Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


It Is Well With My Soul

Hymns are an important source of our theology. The words work into our very being and speak to us when we need to hear them.

Sunday evening, I led a getting to know you session that kicked off our currently meeting Diocese of Georgia Clergy Conference. One of the tings I asked was for the group to go around and name favorite hymns and why they spoke to them. A couple of people mentioned Horatio Spafford's "It Is Well With My Soul." We sang it at my father's funeral and I have sung it many times elsewhere.

The story behind the hymn is an important window into its words as the hymn was written after series of crushingly traumatic events in Spafford’s life. His only son died in 1871. Close on the heals of that death came his financial ruin in the great Chicago Fire. Two years later, he was to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville du Havre, but business delayed him and the family went first. In making the Atlantic crossing, the Ville du Havre collided with another boat andquickly sank taking Spafford’s four daughters with it. Anna, his wife, survived the sinking and sent him a two word telegram, “Saved alone.” Spafford sailed to reunite with his grieving wife, and as his ship passed near the spot where his daughters had died, he penned these words:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.



Post a Comment

<< Home