"GOOD MORNING IN GLORY"
"…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Ps. 30.5)
INTRO.: A song which looks forward to the time when the night of this life is passed and we can have eternal joy with Jesus in the morning of glory is "Good Morning In Glory" (#410 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Adoniram Judson Gordon, who was born at New Hampton, NH, on Apr. 19, 1836, and named for the famous pioneer Baptist missionary to Burma, Adoniram Judson. Educated at Brown University and Newton Theological Seminary, he became a Baptist minister in 1863 and began his work with the Baptist Church at Jamaica Plain, MA. Six years later, in 1869, he followed Baron Stow at the Clarendon St. Baptist Church in Boston, MA. One of the editors of The Service of Song for Baptist Churches in 1871, he edited his own hymnbook, The Vestry Hymn and Tune Book, the following year. His most famous melody, used with "My Jesus, I Love Thee," appeared in the 1876 edition of The Service of Song for Baptist Churches.
In addition to his work as a local minister, Gordon served as editor of the monthly publication The Watchword for a time as well as authoring a series of devotional books entitled Quiet Talks, and in 1878 he received the D. D. degree from Brown University. A close friend of revival evangelist Dwight L. Moody, he was of great assistance in Moody’s evangelist campaigns in Boston. One of his other hymns to remain in common usage, "Good Morning in Glory," was first published in the 1894 Coronation Hymnal, which he edited with Arthur Pierson. Gordon died in Boston on Feb. 2., 1895. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. To my knowledge, it is found today only in Sacred Selections.
The song points our minds to that time when we shall be with the Jesus Christ, the Lamb, on Mt. Zion.
I. Stanza 1 talks about climbing the mountains
"The night is fast passing, The day is at hand, Day is at hand;
We’ve sighted the mountains of Beulah land, Sweet Beulah land."
A. The night refers to this life which is often filled with darkness of sin: Rom. 13.12, 1 Thess. 5.5
B. The day refers to the perfect day toward which Christians look in the future: Prov. 4.18
C. The song seems to make it sound as if Gordon believed, mistakenly, that Beulah land is heaven; the prophecy of being called Beulah follows the giving of the new name which would indicate that Beulah (married) refers to the church which is married to Christ (Edgar Page Stites got it right in the song "Beulah Land," where we are now in Beulah land and on its highest mount we stand to look away across the sea to those mansions that are prepared for us): Isa. 62.1-4. However, I believe the song can still be sung with the picture that we’ve sighted those mountains in Beulah land (the church now in this life) by which at the end of our lives we shall climb to reach the good morning in glory
II. Stanza 2 talks about hearing the glorified band
"With harps and with trumpets, The glorified band, Glorified band,
Are sounding their welcome to Beulah land, Sweet Beulah land."
A. Ellis J. Crum in Sacred Selections changed the first line to read "With songs of thanksgiving," but the Apocalypse definitely pictures those in heaven having harps: Rev. 5.8; even if we understand that the harps are simply symbolic of the beauty of their praising God, it seems to me, as I have said before, if we can read about them in Revelation, why can we not sing about them?
B. The glorified would refer to the redeemed of all ages who have gone on before: Rev. 7.9-10
C. Again, while the words make it appear that the glorified band is welcoming us to heaven, it is also true that the heavenly hosts welcome the sinner who repents to enter Beulah land, the church: Lk. 15.7
III. Stanza 3 talks about seeing the Lamb on Mt. Zion
"The Lamb on Mt. Zion With nail-pierced hand, Nail-pierced hand,
Has opened the portals of Beulah land, Sweet Beulah land."
A. The Lamb on Mt. Zion obviously refers to Jesus Christ in heaven: Rev. 14.1
B. This Lamb is the one who was pierced for us that He might redeem us with His blood: Rev. 5.6-9
C. It was He who opened the portals of Beulah land in building His church, gates by which sinners can enter into fellowship with Him and prepare for the eternal kingdom: Matt. 16.18
IV. Stanza 4 talks about nearing the strand or end of life
"Then sing, weary pilgrims, You’re nearing the strand, Nearing the strand,
Where loved ones await you in Beulah land, Sweet Beulah land."
A. The Christian who is travelling toward the eternal city is identified as a pilgrim: 1 Pet. 2.11
B. He is nearing the strand as he approaches the time of death: Heb. 9.27
C. Then when the Lord returns, he can look forward along with loved ones (Crum, as usual, in Sacred Selections changes this to "saved ones") who have been in Beulah land (the church) and who perhaps have influenced him to enter Beulah land (the church) to being together with the Lord forever: 1 Thess. 4.16-17
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us of the end result of the journey that we have made through Beulah land to eternity.
"We’ll say good morning in glory, Good morning in glory,
We’ll say good morning in glory, When the darkness has turned to day."
The song can be thought of as picturing the Christian as he nears the end of his life, climbing the final mountains, hearing more acutely the strains of the heavenly hosts, getting closer glimpses of the Lamb, and finally reaching the other shore. While there may be many hardships along the way, it will all be worth it when we can say "Good Morning In Glory."