“Always With Us”

"…And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen." (Matt. 26.28)

     INTRO.: A hymn, based on the language of this statement of Jesus, which reminds us that He has promised that He will be with us always is "Always With Us." The text was written by Edwin Henry Nevin, who was born on May 9, 1814. After graduating from Jefferson College in 1833 he received a degree in theology from Princeton Seminary in 1836 and served as President of Franklin College for three years. Afterwards, he was minister with at various places including the First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Vernon, OH, until 1857; the Plymouth Congregational Church in Cleveland, OH, and a church in Massachusetts, to 1868; and finally, after a rest of six years due to ill health, with Reformed Churches in Lancaster and Philadelphia, PA, where he retired and, according to Samuel Duffield in his book English Hymns: Their Authors and History of 1888, was still living when the book was written. The author of several hymns, Nevin said that "Always With Us" was produced in 1857. It first appeared in Nason’s Congregational Hymn Book of that year. Nevin died on June 2, 1889, most likely in Philadelphia.

     The tune (Carter) was composed by Edmund S. Carter (1845-1923). A native of New Malton in Yorkshire, England, he attended Worcester College at Oxford and became a minister with the Church of England, serving with such churches as Ealing in Middlesex, York Minster, St. Martin at Micklegate in York, and St. Michael Belfry in York. Robert Guy McCutchan in his book Hymn Tune Names: Their Sources and Significance of 1958 wrote that this tune is also called Ascham, Wreford, Day by Day, and Slingsby.  It was first published in 1865 with John Ellerton’s "A Morning Hymn for Children," which begins, "Day by day we magnify Thee," at Slingsby in East Yorkshire, England. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, or by anyone else for that matter, the only ones that I have ever personally seen this hymn in are the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by Lloyd Otis Sanderson and published by the Gospel Advocate Co., where the text is erroneously attributed to Carter.  I have seen the tune in other books used with various texts.

     The song emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ promise to be with us always.

I. According to stanza 1, He promises to be with us at all times
"Always with us, always with us–Words of cheer and words of love;
Thus the risen Savior whispers, From His dwelling place above."
 A. These words of Jesus, recorded in His word, are words of good cheer: Matt. 9.2, 14.27; Jn. 16.33
 B. Such words have meaning to us because Jesus is not just a dead hero but the risen Savior: Rom. 1.3-4, 2 Tim. 2.8
 C. Thus, we can be assured that He will be with us because He at the throne of God in His dwelling place above: Acts 7.55-56, Heb. 1.1-3

II. According to stanza 2, He promises to be with us in times of toil and sadness
"With us when we toil in sadness, Sowing much and reaping none,
Telling us that in the future Golden harvests shall be won."
 A. Often in this life we toil in sadness and tears because we sow so much and seem to reap so little: Psa. 126.5-6
 B. However, Jesus wants us to remember that like the farmer who sows plants in hope, so we should look to the future and not grow weary in well doing: 1 Cor. 9.10, Gal. 6.9
 C. Thus, we can be assured that the planting and watering that we do, even though we may not see the results, will accomplish good as God gives the increase, so that we remember that our labor is not in vain: 1 Cor. 3.6-8, 15.58

III. According to Stanza 3, He promises to be with us in times of storm and darkness
"With us when the storm is sweeping O’er our pathway dark and drear,
Waking hope within our bosoms, Stilling every anxious fear."
 A. The Bible often uses the idea of a storm or tempest as a figure of the trials and tribulations of life that we face: Psa. 55.1-8, 107.23-32
 B. But even when things seem the most dark and drear, just as His words stilled the tempests on Galilee, the words of Jesus wake hope within our bosoms: Matt. 8.23-27, Heb. 6.17-20
 C. Thus, we can look to Him to help still every anxious fear: Phil. 4.6-7

IV. According to stanza 4, He promises to be with us in times of loneliness and death
"With us in the lonely valley, When we cross the chilling stream–
Lighting up the steps to glory With salvation’s radiant beam."
 A. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, it will be a lonely valley because each one will walk by himself so far as human comradeship is concerned: Psa. 23.4, Heb. 9.27
 B. But the Christian will not be completely alone, because Jesus Christ, who has gone through that valley before us, has destroyed Him who has the power of death and releases us from the fear of death: Heb. 2.9, 14-15
 C. Thus, He will light up the steps of glory with the radiant beam of the salvation that is ready to be revealed at the last time, shining upon our inheritance: 1 Pet. 1.3-5

     CONCL.: Obviously, as time passes by, hymns which were meaningful and hence beloved in one generation are all but forgotten by succeeding generations and replaced by other hymns. A few survive because they seem to speak a universal message that makes them popular through the ages. However, others which seem no longer remembered still deserve to be available and used because they remind us of truth that we need. And certainly we need to be reminded that Jesus has promised to be "Always With Us."


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