Thursday, September 6, 2018

"When at last I stand with the heav'nly choir... I shall never tire."

Hymn: “There’s a Glad New Song” – Words & Music by Albert C. Fisher (1886-1946)

For the first time in over forty years, I am singing in a church choir!* I’m experiencing the music ministry from the other side of the rail! I consider myself fortunate indeed to attend an evangelical church that still has a choir; the truth is that we’ve had several people join our church in recent months because they want to attend a service in which the music is choir-driven. It’s a very good choir: they sing well, read music better than most volunteer groups, and they are engaged in their leadership of worship.
But one of these days, I plan to stand with a massive number of singers who gather near the throne of God to offer up continual praise of the One who sits there! I have the feeling the music never ends – that it’ll be like an incessant medley, won’t it? When we finish one great hymn or anthem, we’ll modulate into the next. For us musicians, THAT would be heavenly!

Although it sounds like an old gospel song, the third stanza of this fairly new hymn (first published in 1956, ten years after the death of its writer) speaks to me with today’s hymn-line and following:
            When at last I stand with the heav’nly choir in the light of the throne above,
            On the golden strand I shall never tire of the song of redeeming love!
            Of his love I shall ever sing
            Till above I behold the King.
            Through eternity my glad song shall be of the Savior’s redeeming love.

Sometimes I fly into the choir room after Sunday School and throw on my robe, make certain I have the correct stole turned to the right side, grab my folder and race to my chair, trying my best to be situated before the pre-service rehearsal begins. I often audibly say “Whew” as my backside hits the chair. But once the singing begins, I am renewed. I hope I shall never tire of singing the praises of God… in this life or the next.

* - I wrote this Hymnline before I lost my ability to match pitch due to a hearing problem. All the talk about my participation is no longer relevant... in THIS life. I still plan to regain my hearing and be able to harmonize in the life that is yet to come. Therefore this is a more hopeful hymn than ever for me!

[I couldn’t find a recording of this hymn. I hate that, because I’d love for you to hear it! Sometimes those hymns whose phrases speak to us are not as popular with everyone else as they were with us. Take my word for it: it’s worth hearing… and singing. Google it if you want to sing or play through it.]

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Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)