HERE IS LOVE
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
INTRO.: A hymn which emphasizes the great love that God showed in sending His Son that we might have everlasting life is Here Is Love. The text of stanzas 1 and 2 was written by William Rees, who was born on Nov. 8, 1802, in a farmhouse called Chwibren Isaf, at the foot of Mynydd Hiraethog, near Llansannan in Denbighshire, Wales. Known as a preacher, lecturer, poet, novelist, astronomer, and political thinker, he served as a minister in Liverpool, England, for over 30 years prior to his death on Nov. 8, 1883, in Chester, England. Exactly when he penned these words is not known. The text of stanzas 3 and 4 was possibly written by William Williams (1717-1791). Williams is best known as the author of the hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah. The hymn Here Is Love was translated from Welsh to English by William Edwards in The Baptist Book of Praise of 1900. The tune (Cymraeg) was composed in 1876 by Robert Lowry (1826-1899). Lowry is remembered for such hymns as Christ Arose, Nothing but the Blood, and Shall We Gather at the River, and for the tunes used with All the Way My Savior Leads Me, Were Marching to Zion, I Need Thee Every Hour, and Something for Jesus. Someone wrote of Here Is Love that This hymn is from the 1904 Welsh Revival. It was known as the love song of that revival. It may have been used in the 1904 Welsh Revival, but it was obviously produced several years earlier.
The updaters have gotten their hands on this one too. They left stanzas 1 and 2 alone, but under the assumption that absolutely no one today can possibly understand what thee and thou mean any longer (and some, perhaps, to make the entire song in the third person rather than having the first two stanzas in the third person and the last two in the second person), they have altered stanzas 3 and 4 thus:
3. Let us all His love accepting Love Him ever all our days
Let us seek His Kingdom only And our lives be to His praise.
He alone shall be our glory Nothing in the world we see
He has cleansed and sanctified us He Himself has set us free.
4. In His truth He does direct me By His Spirit through His Word
And His grace my need is meeting As I trust in Him, my Lord
All His fullness He is pouring In His love and power in me
Without measure Full and boundless As I yield myself to Thee.
In 2009 Gary Brumley made his own version, updating stanza 3 and the first half of stanza 4, replacing the last half of stanza 4 with additional lyrics, and adding a stanza 5.
3. Let me all Your love accepting, Love You Lord, through all my days
Let me seek Your kingdom only And my life be to Your praise.
You alone shall be my glory, Nothing in the world I see
You have cleansed and sanctified me, You Yourself have set me free.
4. Into Truth You always lead me By Your Spirit through Your Word;
And Your grace my need is meeting, As I trust in You, my Lord.
Sweeter than the taste of honey Is Your Word unto my lips.
Like a lamp thats brightly burning Do your precepts light my steps.
5. Jesus, I will ever follow By Your strength, for Your renown.
Here I lay my life before You, Casting down my every crown.
Youre my Lord! You are my Captain! Youre my Treasure! Youre my King!
May my heart be meek and lowly For the increase of Your fame.
One version inexplicably reverses the (updated) lines of stanza 3 to read:
You alone shall be my glory; Nothing in the world I see.
You have cleansed and sanctified me; You Yourself have set me free.
Let me, all Your love accepting, Love You ever all my days;
Let me seek Your kingdom only And my life be to Your praise.
It is becoming increasingly common to tinker with older hymns to make them more relevant to todays generation. While hymns written by human beings are not inspired, I have to wonder if this is related to some folks idea that the Bible somehow needs to be changed so that it can be more appealing to modern society.
The song speaks about several different aspects of Gods love for mankind.
I. Stanza one reminds us that Gods love sent Jesus to shed His precious blood for our sins
Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heavens eternal days.
A. Gods love is as vast at the ocean and wide as a flood because loves everyone, even His enemies: Matt. 6:43-45
B. His love led Him to send Christ to die for us even while we were yet sinners: Rom. 5:8
C. The love of God manifested in Christ will be the source of ceaseless praise through all eternity: Rev. 5:8-10
II. Stanza two reminds us that Gods love extended mercy to provide salvation from sin
On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of Gods mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heavens peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
A. It was on the mount of crucifixion that the fountain for sin: Zech. 13:1
B. This was the opening of the floodgates of Gods mercy for our salvation: Tit. 3:5
C. In the death of Christ, Gods justice was satisfied and His grace revealed: Rom. 3:24-26
III. Stanza 3 reminds us that Gods love places upon us an obligation to love and serve Him in return
Let me, all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.
A. As a result of Gods love for us, we should in turn love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength: Mk. 12:30
B. If we truly love Him, then we must seek His kingdom and His righteousness first in our lives: Matt. 6:33
C. Indeed, because He has cleansed and sanctified us, everything should be done to His glory: Eph. 3:20-21
IV. Stanza four reminds us that Gods love directs us by His Spirit through His word
In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.
A. The sword of the Spirit, by which He accomplishes His work of directing us, is the word: Eph. 6:17
B. Through this word, Gods grace meets all our needs in its teaching: Tit. 2:11-12
C. This is how God draws us to Christ: Jn. 6:44-45
CONCL.: This is a hymn with which most of us are probably unfamiliar because it has not appeared in any of the books published by members of the Lords church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, nor is it currently found in any of our books available today of which I am aware. In fact, I do not recall having seen it in any of the denominational hymnals in my collection, although it is possible that I just did not notice it because I simply did not know it. However, it is a good hymn. It is certainly true that God points our minds to the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for us and says,