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Safely to Arrive at Home


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
This hymn, which just might be my favorite, turned out to be "the hymn" of the CLUSA conference I just returned from. (I came home to blooming peonies and freshly-washed children, courtesy of Grandma.) It was written by pastor Robert Robinson when he was only 23 in 1758.  The beautiful tune is known as the American folk tune "Nettleton" by pastor Asahel Nettleton of the Second Great Awakening.  Here, go ahead and  click "play" so you can  listen while you read the rest of the post.


I can't sing it without being moved to tears.  I have memories of looking up at my late father while he was singing this in the Baptist church I grew up in.  He'd close his eyes while singing with the bright red hymn book open in his hands.  As a child, I wasn't quite sure why he did this.  I get it now.

 Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

 I taught a multi-age homeschool immersion group on Thursday morning over the course of three hours and this hymn was the last thing we did.  We talked about the line, "Here I raise my Ebenezer" which comes from 1 Samuel 7:12.  Ebenezer is Hebrew for "stone of help".  One of the attendees mentioned that she knew a little boy by the name of Ebenezer.  I love that!

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Our group sang along with Chris Rice's recording of the song.  They sang with more emotion than the usual church crowd, I thought.  It was a powerful ending to a wonderful morning of concentration and ideas.  I don't know about everyone else, but I was blessed beyond words. 
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
In the evening as we settled in our seats to listen to a concert by Janet Pressley, I couldn't believe that she opened her set with her guitar and this hymn!  It was  a confirming end to a long and rich day. Another favorite version for me is by Sufjan Stevens.  The version we sang in the immersion group was by Chris Rice.


Here's a treat my daughter, Marit, put together when she was 12.  Our co-op, TBG, was learning this hymn for the term.  On the Family Night at the end of the term, she surprised everyone with this slide show of a co-op meeting with the Chris Rice version as the background music.  

To all of you who attended that immersion session, I'd like to say, "Thank you".  Your bright eyes and enthusiasm confirmed a few things in my own heart.

9 comments:

  1. Ah, now you've got me crying again! I love that hymn so much.

    The more I think about the word immersion, the more I like it. What I'm doing with my children and with the co-op kids on Thursdays is immersing them in living ideas, in the lives of great men and women of the past, in the time period we're studying. Once they are "in," they swim with delight among the ideas they've been immersed in. They soak in Dickens as we study the French Revolution. They dreamily float along lazy rivers of Wordsworth poems, snatching daffodils as they go. They coast down the Mississippi with first Minn, then Mark Twain. Lovely, lovely way to sprout magnanimous thoughts in a fertile brain. My only regret is that I missed seeing your smiling face! I was with the teens off and on...

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  2. Beautiful post Nancy! I love that hymn too. There is something about the combination of those words with the original music that moves us to tears. Long live the great hymns!

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  3. Beautiful. Amen and amen!
    Love the different versions. I'm trying to find the Emily Dickinson poem song that Janet sang!
    Seemed to be a theme of Emily at the conference.
    Peonies , wow! Our bloom in early May!

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  4. Beautiful! One of my favorite hymns, too.

    I hope you do an immersion session at the LER next month! If not, I may have to stay in MN until I can attend one of your co-op meetings. Our co-op is counting on my learning how to implement the fine arts in a co-op setting.

    See you soon,

    Christie in FL

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  5. I enjoyed being a part of your immersion group! :-)

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  6. Thanks Nancy for a beautiful post.

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  7. Nancy, I so enjoyed your immersion class! I wanted to tell you that Chris Rice does, indeed, have a hymns CD. http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/peace-like-river-the-hymns/id264713352

    I'm listening to the samples and they are quite lovely. He has such a peaceful voice.

    I just can't tell you how much being in your class blessed me! Thank you, again, for teaching.

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  8. @ Megan - I missed you completely! Bummer! But thanks for the lovely comment.
    @ Bonnie - yes, all that was missing was Makoto!
    @ Christie - we would LOVE for you to stay and hang out! Maybe someday...
    @ Jennifer - well, you rocked the Caesar part!
    @ Beth - I agree about that album - purchasing now!

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  9. I was singing this hymn last week at the sad and beautiful funeral for my friends little 18 month old boy- talk about being moved to tears.

    So powerful. Thanks for the reminder!

    Bobby Jo

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