Ancient Hymns- O Jesus I have promised

  I’ve been a lifelong Anglican from a long line of Anglicans, because I’m an unmarried female I can’t say I’ll always be an Anglican but I’d love to be though. I love the rituals of worship, the age old traditions and most of all the hymns.
While we sing contemporary songs, the backbone of Anglican worship is songs from the ancient and modern hymnal. None of the songs in that hymnal is less than a hundred years old. Some were even written in the sixteenth century, there’s something about singing a song that has been in existence for hundreds of years, that has blessed thousands of people before you. Songs that have been passed down unchanged for generations, songs that have seen many fads and seasons come and go. Those songs that remain fresh despite the intervening years, songs that usually came as a result of personal experiences and not about how pleasant they sound.

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I’d always wanted to do a series on hymns, I put up a number of non religious songs here so putting up hymns shouldn’t have been an issue but I’ve always felt lethargic. Today while we were singing the hymn I’m putting up today, a particular verse struck me and brought me almost to my knees because it is one of my biggest issues. I suddenly felt a communion with several Christians who have sung this song with feeling over generations and of course with the writer who was inspired by the holy spirit to write the hymn.

“O Jesus I have promised” was written by John E. Bode in 1868 for his daughter and two sons’ confirmation service. At the time he was a pastor in Cambridgeshire England and the song was published in 1869, yes this song is one hundred and forty six years old.

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

O let me feel Thee near me! The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me, around me and within;
But Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.

O let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self will.
O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend.

O let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone.
O guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end;
And then in Heaven receive me, my Savior and my Friend.

The third verse brought me to an epiphany this morning, how I wasn’t hearing from God clearly and the reasons behind that. I’m rather strong willed and a very passionate person, I’m very likely to do what I want without listening to any contrary opinion. I’m going to be praying for and working on that aspect of my life.

  Hopefully this song will bless you as it has blessed me or even more. Have a beautiful week.

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8 Comments

  1. Ahh, hymns! A great favourite of mine. My top loves would have to be Rock of Ages and Great is Thy Faithfulness. I know their lyrics (most of it) even without reading it.
    I’m glad it brought you to a realisation of something. That’s the best, I think.

    Reply

  2. You know yeah, there’s something about age, and its the fact that it comes with wisdom.. Now thats what these hymns do, they teach and enlighten… The first paragraph is that which I love the most and this line @”I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,” struck deep.. In my 23 years 2 months 1 day confused life, I am learning that knowing who we truly are, and who is our true source (GOD) is all we need to succeed. Cheers Otunne. xx

    Reply

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