Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) is primarily known for her novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which she wrote and first appeared in The National Era in 1852. She was intensely interested in the abolition of slavery and this led her to write this well known book which brought her national attention. It is considered by many to be one of the factors that ultimately led to the Civil War. The Stowe's home in Cincinnati was a station on the Underground Railroad. However, it wasn't her novel that is the reason that we feature her this week, but what happened as a result of one of her daily habits. Every morning she would rise at 4:30 am and take a walk in the silence before the rush of the day. During that time she would enjoy hearing the birds sing and seeing the dawn break. But more importantly, she would commune with Jesus. If you are a morning person you may be able to relate yo the beauty of such moments. Personally, I used to walk early every morning and spend time with the Lord in those quiet moments. It was a very special time. Unfortunately, I had several unexpected close encounters with skunks in the dark - none of which sprayed me - but that was enough to make me change my habit. In the summer of 1853, when Stowe was visiting at the home of a friend, the results of her experiences of meditation while walking in the early morning hours led her to pen the words of this week's featured song, "Still, Still With Thee". This is the only hymn by Harriet Beecher Stowe to survive in common use. However, many hymnologists believe that for sheer poetic beauty, there is probably not a single American hymn that can excel it. As we are drawn into the silence of the dawn where we can be alone with the Lord, it is as if we are telling Him that there is no greater blessing in this life than being "Still, Still With Thee." "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!….When I awake, I am still with Thee" (Ps. 139.17-18). The words of her poem were put to music by Felix Mendelssohn, but many different tunes have since been used by various musicians. Now maybe you aren't a morning person and haven't experienced this morning, quiet meeting with the Lord. But, hopefully, you regularly share another intimate time with him throughout your day. If you do, then you should be able to appreciate and relate to the sweetness of this meeting which Stowe describes. What a thrill to know that we can meet with Him at anytime and in any place. And even more amazing is the fact that He is always there and ready to meet with us.
1. Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.
2. Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.
3. As in the dawning o'er the waveless ocean
The image of the morning star doth rest,
So in the stillness Thou beholdest only
Thine image in the waters of my breast.
4. Still, still with Thee, as to each newborn morning,
A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
So does this blessèd consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and Heaven.
5. When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eye looks up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose beneath the wings o'ershading,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.
6. So shall it be at last, in that bright morning,
When the soul waketh and life's shadows flee;
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee.
Listen to it here. LISTEN1