From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Shall We Gather at the River

On earth and in heaven


Shall we gather at the river, where bright angel feet have trod;
  With its crystal tide forever, flowing from the throne of God?

Refrain:
Yes, we'll gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river, that flows from the throne of God.


On the margin of the river, washing up its silver spray;
  We shall walk and worship ever, all the happy golden day.

Ere we reach the shining river, lay we ev'ry burden down;
  Grace our spirits will deliver and provide a robe and crown.

At the smiling of the river, mirror of the Savior’s face,
  Saints, whom death will never sever, lift their songs of saving grace.

Soon we'll reach the shining river, soon our pilgrimage will cease;
  Soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.



Library of Congress,
Prints and  Photographs Division
 Lomax Collection
LC-DIG-ppmsc-00289 DLC
Robert LOWRY, a Baptist preacher and college professor (March 12, 1826 – November 25, 1899, wrote the words and music of this old gospel song. The imagery is based on Revelations 22:1 (King James Version): "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God..."

Many Christians still love this song, more than a century after it was written, because its simple message of faith, comfort, and hope still resonates. I suspect that the song's lyrics have reminded many Christians of river baptisms where their friends and family gathered.

Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
 Detroit Publishing Company Collection
LC-USZ62-107755 DLC
"Shall We Gather at the River" was sung at the funerals of both my mother's parents, Harry SEES (1893-1957) and Winnie Violet EATON Sees (1899-1932).

Related:

Robert Lowry (Biography, includes the story behind "Shall We Gather at the River")

I hope you'll enjoy these. I certainly did!
Shall We Gather at the River (Nice, traditional version, YouTube)
Shall We Gather at the River (Tennessee Ernie Ford, You Tube)
Shall We Gather at the River (Banjo and recorder, YouTube)
Shall We Gather at the River (Randy Travis, YouTube)
Shall We Gather at the River (A 1955 baptism)

From a stereoscopic image made by Robert N. Dennis in 1898

2 comments:

Collagemama said...

I hear it on an old-fashioned pump organ in one of those north Nebraska Methodist churches.

Genevieve said...

I think you can hear it in just about every Western that John Ford ever made.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.