simple truth, simple song

slice buttonI have gone to a large non-denominational church for almost thirty-eight years.  We started in a movie theater and what I loved back then was the contemporary music.  Some weekend we listened to music that was secular.  I loved the groups Chicago and Bread and every folk singer that lived because of the stories they told.  Who couldn’t love Blowing in the Wind, You’ve got a Friend or Turn, Turn, Turn.  This is how my church started.

Fast forward, 2015.  I am back to my original roots in so many ways.  Our church is now a ‘singing,, not just listening, church.  We worship with our voices for almost twenty minutes and…we sing many of the hymns of ‘old’ with new arrangements.  I never realized how much I have missed these songs…the rich lyrics, where I was when I first sang them.

As a retirement present, I have decided to take piano lessons again.  My teacher gave me this book to try.  It has a hymn and then a passage telling about the author of the lyrics.  Because I’m still learning, I am going through the book trying only those hymns with no sharps or flats or only one sharp or flat.  I try only the familiar.  I play once, read and play a second time.

Today was ‘Jesus Loves Me’.  This is a song that little children sing, we don’t often think of singing it with the adults.  Here are the words from the third verse.  They moved me today.

Jesus loves me.

He will stay,

Close beside me all the way

He’s prepared a home for me

And someday His face I’ll see

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

The Bible tells me so!                    …Anna Warner and William B. Bradbury 1860

Anna and Susan Warner were authors so that they could contribute to the family income.  The family lost their fortune in 1837.  One of their novels, Say and Seal became a best seller.  During one of the scenes in the book a little boy is dying and is comforted with this poem.  Later, William Bradbury wrote the tune.  The family really never recovered from their losses and one day a friend was visiting Anna.  Anna took out an intricate shell, held it in her had and said, “if God could make something this beautiful and delicate home for a creature, surely he will take care of me.

He will take care of me too. I love this simple tune.

Here it is…sung by late, beautiful Whitney  (new words, after verse 1)  Enjoy, if you have time:)



7 thoughts on “simple truth, simple song

  1. Judy C.

    Love the “old” hymns and their precious words that are so simple and true. It’s been a while since I’ve sang anything by the first verse. So refreshing. Last fall in Guatemala, we sang Jesus Loves Me to one of our little friends and she was delighted to here us sing (even if it was in English and not Spanish).


  2. There is something to be said for the “old” hymns. Sometimes in our church, Catholic, we sing new hymns set to the music of old familiar hymns. It is hard not to slip into the old words.


  3. This slice reminds me so much of the church I grew up in because it was so hymns-based. Then, when I was in high school the conference decided the old red and green hymnals should be updated and replaced by the new blue one with more modern choruses. My fondest memories of growing up in this big-church-for-a-small-town congregation include these hymns and the people—like my grandparents—who belted out the four-part harmonies. By now, there are only one or two token hymns each Sunday…and much weaker harmonies because reading music has been replaced by reading screens. I attend a megachurch in a city now, so I completely understand this dynamic. Losing this tradition and this worship base just makes me sad for my home church. So, for now, there’s my favorite Pandora radio station, Instrumental Hymns. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and enjoy piano lessons. Awesome!


  4. mrssurridge

    I am so blessed to attend a church that still sings the traditional hymns. We have later services where the newer contemporary songs are sung, which I also love, but I’m an eight o’clocker and proud of it. I get the best of both. Jesus Loves Me verse three is gorgeous. So comforting.


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