"NO SHADOWS YONDER"
"…Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone…" (Rev. 21.11)
INTRO.: A hymn which pictures heaven as a place of light is "No Shadows Yonder." The text was written by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889). It was produced around 1856 and probably first published in his 1857 Hymns of Faith and Hope. A well-known Scottish preacher and hymnwriter of the 1800s, he is best remembered today for his hymns "Go, Labor On," "Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face," "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" and "For Me He Careth." The most commonly used tune (Holy City) with "No Shadows Yonder" was composed by Alfred Robert Gaul, who was born on Apr. 30, 1837 at Norwich, England, and became one of Britain’s most respected composers. After serving as a chorister at Norwich Cathedral beginning at age nine, he studied music under Dr. Zechariah Buck, an organist famed for his teaching of choirboys. Later Gaul himself became an organist at Ladywood, Edgaston, and Birmingham. Also, he taught at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, the King Edward High School for Girls in Birmingham, and the Blind Asylum.
As a composer of church music Gaul is credited with several cantatas, including Ruth and The Holy City, the latter from 1882, probably being his best known work, in which he set Bonar’s words to music. In 1887, he became conductor of the Walsall Philharmonic, and he died on Sept. 13, 1913 at Birmingham. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "No Shadows Yonder" appeared in the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 as arranged by the editor Lloyd Otis Sanderson (1901-1992). In other hymnbooks, I have seen the song in 1919 New Songs of Praise and Power edited by J. Lincoln Hall; the 1925 Hymnal–Church of the Brethren (with a tune by William J. Kirkpatrick) published by Brethen Publishing House; and the 1966 Songs that Live edited by Ernest J. and Ida B. Bontrager.
The song serves to help us consider and long for the blessings that await the faithful in heaven.
I. Stanza 1 says there will be no shadows
"No shadows yonder! All light and song! Each day I wonder,
And say, ‘How long Shall time me sunder From that dear throng."
A. In heaven, there will be no shadows because the glory of God Himself will be the light: Rev. 21.23
B. While longing for that home, our spirits often wonder "how long?": Rev. 6.10
C. As long as we live on this earth, we are sundered physically from that dear throng and from Christ Himself: 2 Cor. 5.6
II. Stanza 2 says there will be no weeping
"No weeping yonder! All fled away! While here I wander
Each weary day, I sigh and ponder My long, long stay."
A. In heaven, there will be no weeping because all tears will have fled away: Rev. 21.4
B. However, in this life, we shall experience many tears on our weary way: Ps. 69.1-3
C. This causes us to sigh and ponder our seemingly long, long stay as we wait for the time appointed: Heb. 9.27
III. Stanza 3 says that there will be no parting
"No parting yonder! No space or time Shall hearts e’er sunder,
In that fair clime, Dearer and fonder In love sublime."
A. In heaven there will be no parting because it is the place where we shall have eternal life: 1 Jn. 2.25
B. It is indeed pictured as a fair clime: Rev. 22.1-5
C. Also it will be a place where hearts will grow dearer and fonder in love because we shall be in the very presence of Christ and see Him as He is: 1 Jn. 3.1-3
IV. Stanza 4 says that there will be no wanting
"None wanting yonder! Bought by the Lamb, All gathered under
The evergreen palm, Loud as night’s thunder Swells out the psalm."
A. In heaven, there will be no wanting because everyone there will have been bought by the blood of the Lamb: Rev. 7.13-14
B. The evergreen palms represent the kingly victory of Christ and His people: Rev. 7.9-10
C. Those who stand around the throne will join in the glad psalm of praise to God and the Lamb: Rev. 5.8-14
CONCL.: During this life we shall experience our times of shadows, when we shall be weeping, many times because of parting from loved ones, and have other wants. However, all of these things should serve to draw us closer to the only one who can provide for those deepest needss and give us hope for a better future after this life is over. Therefore, we must always set our affections on things above and remember that there will be "No Shadows Yonder."