Hymns of Faith, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, AtoZChallenge #atozchallenge

As with many hymns, especially written in the 19th and 20th century, this selection for my Hymns of the Faith, AtoZchallenge was written to address personal circumstances with the hope that a person’s faith in God would be strengthened. It was, as were several that I have already written about, written as a poem.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Written Joseph Medlicott Scriven, What a Friend We Have in Jesus,  was written as a poem of comfort to his mother, “to comfort her in a time of special [s]orrow, not intending any one else should see it.”

Set to the tune of CONVERSE by Charles Converse, it has been a hymn of comfort to and for many over the years.

Here is a great rendition of this hymn done by the congregation at the Royal Oak, Michigan Salvation Army Corps complete with a brass band accompaniment!


Hymns of the Faith: Victory In Jesus, AtoZChallenge

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

Another childhood, and teenage, I must admit, favorite is my selection for this installment of Hymns of the Faith as part of this year’s AtoZChallenge.

Victory in Jesus was written by Missouri native Eugene Monroe Bartlett (E M Bartlett) in 1939 after he had a stroke. (He passed away in 1941). According to hymnary.org Bartlett was trained as a music teacher and was a leader in developing Southern gospel music.”

Now that know this background, I think this song has greater meaning to me because I now see it as a statement of faith in Christ even in the aftermath of a serious medical condition!

Enjoy this congregational rendition of this hymn from the Temple Baptist Church in Powell, Tennessee

Throwback Thursday Review: Nicolas Basbanes’ On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History

Good Thursday afternoon!

I tend to be a reader of biography, history, fiction, and books dealing with Christianity. But in my reading and reviewing for the past ten or so years, I have, from to time, selected books that do not fit these categories, although this book is a historical review of some thing that we use on a daily basis


Nicholas Basbanes,  a writer on American Culture, wrote a marvelous book on the history of paper. I remember feeling a growing delight in the history of this common, everyday tool as I read the book.

I think that you will too!

And I regret, but not too much, giving away my ARC copy of the book to a member of the book club to which I belong!

Here is a link to my 2013 review. Enjoy!



Hymns of the Faith: Under His Wings, AtoZChallenge

American Unitarian Minister, William Orcutt Cushing, is the composer for the next installment in my AtoZChallenge, Hymns of the Faith with these wonderful words

Under His wings I am safely abiding.
Tho’ the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me.
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Cushing had to retire from the pastoral ministry to due ill health and, according to wikipedia, “asked God for something to do to occupy his time. He discovered he had a talent for hymn writing and made that a way to keep busy after work in the ministry. Throughout the rest of his life, Cushing wrote 300 hymns…”

And one of those hymns was “Follow On” which was eventually adapted by the Scottish football club (soccer team) the Rangers for their club anthem “Follow, Follow.” How many hymn writers can say that one of their hymns has inspired generations of loyal soccer fans in Scotland?!

The tune is called HINGHAM and the legendary Ira Sankey was tune writer of this great hymn.

Here is George Beverly Shea singing this wonderful hymn!


Hymns of the Faith: This is My Father’s World, AtoZChallenge

This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.

Today’s hymn is again one of my favorites, perhaps in my top five favorites.

This is My Father’s World was written by American Maltbie D. Babcock sometime before his untimely death in 1901 and published posthumously that same year.

Dr Michael Hawn writes regarding the tune TERRA BEATA that Babcock’s lyrics are set to:

The original poem was composed in 16 four-line stanzas, each beginning with “This is my Father’s world.” One of Babcock’s friends, Franklin Shepherd (1852-1930) adapted an English folk song inserting portions of Babcock’s text into three, eight-line stanzas. The hymn in this form first appeared in the composer’s hymnal Alleluia, a Presbyterian Sunday school book published in 1915. The tune name, TERRA BEATA, means “blessed earth” in Latin.

Here is a wonderful cover of this hymn by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Hymns of the Faith: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart, AtoZChallenge

Well we are entering the final days of this year’s AtoZChallenge and while I have to play catch up (as I am doing now, composing this post at 10 PM New York time on Sunday evening, April 22 for yesterday’s post,) I thank those of you who have liked my posts so far.

For the letter I have chosen a song whose lyrics were written by Irish born George Croly, an Anglican Minister and was pastor of a church in one of the poorest London slums, St Stevens Anglican Church, according to Dr Michael Hawn.

Spirit of God, who dwells within my heart, 
wean it from sin, through all its pulses move. 
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are, 
and make me love you as I ought to love. 


Croly also wrote poetry, novels, history and biography.

The tune was written by Frederick C. Atkinson and is called MORECAMBE after an English town located along the west coast of England, north of Liverpool.

Here is a recording of this wonderful hymn by the Cathedral Choral Society

Hymns of the Faith: Rock of Ages, AtoZChallenge

This installment of Hymns of Faith, AtoZChallenge, features a well-loved hymn written by one of the Wesley’s theological opponents, an Anglican clergyman named Augustus Toplady, Rock of Ages.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
let me hide myself in thee; 
let the water and the blood, 
from thy wounded side which flowed, 
be of sin the double cure; 
save from wrath and make me pure

Written around 1775-1776, it is traditionally held, according to wikipedia, that Toplady drew the inspiration for the song from a personal experience where he took refuge during a rain storm in a gorge as he was traveling.

Here is a cover by the Antrim (Ohio) Mennonite Choir