Friday, November 21, 2008
Hymn: Looking Forward to the Promised Land
If one accepts the conclusions of my last post on the Land of Israel, then one can sing this hymn with hope. Such a hymn is based on a Historical Redemptive means of reading the Bible. The promised Land of Abraham, and the blessing given to Abraham's descendants, which Scripture defines as those who believe (Romans 4:11, Gal 3:9) finds full form in the promise of the restoration of all things, a renewal and improvement of the original Garden. This hymn was written by Samuel Stennett, who among his quirks came from a Seven-Day Baptist family (I don't really get how that works either). But Stennett penned this hymn that became especially popular among Methodists and African-Americans who identified with the theme of exhile in a land, while looking forward to a better day of the Promised Land. [Modern versions are found on Jars of Clay's Redemption Songs and Indelible Grace 2]
On Jordan's Stormy Banks by Samuel Stennett
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.
O the transporting, rapturous scene,
That rises to my sight!
Sweet fields arrayed in living green,
And rivers of delight!
There generous fruits that never fail,
On trees immortal grow;
There rocks and hills, and brooks and vales,
With milk and honey flow.
O’er all those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.
No chilling winds or poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.
When I shall reach that happy place,
I’ll be forever blest,
For I shall see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest.
Filled with delight my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay;
Though Jordan’s waves around me roll,
Fearless I’d launch away.