On January 7th we’re looking forward to starting a new sermon series on Stewardship. To listen through the songs we’ll be singing together, check out our Spotify playlist or the Apple Music playlist below.
One interesting song we’ll be singing together is On Jordan’s Stormy Banks. You can read a bit about it below with a blurb taken from hymnary.org.
The original text of this hymn was in seven stanzas with no refrain. It was written by Samuel Stennett, who was an English minister, and first appeared in John Rippon’s A Selection of Hymns in 1787 in London. The theme of this full text is the vision of the believer as he or she approaches death, based on the description of heaven in Revelation 22.
This text made its way to America and was adapted there to a different view. The elimination of three stanzas (original st. 2, 3, and 7) and the addition of a camp-meeting refrain alter the picture. In the American version, this hymn is a song for one still on the journey to a nice place instead of Stennett’s picture of one who has glimpsed a breathtaking scene so near that one can almost touch it. The collection that made this text well-known was William Walker’s Southern Harmony of 1835, in which at least the first stanza of this hymn appears four times, each with a different refrain and tune. The refrain that is most common in modern hymnals begins “I am bound for the Promised Land.”
In Revelation, the apostle John describes his vision of heaven and the new Jerusalem. Not only is it a gorgeous place, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2 ESV), with pearls, gold, and jewels, but it is also a place of joy and light. “He [God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4 ESV). “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5 ESV). Images like these are expressed in this hymn, along with the desire to be there someday.
Photo by Chris Liverani