Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Singing the Faith Day 10: Praise and Thanksgiving

Great is thy faithfulness

The words of this hymn were written in the early 1920’s by Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960). Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky, and  worked as a journalist, a school teacher and a life-insurance agent before being ordained as a Methodist minister. He said that there was no particular incident which prompted the writing of this hymn , but that he simply wanted to express his belief in the faithfulness of God. The music is by William Runyan, a composer, preacher and teacher who was a friend of Chisholm.
The hymn was popularised around the world because it was sung frequently by Gospel singer, George Beverley Shea, during Billy Graham’s evangelistic rallies from the 1950’s onward. He had learned it from the radio programmes of the Moody Bible Institute, where Runyan taught.  

The hymn takes its inspiration from Lamentations 3.22-23. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand besides.

  • “Thou changest not” says the hymn writer. How do you feel about change? What helps you to deal with it?

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