In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!

. . . from the BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Wondrous Love is This?

[N]ext to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. ~ Martin Luther

And when the Word is married with great music, the soul soars to breathtaking heights! That's what happens for me whenever I hear one of my favorite hymns well performed, and especially when I hear a beautiful, inspiring hymn for the first time. That was the case one day last week as I listened to my Serenity Radio channel on Pandora, and discovered What Wondrous Love is This? This authentic American folk hymn was written down by William Walker (1809-1875) as he journeyed through the Appalachian Mountains in the early 19th century, and was first published in his collection Southern Harmony in 1835. The melody is simple and heart-piercing, and the text poignantly captures the sinner's inexpressible awe and joy at redemption.

Below is a stunningly beautiful video accompanied by the gospel/bluegrass a capella group Mountain Blue singing What Wondrous Love is This?



I couldn't resist including another video presentation of this hymn, by a different a capella bluegrass group called Blue Highway. This version is sung in the original style in which William Walker probably first heard it in the mountain wilderness almost 200 years ago.



Below are the original lyrics to the hymn. They may differ somewhat from the words sung in the above videos, and several other versions with additional or slightly different verses, can be found. But all express the absolute wonder and exultant joy of the greatest miracle ever wrought--that, while we were yet sinners and utterly unworthy of it, Christ came down from Heaven and died in agony to save us from our own folly. May we remember that miracle every moment of our lives.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

2 comments:

Pnina said...

WOW....this hymn gives one the chills!!! These old-time gospel hymns beat so much of the 'modern' wishy-washy stuff that says nothing! Presents the Gospel, plain and simple, doesn't it? Thank you for sharing this video!

Jim Baldwin said...

It's a beautiful song that was recorded by my favorite singer back in 1971. Melanie (Brand new Key) took out EVERY word about Jesus in her reworking of the song. She turned into a song that anyone could love. What a shame. http://youtu.be/j8F261iZxY8