the music, it throws you off a bit because it’s not what you were expecting.

Wikipedia tells us this about the hymn:

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" is a Christian hymn originally written by preacher Joseph M. Scriven as a poem in 1855 to comfort his mother, who was living in Ireland while he was in Canada. Scriven originally published the poem anonymously, and only received full credit for it in the 1880s. The tune to the hymn was composed by Charles Crozat Converse in 1868. William Bolcom composed a setting of the hymn.

The hymn also has many versions with different lyrics in multiple languages. The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal notes, "In spite of the fact that this hymn, with its tune, has been criticized as being too much on the order of the sentimental gospel type, its popularity remains strong, and the hymn retains a place in modern hymnals." In some settings, the lyrics have been matched to other tunes such as the Welsh "Calon Lân" (originally wedded to the Welsh poem translated as "A Pure Heart").

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer




The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints uses this tune for a hymn titled “Isreal, Isreal God Is Calling”  I’ll share both hymns today for your comparison.

Isreal, Isreal, God Is Calling
Words by Richard Smyth, 1838-1914
 
                        
Israel, Israel, God is calling,                         
Calling thee from lands of woe.                         
Babylon the great is falling;                         
God shall all her tow’rs o’erthrow.
                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion                         
Ere his floods of anger flow.                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion                         
Ere his floods of anger flow.                   
                        
Israel, Israel, God is speaking.                         
Hear your great Deliv’rer’s voice!                         
Now a glorious morn is breaking                         
For the people of his choice.
                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion,                         
And within her walls rejoice.                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion,                         
And within her walls rejoice.                     
                        
Israel, angels are descending                         
From celestial worlds on high,                         
And to man their pow’r extending,                         
That the Saints may homeward fly.
                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion,                         
For your coming Lord is nigh.                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion,                         
For your coming Lord is nigh.                     
                    
Israel! Israel! Canst thou linger                         
Still in error’s gloomy ways?                         
Mark how judgment’s pointing finger                         
Justifies no vain delays.
                         
Come to Zion, come to Zion!                         
Zion’s walls shall ring with praise.                       
Come to Zion, come to Zion!                         
Zion’s walls shall ring with praise.
                     
        



I am always open to suggestions for songs to be used, as well as other suggestions you might have for the blog. If you would rather not share that info in the comments, you may email your suggestions.









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