“…My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning” (Ps. 130.6)

     INTRO.: A song which points out the importance of waiting for the Lord as one might wait through the night for the morning is “Sunrise” (#428 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by William Charles Poole, who was born on Apr. 14, 1875 at Easton, MD, to farming parents and was converted at age eleven. Educated at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, he became a Methodist preacher in 1900 and served various churches in the Wilmington, DE, Conference for 35 years.  Charles Hutchinson Gabriel encouraged him to produce gospel song texts. His first and perhaps best known one is “Just When I Need Him Most” in 1907 with music by Gabriel (it is also included in Sacred Selections).

     The tune for “Sunrise” was composed by Bentley DeForest Ackley (1872-1958). The song was first published in the 1924 Songs of Faith and Triumph by the Hall-Mack Co., and the copyright was renewed in 1952 by the Rodeheaver Co. Some of Ackley’s other melodies that have appeared in our books are for “I Walk With the King” and “What Will You Do With Jesus?” Poole died at Lewes, DE, on Dec. 24, 1949. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “Sunrise” appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson, in addition to Sacred Selections.

     This song encourages us to wait until that time when life ends and we can see the Lord.

I. Stanza 1 mentions the end of the way
“When I shall come to the end of my way,
When I shall rest at the close of the day,
When ‘Welcome home’ I shall hear Jesus say,
O that will be sunrise for me.”
 A. Someday we shall come to the end of our earthly way in death: Heb. 9.27
 B. Then those who die in the Lord will rest from their labors: Rev. 14.13
 C. And ultimately Jesus will say, “Welcome home,” and we can enter into His joy: Matt. 25.21

II. Stanza 2 mentions seeing the great King
“When in His beauty I see the great King,
Join with the ransomed His praises to sing,
When I shall join them my tribute to bring,
O that will be sunrise for me.”
 A. The hope of those who are pure in heart is that someday they will see God: Matt. 5.8
 B. At that time, they can join with the ransomed of all ages to sing His praises: Rev. 5.8-10
 C. Then the redeemed will join to bring tribute to Him and serve Him forever: Rev. 22.1-3

III. Stanza 3 mentions the hope of heaven
“When life is over and daylight is past,
In heaven’s harbor my anchor is cast,
When I see Jesus my Savior at last,
O that will be sunrise for me.”
 A. The song likens life to a day in which the coming of night represents death: Jn. 9.4
 B. Yet, when daylight is past, the hope of the righteous is that in heaven their anchor will be cast: Heb. 6.19-20
 C. And there, when the sun rises again for eternity we are promised that we shall see our Savior as He is: 1 Jn. 3.1-3

     CONCL.: The chorus continues to point our minds forward to that glorious eternity.
“Sunrise tomorrow, sunrise tomorrow,
Sunrise in glory is waiting for me;
Sunrise tomorrow, sunrise tomorrow,
Sunrise with Jesus for eternity.”
The Thessalonian brethren “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven” (1 Thes. 1.9-10). As we journey through this life, we must worship our God, work in His service, walk in the light, wage the good warfare, and then as our days begin to draw to a close, wait for the coming “Sunrise.”


16 thoughts on ““Sunrise”

  1. How can i find the music to this song? My great aunt passed away and left a note wanting this song sung at the funeral

  2. Other than to say that you could try to find copies of the two hymnbooks that I mentioned ("Great Songs of the Church No. 2 which is no longer being published, and "Sacred Selections of the Church" which is being published), I don't know where to tell you to find the music. I'm sure that the song has appeared in other hymnbooks, but these are the only two in my collection which have it.Edited by hymnstudies on Jul. 23, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    • We found the hymn Sunrise in another book called “Hymns of the Christian Life”, page 275, published in 1936 by Christian Publications, Inc.

      • Hello.
        My father has always talked of having this song played at his funeral. He died earlier today, and I would love to be able to have it played at his funeral.
        Do you still have a copy of it?
        Thank you!

  3. I was asked to sing this song at the funeral of an older gentleman who was a dear, dear friend. I have searched for the music and hoped to find it on CD or tape….without any luck. But, stumbling across this article, with all the words and explanations of them…I have resolved to reading the lyrics instead of singing them. I think that my friend, Mr. Charlie, would be very happy to have them read, conveying his wishes for everyone to wait for that perfect sunrise.

  4. My father-in-law, now deceased, used to sing this hymn at funerals. He had a beautiful tenor voice. My church wants to sing this hymn for its 5th Sunday service on July 31st. Could you e-mail a copy–words and music– as soon
    as possible? Thanks so much!!!

    Wayne A. Rohne 817-277-4078


  5. Yes, I would definitely like to have a copy of “Sunrise.” My address is 1899 Sulky Trail, Miamisburg, Ohio 45342. I will be willing to pay for it and the postage for mailing it. Thank you.

  6. Let me just remind all the people who have asked for copies of “Sunrise,” it is NOT I, the owner of this weblog, who can supply them, but it is someone else who made a comment–please read through the comments to see which one. Thank you.

  7. The music can be found in the song booklet, Old
    Fashioned Revival Hour Songs, No. 1. published by Rodeheaver Company, Winona Lake, Indiana 46590. The sole selling agent is WORD. Don’t know if they are still in business.

  8. I would so appreciate you E-mailing the music to this hymn. It was sung at my father’s funeral years and have searched for the music. Thanks

    • As I have said before, Hymnstudies at homeschoolblogger is simply a blog for posting hymn studies. It is NOT a sheet music business or clearing house. I simply am unable to e-mail the music for any hymn to anybody. If you want to hear the music for many hymns, you can try Nethymnal at http://nethymnal.org, and if you want to see the music to some hymns, you can try Public Domain Hymns at http://www.pdhymns.com/ . Of course, neither of these sources includes every hymn available, so I don’t know if either one has “Sunrise.” I would suggest that you just do an Internet search for the song, but you may have already done that and it led you to the Hymnstudies site. But that’s about all I can suggest.


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