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, November 27, 2022


          "O God Beyond All Praising" is a beautiful hymn that speaks of praising God no matter what life brings our way, for God is so amazing that no song can truly express the depth of our gratitude.
          This song is a relatively recent work, written in 1982 by Michael Perry (1942 - 1996), an Anglican priest.  Perry was born in Beckenham, Kent, England, where he served as Vicar of Tonbridge and a canon of Rochester Cathedral. One of England's most promising hymn writers, he worked as editor and director of Jubilate Hymns until an inoperable brain tumor led to his untimely death in December 1996.  He is said to have written more than 200 hymns and versifications.
          "O God Beyond All Praising" was written specifically for the melody THAXTED in 1982, a composition by the early 20th-century British composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934). This tune is normally associated in the U.K. with a more patriotic text. Perry composed the text, he said, "in response to a call for alternative words that would be more appropriate for Christian worship."
          This hymn which inspires much fervor in the British homeland is often sung at Remembrance Day services, and Princess Diana requested it for her wedding in 1981. The song was repeated for her funeral in 1997 and again for the 10th anniversary observance of her death in 2007.
          Perry created a majestic hymn of praise that is biblically rooted.   For example, line "our sacrifice of praise," come directly from Psalm 116:17 and Hebrews 13:15. In stanza one, the phrase, "wait upon your word," echoes Psalm 130:5. Another phrase from stanza one, "for we can only wonder at every gift you send," resounds in the spirit of James 1:17.
          The hymn expresses simple gratitude and the firm determination to turn that gratitude into trusting endurance, particularly as expressed in the words "Whether our tomorrows, be filled with good or ill, we'll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still."  It's good to be reminded – regularly - that God is great, and God is good, and that His ways are perfect. People today are struggling under heavy burdens of all kinds but we can all be strengthened in the knowledge that Someone is greater than all these things, so great that He can use them for our benefit.  And he loves us
          Rejoice and praise our great God as you meditate on this hymn this week.
1.            O God beyond all praising,
We worship you today
And sing the love amazing
That songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder
At every gift you send,
At blessings without number
And mercies without end:
We lift our hearts before you
And wait upon your word,
We honor and adore you,
Our great and mighty Lord.

2.     Then hear, O gracious Savior,
Accept the love we bring,
That we who know your favor
May serve you as our king;
And whether our tomorrows
Be filled with good or ill,
We'II triumph through our sorrows
And rise to bless you still:
To marvel at your beauty
And glory in your ways,
And make a joyful duty
Our sacrifice of praise.
Listen to it here.   PRAISE

Sunday, November 20, 2022


          During this Thanksgiving season I've chosen to share a hymn which is usually thought to be an Easter hymn.  And I think it is appropriate since there is nothing better to be thankful for than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.
          This old but stirring Easter hymn has undergone many changes over the decades.  It is believed this hymn came from the twelfth century, but the earliest printed version of the Latin hymn we have is from a Jesuit book published in 1695.  
            The actual author is not known, but Francis Pott, 
(1831-1909)an Anglican minister, published his own translation of it in 1695. His was a translation from Latin into English.
            One of the stirring features of this hymn are the "allelulas" which conclude each verse.  
"Alleluia" is the Greek version of the Hebrew word "hallelujah."  An organist, William Monk, added the Alleluias and set the words to music that had been written much earlier by Vatican choirmaster, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
          The hymn celebrates the battle fought and won at the cross.  "The powers of death have done their worst," but Christ has won the victory.  "The three days (in the tomb) have quickly sped; (Christ) rises glorious from the dead."   The last verse is a prayer—a prayer that Christ, by his death, might set us free from death "so that we may live, and sing to thee:  Alleluia!"  Amen to that!
          William Hart, in his book, Hymn Stories of the 20th Century, which was published in 1948 (not long after World War II had ended), adds the unusual note that a soldier's chorus sang this hymn at the funeral of General George Patton on December 23, 1945 after his death in an automobile accident.  Whether that seems significant to you or not, it is significant that this hymn and others celebrating the resurrection have been a strength and comfort to many who have had to face the death of a loved one.
          Each of the verses give us reminders of what we should be thankful for.  In verse 1, Christ won the victory.  Verse 2 – Christ dispersed the powers of death.  Verse 3 – Christ rose from the dead.  Verse 4 – Christ closed hell and opened heaven. Verse 5 – Christ makes us free.
For those of us who truly believe the teachings of the scriptures concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus, we should be filled with joy and thanksgiving knowing that in Christ "The Strife Is O'er."
1   The strife is o'er, the battle done;
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.

2.   The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions have dispersed.
Let shouts of holy joy outburst

 3   The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead.
All glory to our risen Head.
4   He closed the yawning gates of hell;
the bars from heaven's high portals fell.
Let hymns of praise his triumph tell.

5   Lord, by the stripes which wounded thee,
from death's dread sting thy servants free,
that we may live and sing to thee.

Rejoice as you listen to it here.    STRIFE

Sunday, November 13, 2022


A few years ago a series of tornados devastated a portion of Kentucky.  Many people returned to their former homes to discover that they had lost all that they had.
          One man and his sister returned to find most of their home destroyed.  However, one wall was still standing and his water-soaked piano was still there standing against the wall. Soon he was there playing "There's Just Something About That Name".  While he played, his sister secretly video taped his music which was later shared around the world on the internet.  The song was a very special comfort to many who heard it.
          This beautiful song was written in 1970 by Gloria and Bill Gaither when they were going through a challenging time in their lives.  The song came to them out of a personal experience that confirmed the power and effect the name of Jesus had on their everyday lives. In the years before the writing of this song, their grandparents had died. The Gaithers were impressed by how often, even in their dying days, their grandparents spoke the name of Jesus.  
          It was also about this time that the Gaithers became parents. They weren't sure they were ready for this new responsibility. So, when their child woke up in the middle of the night with a high fever, they began calling on the name of Jesus, the Great Physician. Yes, there's something about that name.
          The song says how powerful, constant, and comforting the name of Jesus is. The name Jesus encapsulates all that He is and can be for us. 
The lyrics and melody, reflect the peace and comfort which washes over us when we call on the name of Jesus, regardless of what stage of life we are in or whether we are facing a mountaintop or valley.
          Maybe this week you, too, will face some difficult challenges.  Just remember that while things change and pass away, Jesus will not.  Call upon Him for there's something special about His name and His response.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; 
there's just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus, 
like the fragrance after the rain;
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, 
let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there's something about that name.
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there's something about that name.
          Listen to it here.  NAME

Sunday, November 6, 2022


TIMELESS HYMNS - A feature in which I choose a blog from the past, revise it and post it once again.  This hymn was featured previously on May 20, 2012.

          When I was growing up hymns were an integral part of my life.  As we traveled our family would sing for long periods of time.  Those experiences, plus attending many church services, usually at least four times per week, gave me many opportunities to sing and learn the words to many great hymns.  
           But I must admit that during the early years it wasn't always the words that drew me to a hymn.  More often it was the upbeat melody or some special musical feature that captured my attention.  That fact was brought back to me recently when I heard this hymn which I had  not heard in many years.  Immediately I remembered the moving men's part in the chorus.  I can still hear the men singing "Who is a pardoning God like Thee? Or who has grace so rich and free? Or who has grace so rich and free?"  
          But now that I am older I also appreciate the great words that center around our great God and His pardon and grace.  The words were written by Samuel Davies (1723-1761).  I can't find much about the actual writing of the hymn, but Davies was an evangelist and Presbyterian minister. He also served a term as the fourth President of Princeton University, then known as the College of New Jersey, from 1759 to 1761. One of the first non-Anglican preachers in Virginia, he was a strong advocate for religious freedom, and helped to institute significant religious reforms in the colony. 
          Davies was also a prolific writer, authoring several hymns and publishing a book of poetry. Musicologists credit Davies with being the first American-born hymn writer. Davies followed the lines of Isaac Watts although his verses are often considered "solid, but somewhat dry and heavy".  
          Davies was born in New Castle County, Delaware. His parents could not afford to send him to college but were determined that he should be trained for the ministry. He studied in Samuel Blair's famous school at Fagg's Manor, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Castle when he was twenty-two,  For over 25 years our family had a family ministry and several times we presented programs in the Presbyterian Church in Faggs Manor. I remember the old sanctuary upstairs, especially since we had to carry all of our heavy equipment up the stairs to get  to the sanctuary.  But little did I know then, until I recently found this information, that Faggs Manor had such a rich tradition dating back over two centuries ago.  
          Anyway, I hope that you are challenged by the words of this week's hymn choice.  Indeed we serve a God of great wonders, a pardoning God with grace so rich and free.

(1)     Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
Are matchless, Godlike and divine;
But the fair glories of Thy grace
More Godlike and unrivaled shine,
More Godlike and unrivaled shine.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

(2)     Crimes of such horror to forgive,
Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
This is Thy grand prerogative,
And none shall in the honor share,
And none shall in the honor share
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

(3)     Angels and men, resign your claim
To pity, mercy, love and grace:
These glories crown Jehovah's Name
With an incomparable glaze
With an incomparable glaze.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

(4)     In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
We take the pardon of our God:
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon bought with Jesus' blood,
A pardon bought with Jesus' blood.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

(5)     O may this strange, this matchless grace,
This Godlike miracle of love,
Fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
And all th'angelic choirs above,
And all th'angelic choirs above.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

Listen to it here.   LISTEN