A HYMN FOR TODAY – Pilgrim Song

A HYMN FOR TODAY

Pilgrim Song (Composite Hymn)

#681 in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 2012

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread,
Whether good or ill betide me,
Whether skies be dark or clear,
Jesus stays so close beside me,
That I know and feel Him near.

Not forever by still waters
Would I idly, quiet stay,
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along the way.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the rock before me,
Lo! a spring of joy I see.

Many friends were gathered round me
In the bright days of the past,
But the grave has closed above them,
And I linger here the last.
Loved ones gone to be with Jesus,
In their robes of white arrayed,
Now are waiting for my coming
Where the roses never fade.

While I walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when trav’ling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.
When my journey is completed,
If to God I have been true,
Fair and bright the home in glory
My enraptured soul will view.

Tune: Beach Spring – Benjamin Franklin White, 1844 (arr. 2011)

8.7.8.7.D – Verse 1a: Fanny J. Crosby – 1875;  Verse 1b: Katherine E. Purvis – 1896;  Verse 2a: Love M. Willis – 1859;  Verse 2b: Fanny J. Crosby – 1875;  Verse 3a: Caroline L. Smith – 1852; Verse 3b: Elsie, Jack & Jim – 1942 (copyright 1942; renewal 1970 – Stamps-Baxter Music);  Verse 4a: Eliza Edmunds Hewitt – 1898;  Verse 4b: Jennie Wilson – 1904.

#681 in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 2012

This “composite hymn” uses lyrics from seven different familiar hymns in the public domain, all written in the same meter (8.7.8.7.D, in this instance), which have a common theme of “pilgrimage.”  They are set to the lovely (but too often unfamiliar) tune, “Beach Spring,” published in Benjamin Franklin White’s 1844 “Fasola” shaped note book, The Sacred Harp (a reference to the human voice, a Divine “instrument”).  There are nine such composite hymns in the new hymnal, “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.” Other such composite hymns focus on heaven, spiritual warfare, the crucifixion and sovereignty of Christ, and related themes.  Diligent worship leaders can use the Metrical Index (keyed to hymn titles rather than the less familiar tune names, as is commonly done), as well as the forthcoming Digital Concordance, to create similar “composite hymns” to fit a particular worship experience.

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