Lord, thank you that through your life you bring comfort when I am faint, silence to my fears, and calm to my troubled heart. In this difficult season, I trust that you are already planning on redeeming this season and bringing unimaginable life and beauty out of it beyond what we can even comprehend. Amen.
I know that my Redeemer lives;
what joy this blest assurance gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my everliving Head.
He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all-glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.
He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above,
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.
He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He live to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears,
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, my kind, wise, heav'nly friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives and I shall conquer death;
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives, all glory to His name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
This lyric was written by Samuel Medley, and although there are a few slight variations in a few lines based on which hymnal you happen to be using, all versions of the hymn are attributed to Medley. Born the son of an English schoolmaster, he received a great education, but joined the Royal Navy upon his dissatisfaction with an apprenticeship he was completing. He was wounded in a battle with the French and converted to Christianity after hearing a sermon by Dr. Watts during his recovery process. He went on to run a school and ultimately become a preacher at a local Baptist church where he served, while also writing hymns for pamphlets and literature until his painful health struggles brought him into the arms of his Redeemer.
Although the tune DUKESTREET is only used in conjunction with these lyrics about 50% of the time, it is the most popular tune associated with the hymnists words and the tune we have used in this particular Hymns from Home series. It was composed by John Warrington Hatton in 1793. Hatton supposedly lived on Duke Street in Lancashire, England, which is where the name for the tune was derived, and basically nothing else seems to be known about him other than he was likely a Presbyterian, and he was supposedly killed in a stagecoach accident.
For the past few months or so our beloved church organist needed to take a short leave of absence, and somehow we were blessed enough to have the talented but also incredibly kind-hearted Jane Metcalfe fill in as our substitute. Not only is being at the helm of the pipe organ on a worship team that also includes guitars and drums and such no small task, but the timing lined up with this bizarre season of pandemics and Jane has slid right into her roll with such ease as if she's been playing the pipe organ on live-streamed church services her entire life.
She graduated with her degree in organ performance last year from Covenant College in Chattanooga, TN where she currently lives, and i've no doubt that both her talent and the care and gentleness with which she approaches all those she meets will carry her far. I've had the pleasure of being part of the 4 person skeleton music crew for the live-stream worship services at my church and getting to play with Jane each week during this season has been a true joy. A few weeks ago we did this particular hymn and I was moved not only by Jane's incredibly beautiful extended intro, but also by the lyric. As soon as the service ended I asked her if she'd be willing to play through it once more and let me film for this series, and with absolutely no notice whatsoever she kindly obliged.
I love the confidence with which the lyricist proclaims all the things he knows to be true about his heavenly father. Like Job who originally proclaimed "I know that my Redeemer lives and at last He shall stand upon the earth..." author Samuel Medley had also experienced loss and hardship, so it is with no small faith that he recounts all that the Lord has done for him despite the hardship he has endured. I also love the use of the word Redeemer. There are so many names that we can call God that are accurate and true and describe facets of His Nature. But instead of calling out to God as his "Savior" or "Lord" or "Master" I think it's worth noting that Job chose Redeemer signifying that God will "bring goodness and honor back" to him. That he won't erase the hardship, but that he will allow it to remain all the while bringing greater value and beauty than ever existed before which was certainly true in Job's story. I'm certain the pain of loosing his family remained for the rest of his earthly life, but God also brought new joy by giving him additional family and descendants as well as multiplying his earthly possessions beyond their original value.
I would encourage you to begin to ask the Lord to redeem what has been lost in this season. To bring an experience greater than the one that was missed, a job better than the one that was lost, a depth of relationship that didn't exist when we we were all so preoccupied with the trimmings of earth.
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!