While my freshman year at college was many, many years ago, I still have some vivid memories of being away from home for extended periods for the first time in my life. I remember some of the homesickness which I encountered and I remember the anticipation of visits from my parents on Friday nights. I would wait for them with great anticipation and concern until I finally saw their faces. And what a relief that was. And I can recall many other experiences, especially times of waiting to see the face of my fiance/wife. What joy there was in my heart when I finally saw her face. And that same anticipation is something we should experience when we think of finally seeing our Savior face to face. The blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, often shared this expectation in her hymns, such as in "Face to Face shall I Behold Him". And this is the very same thought that motivated Norman Clayton (1903-1992) to pen the words of this week's hymn choice. He wrote, "We shall see His lovely face some bright golden morning ... Sorrow will be turned to joy, heartaches gone forever; no more night, only light, when we see His face." He continues, "God shall wipe away all tears some bright golden morning, no more crying, pain or death in that home of gladness, trials cease, all is peace, when we see His face." And he concludes, "Songs of vict'ry fill the skies in that hour of greeting, endless days, endless praise, when we see His face." The experience of finally seeing the face of a loved one can be a very special event, but it pales in the promise of what will happen when we finally see the face of our Lord. Now I have featured Clayton's songs before in this blog, but it might be helpful to once again share a little about him. Norman Clayton was born in Brooklyn, New York, the ninth of ten children. He was converted at the age of six in the South Brooklyn Gospel Church, where his mother had been a charter member. He was church organist by the age of 12 and he kept that position for the rest of his life. His profession was in the building industry, but he also created his own publishing house, Gospel Songs, which was later absorbed into the Rodeheaver Company. During that time he authored many well known songs. It is said that his usual practice was to write the music first before writing the words. In order to create songs worthy of His Lord, Clayton made it his practice to memorize scripture, so his songs would have a strong Biblical basis. In 1992, at the age of 92, Clayton finally experienced personally the thrill of what he had written when he passed into eternity and saw His Lord face to face. May we live daily in the anticipation that this could be the day that we also experience that awesome event. What a day that will be!
(1) We shall see His lovely face some bright golden morning,
When the clouds have rifted and the shades have flown;
Sorrow will be turned to joy, heartaches gone forever;
No more night, only light, when we see His face.
(2) God shall wipe away all tears some bright golden morning,
When the journey's ended, and the course is run;
No more crying, pain or death in that home of gladness,
Trials cease, all is peace, when we see His face.
(3) We shall meet to part no more, some bright golden morning,
At the gates of glory where our loved ones stand;
Songs of vict'ry fill the skies in that hour of greeting,
Endless days, endless praise, when we see His face.
I had real difficulty finding a video presentation of this Gospel song, but I did find a beautiful recording of it done by the White Sisters who were one of my favorite singing groups early in my life. You can listen to them here. LISTEN