I’m Walking the Heavenly Way

showalter,ghppic

(photo of G.H. P. Showalter)

I’M WALKING THE HEAVENLY WAY

“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly…” (Heb. 13:16)

      INTRO.:  A hymn which expresses the desire for a better, heavenly country is “I’m Walking the Heavenly Way.”  The text was written and tune was composed both by George Henry Pryor (G. H. P.) Showalter, who was born at Snowville, VA, on Oct. 15, 1870, the son of J. T. and Sarah Catherine Showalter.  Baptized into Christ by his father on the second Sunday in March of 1883, Showalter was educated at the Greendale Institute of VA, Milligan College in TN, and the University of Texas. In 1891 he began preaching in Greendale, VA, and was an active preacher for 63 years. After teaching school and doing some evangelistic work in Virginia and West Virginia from 1892 to 1897, he came to Texas in 1897 and was President of Sabinal Christian College where he served one year. He was also President of Lockney Christian College (now extinct) for ten years.  On Aug. 1, 1900, he married Lena Estelle Honea, and they had three sons and three daughters. In 1908, he became the owner and editor of the Firm Foundation of Austin, TX, and continued in this capacity until the time of his death.

During his tenure there, the Firm Foundation Publishing House came out with several hymnbooks, many of which Showalter helped to edit, including Gospel Songs (No. 1); Gospel Songs No. 2 (1919); Gospel Songs No. 3 (1924); The New Ideal Hymn Book (1930); Wonderful Songs (1938); The New Wonderful Songs (1944); and the Majestic Hymnal (1953). He himself produced a few hymns. One of them, “I’m Walking the Heavenly Way,” copyrighted in 1941 and first published in Our Leader edited that year by Showalter and Thomas S. Cobb, was later included in Greater Gospel Songs and New Wonderful Songs. It was used at Showalter’s funeral. None of his songs are very well known now, but he obviously had an interest in church music.   There is a possibility that Showalter was related to the hymn writer Anthony Johnson Showalter, best known for “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” since they both came from western Virginia, but I have never been able to confirm this. Lena Showalter died in June of 1943, and two years later, on Sept. 6, 1945, George married Winifred Mason Moore of Wichita, KS.  He baptized all six of his children and all of his grandchildren who were old enough to obey the gospel during his lifetime. Also, he conducted the marriage ceremonies for all of his children.

In addition, Showalter served as an elder for over 45 years at the University Church of Christ in Austin. On Oct. 15, 1954, all of the children and thirteen grandchildren came together to celebrate his 84th birthday. Due to the pressures of business, he spent the day at the office. The next morning, Saturday, he became ill and was taken to the hospital late in the day.  Then on Sunday, Oct. 17, 1954, at 1:40 pm, he passed away due to coronary occlusion. The funeral was conducted Tuesday, October 19, at 3:00 P.M. in the University Church building.   W. M. Davis of Dallas, first page writer for the Firm Foundation for over 25 years, delivered the funeral sermon. Davis presented a vigorous message and one that was appreciated by all who were present. Then, the song composed by Showalter, “I’m Walking The Heavenly Way,” was sung at the funeral by a small chorus directed by Ray McGlothlin.  It was said that no single man west of the Mississippi River wielded more influence for good in the Lord’s church during the first half of the twentieth century.

“I’m Walking the Heavenly Way” encourages us to seek for a home in heaven and follow God’s plan to receive it.

I. Stanza 1 looks forward to rest

I’m going home to rest;

I’m walking the heavenly way.

With all the saved and blest,

I’ll reach the fair city some day.

  1. God offers His people rest after a faithful life on earth: Rev. 14:13
  2. This rest will be enjoyed with all the saved and blest: 1 Thess. 4:13-17
  3. The ultimate place for this rest will be the fair city: Heb. 13:14

II. Stanza 2 looks forward to peace and joy

The world I leave behind;

I’m walking the heavenly way.

What peace and joy I find;

I’m walking the heavenly way.

  1. To enter the heavenly way, we must leave the world, referring to the sinfulness of the age in which we live, behind: 1 Jn. 2:15-17
  2. When we do this, we shall have peace: Col. 3:15
  3. The Lord will also give us true joy: Phil. 4:4

III. Stanza 3 looks forward to being at home

I soon shall reach my home

By walking the heavenly way.

And then no more I’ll roam;

I’ve walked in the heavenly way.

  1. Jesus went to prepare us a home or dwelling place in the Father’s house: Jn. 14:1-3
  2. But to reach that home we must walk the strait and narrow heavenly way: Matt. 7:13-14
  3. And when we get there, we’ll no more roam because we’ll be in the very presence of God: Rev. 21:3

IV. Stanza 4 looks forward to praising God

I’ll sing God’s praises here

And walk in the heavenly way;

His praise I’ll sing up there

In heaven some beautiful day.

  1. We sing God’s praises here: Heb. 13:15
  2. Up there, we’ll join with the heavenly hosts and the redeemed of all ages to sing His praises: Rev. 5:8-14
  3. And that will be in heaven: 1 Pet. 1:3-5

CONCL.:  The chorus reminds us of the importance of traveling the only road of life that will bring true joy and ultimate glory.

I’m walking the heavenly way,

Yes, walking the heavenly way;

What joy is mine, what glory divine,

When walking the heavenly way.

If it is my desire to please God in this life and then have an eternal home with Him, I need to be able truthfully to say “I’m Walking the Heavenly Way.”

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One thought on “I’m Walking the Heavenly Way

  1. Reblogged this on MULIEBRAL VIEWPOINT and commented:
    I first learned about this brother when my husband and I rented a room from his widow. It is always great to realize that we don’t have to sing songs written by denominational false teachers.

    Reply

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