"THERE’LL BE NO SORROW THERE"
"…Neither sorrow, nor crying…" (Rev. 21.4)
INTRO.: A song which focuses attention on the fact that there will be neither sorrow nor crying in heaven is "There’ll Be No Sorrow There." The text was written by Mary Stanley Bunce Palmer Dana Shindler (1810-1883). She married Charles W. Dana in 1835, but he died in 1840 and she married Robert D. Shindler in 1851. During her life she published some six volumes of poetry. Cyberhymnal lists nine hymns attributed to her, including "Flee as a Bird" and "I’m a Pilgrim," both of which have appeared in some of our hymnbooks. She is also sometimes erroneously credited with "Prince of Peace, Control My Will" which is actually by Mary Ann Barber Sterrett. "There’ll Be No Sorrow There" was first published in the author’s 1840 work The Southern Harp.
The tune was composed by Charles R. Dunbar. No further information is available about him, except that he also produced the melody for Ralph E. Hudson’s "I’ll Live for Him" in 1882. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the only in which I have found any form of "There’ll Be No Sorrow There" is the 1927 book The Cross and Resurrection In Song, Revised and Enlarged, edited by S. H. and Flavil Hall and published by F. L. Rowe of Cincinnati, OH, where the tune and chorus are used with the first three stanzas of an arrangement from a hymn by Anne B. Steele, with words as follows:
1. "Far from the scenes of night Unbounded glories rise,
And realms of infinite delight Unknown to mortal eyes."
2. Fair land! could mortal eyes But half its charms explore,
How would our spirits long to rise, And dwell on earth no more!"
3. "No cloud those regions know, Realms ever bright and fair,
For sin, the source of every woe, Can never enter there."
4. "O may the prospect fire Our hearts with ardent love,
Till wings of faith and strong desire Bear every thought above."
5. "Prepare us, Lord divine, For Thy bright courts on high;
Then bid our spirits rise, and join The chorus of the sky."
Other books in which I have seen Mrs. Shindler’s hymn with Dunbar’s music include the 1939 Favorite Songs and Hymns published by Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Co.; the 1972 Christian Hymnary edited by John J. Overholt; and the 1993 Old School Hymnal Eleventh Edition edited by Roland U. Green. The text is used with another tune arranged by William Hauser in the 1913-1914 Good Old Songs edited by C. H. Cayce, and in the 1980 New Harmonia Sacra Legacy Edition compiled by Lydia Ann Beery from Genuine Church Music begun by Joseph Funk in 1822. The 1957 All American Church Hymnal published by John T. Benson has a hymn by Luther B. Bridgers (author and composer of "He Keeps Me Singing") entitled "Some Day, It Won’t Be Long," which uses the chorus of "There’ll Be No Sorrow There" to be sung after the last stanza.
The song points our minds to the joys of heaven to comfort us in death.
I. Stanza 1 says that the song of heaven is one of ecstasy
"Oh, sing to me of heaven When I am called to die;
Sing songs of holy ecstasy To waft my soul on high."
A. Unless the Lord comes first, someday we shall all be called to die: Heb. 9.27
B. The word "ecstasy" means "a feeling of overpowering joy; rapture." The music often played at a lot of funerals is, to me, positively morbid and depressing. While we might want to avoid such rousing songs as "The Fight Is On," there is nothing wrong with singing songs of joy and rapture at the funerals of faithful Christians because we sorrow not as those without hope: 1 Thess. 5.13
C. Such songs are pictured as wafting the soul on high as it is born by angels to Abraham’s bosom: Lk. 16.22
II. Stanza 2 says that the song of heaven is one of joyfulness
"When cold and sluggish drops Roll off my marble brow,
Break forth in songs of joyfulness; Let heaven begin below."
A. Death is described as a time when cold and sluggish drops roll off the brow; quite often as one grows older and death approaches, it is almost impossible to get warm: 1 Ki. 1.1
B. While death is a time of sorrow for those left behind, if the dying one has citizenship in heaven and is waiting for the Savior, it is also a time that we can "rejoice in the Lord": Phil. 3.20-21, 4.4
C. This is because the hope of heaven is something that begins below: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
III. Stanza 3 says that the song of heaven is one of brightness
"When the last moments come, Oh, watch my dying face,
To catch the bright seraphic gleam, Which on each feature plays."
A. Again, the last moments will come to each one of us in death: Eccl. 12.6-7
B. While having a "peaceful hour in which to die" does not prove that one is a Christian, the fact is that those who are faithful Christians should have a "bright seraphic gleam" because they are going to be with Christ: Phil. 1.21-23
C. This is why the death of the saints is precious unto the Lord: Ps. 116.15
IV. Stanza 4 says that the song of heaven is one of cheer
"Then to my raptured ear Let one sweet song be given;
Let music cheer me last on earth, And greet me first in heaven."
A. Because, as noted earlier, death can be a time of joy for the Christian, it is fitting that there be singing: Jas. 5.13
B. Not knowing whether it would be their last day on earth or not, Paul and Silas found comfort in singing when in the jail at Philippi: Acts 16.25
C. The book of Revelation definitely reveals that there is singing by the saints in the heavenly places: Rev. 5.8-10
V. Stanza 5 says that the song of heaven is one of home
"Then round my senseless clay Assemble those I love,
And sing of heaven, delightful heaven, My glorious home above."
A. Physically, we are made of clay and at death we shall return to the dust from whence we came: Gen. 2.7, 3.19
B. Yet, even in death we can "sing of heaven, delightful heaven": Matt. 8.11
C. Why? Because it is our glorious home above, that for which we hope: Col. 1.3-5
CONCL.: The chorus explains why the dying saint would want those around him to sing of heaven.
"There’ll be no sorrow there, There’ll be no sorrow there,
In heaven above where all is love, There’ll be no sorrow there."
Cyberhymnal uses a hymn by Lewis Hartsough with this same title, melody, and chorus. This version is also found in the Praise and Worship Hymnal published by the Lillenas Publishing Co. of Kansas City, MO.
1. "I love to sing (orig. think) of heaven, Where white robed angels are;
Where many a friend is gathered safe From fear, and toil, and care."
2. "I love to think of heaven, Where my Redeemer reigns;
Where rapturous songs of triumph rise, In endless, joyous strains."
3. "I love to think of heaven, The saints’ eternal home,
Where palms, and robes, and crowns ne’er fade, And all their joys are one."
4. "I love to think of heaven, The greetings there we’ll meet,
The harps–the songs forever ours–The walks–the golden steet."
5. "I love to think of heaven, That promised land so fair;
Oh, how my raptured spirit longs To be forever there."
There are many reasons that God has revealed in His word as to why we should want to hope for heaven–He is there, His Son who died to save us is there, and the redeemed of all ages will be there. Still another reason is that "There’ll Be No Sorrow There."