Thursday, March 29, 2007

Then Sings My Soul: Stories of the Hymns by Robert J. Morgan

Some of the world’s most beautiful music and poetry can be found in the hundreds of hymns written by devout believers over the centuries. I have to admit that I preferred more contemporary worship music during my youth, but over time, when the first sprigs of white hair seem to be here to stay, I have come to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of the hymn. Robert J. Morgan offers stories and perspectives behind 150 well-loved hymns in this first volume (there is a second one) complete with music and lyrics.

Among all the hymns, there is one that always brings a tear to my eye, and after reading the story behind Horatio G. Spafford’s well-loved 1873 hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” I will have an even greater appreciation for the lyrics—“when sorrows like sea billows roar.”

Mr. Spafford was an attorney who had lost most of his fortune in real estate investments during the great Chicago fire in 1871. He lost his only son to scarlet fever during the same period of time as well. Two years later, he planned a vacation abroad to Europe with his wife and four daughters; however, when an urgent matter detained him, he sent his wife and his four daughters ahead of him on another ship. That ship wound up colliding with another vessel, and sank, killing the majority of the passengers, including all four of his daughters. His wife was found barely conscious. En route to join his wife, when he passed the waters where the ship had sank it is written that he said, “It is well; the will of God be done.”

I hope that when my head is fully crowned with silver (or hopefully a nice salt- pepper gray), I will have attained that level of contentment and confidence with whatever comes my way. One thing I know, I am sure I will be wondering then as I do now, why we don’t sing hymns more often.

Available at

No comments: