On three days this week the song was “Old King Cole was a merry old soul” (go figure). It drove me “nuts”. I suspect that you too would get a bit cranky if that song stayed in your mind for five or six hours!
I had a merciful release today. The song which arose from my memory and which has been my companion all day is an old “chorus” which I learned in the Plymouth Brethren Sunday School all those years ago.
“There’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin.
There’s a door which is open, and you may go in.
At Calvary’s cross is where you begin,
When you come as a sinner to Jesus”
That’s a pretty good exposition of the “simple gospel”. I’ve enjoyed the song, especially since we are on the cusp of Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
The mind has its own ways, and for reasons which I do not understand and cannot explain, that simple chorus led me to think of a hymn of simple faith. It’s never sung in the USA, but it was a favourite of my mother’s generation in England. Indeed, we sang it at her funeral. It’s called “In heavenly love abiding”
(There was a lovely moment around this. My ex sister-in-law Barbara was at the funeral. This made me so happy, cos though her marriage to one of my brothers had ended, she was still a part of our family –and she loved our Mum. After the funeral Barbara told me that she was so happy that we had chosen this hymn. She added that she had been thinking about the hymn, and knew that it would be “just right” for Mum. Good for you Barbara!)
Here are the words of that hymn of simple and un-complicated faith (the faith that Mum had).
In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear.
And safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?
Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him.
Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen.
Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free.
My Saviour has my treasure, and He will walk with me.
This hymn was written by Anna L Waring who was born in Plas-y-Velin, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1823, and die in Bristol, England in 1910.
In the UK this hymn is most often sung to a Welsh tune called “Penlan”. Here it is, played on an organ at a Church near Swansea, Wales.
Please enjoy the “Welsh-ness” of the young organist as he talks before playing the tune.