Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lord, to Thee Alone We Turn

As we begin this Lenten season, don’t forget we are not alone through our journey!

Title: Lord, to Thee Alone we turn

Tune: Ramoth

Meter: Doubled

Composer: John Baptiste Calkin (March 16th, 1827-April 15th, 1905)

Author: Albert Eubule Evans (1839-1896)

                Very little is actually known about this hymn, but it is apparent that in his day, Albert E. Evans was a busy man. Having published numerous hymns throughout the latter half of the 19th century, Evans was a well-known protestant writer. Evans was educated in St. Mary’s Hall in Oxford, England, where he earned his B.A. in 1866. Two years prior to earning his degree, Evans took holy orders, holding Curacies at Slough, New Windsor, and Walmer. A few years later, Evans became the Secretary of the South American Missionary Society, and eventually became an assistant Examiner to the Civil Service Commissioners. In 1875, Evans became Rector of Kirk-Hallam, Ilkston which would be his last post of note. Some of his most known works are Pietas Peurilis (1865), and The Fourfold Message of Advent (1870). Several of Evans’ hymns were found in a collection published by Rev. R Brown-Brothwick entitled Sixteen Hymns (1870), Brown-Brothwick’s Select Hymns for Church and Home (1871), Dr. Martineau’s Hymns (1873), and in the Society for Christian Knowledge’s Church Hymns (1871).
                The tune “Ramoth,” was composed by John Baptiste Calkin, who got most of his early musical training from his father, James Calkin (1786-1862), who was a well-known pianist, cellist, and composer.  In 1853, Calkin began working as the Organist, Preceptor, and Choirmaster at the St. Collumba’s College in Dublin. After some time in Dublin, Calkin returned to London where he held the post of Church Organist at several different churches. During his life, Calkin became a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, as well as a professor at the Croydon Conservatory in London. Though not much is known about Calkin, he is known for writing the setting for the famous Christmas hymn, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which the text was composed by Henry Wadsworth.

The Text:

(1)    Lord, to Thee alone we turn,
To Thy cross for safety fly;
There, as penitents, to learn
How to live and how to die.
Sinful on our knees we fall;
Hear us, as for help we plead;
Hear us when on Thee we call;
Aid us in our time of need.

(2)    In the midst of sin and strife,
In the depths of mortal woe,
Teach us, Lord, to live a life
Meet for sojourners below.
Though the road be oft times dark,
Though the feet in weakness stray,
Lead us, Savior as the ark
Led Thy chosen on their way.

(3)    Weak and weary and alone
When the vale of death we tread,
Then be all Thy mercy shown,
Then be all Thy love displayed;
Guard us in that darksome hour,
Lead us to the land of rest,
Where, secure from Satan’s power,
We may lie upon Thy breast.

My Take on the Hymn:

                The title of this hymn says it all for me. We come across strife each and every day of our lives, but we can never truly deal with our struggles without Christ. The text of this hymn asks Christ to help us stay true to him and stay focused on Him alone. For many people, lent is very difficult, especially having to sacrifice something for 40 days (I gave up my laptop, so all of these posts will be coming to you from the first floor of the Minnesota State University, Mankato library!). If we simply turn our hearts to Christ and let Him take our struggles, we will live a life free of regret, free of sin, and free of stress from things that are menial. The first stanza offers up the first sign of faithfulness when the author says “to thy cross for safety fly.” Christ asks us to come to the cross with our sins so that we may, through his death, be rid of all of our sins. The second stanza shows reverence to Christ by asking Him to teach us how to live out our lives as faithfully as possible. By asking Christ to show us his mercy and show his light on the road ahead of us, we are giving Him control and letting our lives be lead to a greater purpose! The third stanza is the most desperate of all. In the darkest hour of our lives, we must turn to Christ to take away our pain, but that is when turning to Christ is the hardest. We can turn from God, and look to the world for comfort, but everything on this earth is a temporary fix, and it is only through Christ that our struggles will end, and we will find an eternal home to rest when it is our time!

The Hymn:
Unfortunately, there is no Youtube video to accompany the music.

Julian, John. "A. Eubule Evans." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

Unkown. "RAMOTH." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

Unkown. "John Baptiste Calkin." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

"Lord, to Thee Alone We Turn." Lord, to Thee Alone We Turn. Cyber Hymnal, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

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