Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, September 22, 2019


         In Mark 16:15 the Lord gives an important charge to his disciples. "And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."   But that charge is also given to all believers.  We are called to share the Gospel with others.  It is a charge for us to keep.  And that is the message of a hymn written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) in 1762.  It is one of about 6,500 hymns he is said to have written. This hymn is an unequivocal call to commitment to follow the Master and to fulfill our vocation through service. The language is unambiguous. Our calling is to save a "never dying soul" and "fit it for the sky" - that is for eternal life with Christ. This eschatological goal is central to Charles Wesley's hymns: Our goal is heaven.  In the second stanza, we find that we fulfill this calling by our service to "the present age." Fulfilling this calling requires us to engage "all our powers." The third stanza is a petition that God should "arm us with jealous care" as we live in God's sight. Wesley is not afraid to offer a stern admonition that we will one day be required to give "a strict account" of our activities in pursuit of our calling. Stanza 4 tells us that in order to keep our charge we must watch and pray.  Watching and praying teaches us to rely on God, and this is a necessity for us to keep our charge (1 Timothy 6.20}.  This is a relatively short song, but  it  impresses us with the fact that true Christianity is more than just "going to church" on Sunday, or even profiting from the worship, as important as that may be. It is a total commitment demonstrated in complete obedience to God's will.  Hymnology scholar Fred D. Gealy notes that there have been several attempts to alter the final lines in order to soften the ominous judgment that is implied. The Historical Companion to the influential Hymns Ancient and Modern concludes the hymn with these two lines:  "And let me ne'er my trust betray, But press to realms on high."    The British Methodist hymnal, Hymns and Psalms (1983) altered the final two lines as follows: "So shall I not my trust betray, nor love within me die."  I  am told that in George W. Bush's presidential library, behind his desk there is a small, simply framed copy of A Charge To Keep I Have.  The first two stanzas apparently spoke to President Bush. Not only is it one of the themes of his library, but  it is also the title of his book released in 1999. As believers we do have the Lord's charge to keep.  We can only do it with His power, guidance, and presence.  And He has promised and provided all of that for His children.  Are we keeping His charge?

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my pow'rs engage
To do my Master's will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall forever die.

You can listen to it here.   CHARGE

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