Marlatt (1892 - 19767) was a professor of religion at the Boston University Theological Seminary School of Religious Education when he was asked in 1925 to write an original hymn for a consecration service. The text he wrote was based on Christ's pointed question to His disciples. Just before Jesus went to the cross, the mother of James and John came to Him to ask if her sons could be given a prominent place in His coming kingdom. In response, the Lord asked them, "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?", a reference to His suffering and death. And the men answered, "We are able" (Matt. 20:22). Knowing now what was about to happen to them in coming days, we can see their self confidence as somewhat naive. In truth, when the time of testing came, "all the disciples forsook Him and fled" (Matt. 26:56). But we also know that in later years, strengthened by the Spirit of God, one after another faced persecution and even death with holy boldness. And it is only in the strength of the Spirit that we today are able to put on the whole armor of God and stand with the Master in difficult times. The hymn was originally titled "Challenge." It is said to have inspired many young people to Christian service in the early to mid 20th century. A Bishop Hardt confirms this, "Mere words cannot begin to recapture the power and abiding love which the familiar words 'Are Ye Able' brought to generations of Methodist young people. Perhaps young persons in generations yet to come may again find the eternal spirit of Christ speaking to them through these inspiring words." Being a Child of God has many special blessings, such as peace, love, guidance, hope, companionship, strength, joy and His presence. But we are also involved in a spiritual war. And while we are on the victory side, we must learn to rely on our Master and His strength. May our prayer be, ""Lord, we are able, our spirits are Thine, Remold them, make us like Thee, divine. Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God, to love and loyalty."
1 "Are ye able," said the Master,
"To be crucified with me?"
"Yea," the sturdy dreamers answered,
"To the death we follow Thee."
Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.
2 Are ye able to remember,
When a thief lifts up his eyes,
That his pardoned soul is worthy
Of a place in paradise? [Refrain]
3 Are ye able when the shadows
Close around you with the sod,
To believe that spirit triumphs,
To commend your soul to God? [Refrain]
4 Are ye able? Still the Master
Whispers down eternity,
And heroic spirits answer,
Now as then in Galilee. [Refrain]
Listen to it here. ARE YE ABLE