Monday, 15 August 2011

For our beloved young people - do not be afraid!

This old hymn was the favourite of one of my parish priests (now deceased). He was a wiry little Scotsman, who had a great devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. He wanted this sung at his funeral.
I offer it here as a pray for the young people who are gathering in Spain for World Youth Day.

"Just As I Am sung by David Arkestone and his group. Just as I Am is a well-known hymn, written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835. Elliot wrote this song about how to find salvation through Christ. It has been used by many as the call to the altar at the close of services, as it brings a quiet simple message of sin, forgiveness, and salvation to all that turn from sin and trust in Jesus.
John Brownlie described the hymn story in his book "Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church Hymnary" [4]: Charlotte's brother, the Kev. H. V. Elliott planned to hold a bazaaiyan event designed to give, at a nominal cost, a high education to the daughters of clergymen supported by St Mary Church:
The night before the bazaar she was kept wakeful by distressing thoughts of her apparent uselessness ; and these thoughts passed by a transition easy to imagine into a spiritual conflict, till she questioned the reality of her whole spiritual life, and wondered whether it were anything better after all than an illusion of the emotions, an illusion ready to be sorrowfully dispelled. The next day, the busy day of the bazaar, she lay upon her sofa in that most pleasant boudoir set apart for her in Westfield Lodge, ever a dear resort to her friends." The troubles of the night came back upon her with such force that she felt they must be met and conquered in the grace of God. She gathered up in her soul the great certainties, not of her emotions, but of her salvation : her Lord, His power, His promise. And taking pen and paper from the table she deliberately set down in writing, for her own comfort, "the formulae of her faith." Hers was a heart which always tended to express its depths in verse. So in verse she restated to herself the Gospel of pardon, peace, and heaven. "Probably without difficulty or long pause" she wrote the hymn, getting comfort by thus definitely "recollecting" the eternity of the Rock beneath her feet. There, then, always, not only for some past moment, but " even now " she was accepted in the Beloved "Just as I am." (Wikipedia)

This hymn became even more famous when it was used by the Rev. Billy Graham in his altar calls on his many outdoor evangelistic meetings. In 1997 Graham wrote his autobiography entitled, "Just As I Am" noting the importance of the song to his own salvation and his ministry for Christ." (with thanks to bobf72450 - YouTube)

1 comment:

  1. I have been to the Billy Graham gatherings twice. Both times I did not go forward to declare my faith out of a false sense of pride, leaving me surrounded by empty seats.
    I wonder how many priests went out of curiosity and found some inspiration.
    As far as I know there has been no scandal about this man and I recollect he was humble enough to change his views between my first and second attendance- on eschatological questions.
    Did you hear him Father?