Monday, November 16, 2015
Monday Morning Devo - Song Stories: Nearer My God to Thee
On Sunday I attended the memorial service of a cherished friend, Janice Lohman. The organist played a hymn often played at similar services, and it's famed as the one played by the band on the Titanic as it sank into the ocean. I wondered about the story behind this one, and in research I found a varied report on how it was written.
Nearer My God to Thee lyrics were written in the mid-1800s by Sarah Flower Adams, an actress famed for her role as Lady Macbeth; and the music was written by her older sister, Eliza, a talented musician and songwriter.
Both women died of tuberculosis; Eliza contracted it first, and Sarah, as her caregiver, also came down with the disease. Neither sister had enjoyed good health even before catching TB, though. Sarah had to step down from the stage because her health had gone downhill. When she could no longer follow her beloved career, she retired and began to write poetry and hymns.
One of the sources I read said that Sarah had been visited by a pastor one afternoon, and he bemoaned the fact that he couldn't find a hymn to go along with his text based on the story in Genesis 28:11-19 about Jacob's ladder. Sarah volunteered, and within the week had a song for him.
You can listen to the song HERE.
Lord, Again, I thank You for your inspirations in music. You are Music, and You create the songwriters. Music seems to reach our hearts quicker than the best sermons ever written! Amen