(Photo of Kelly Hersey)
“ALL LIFE COMES FROM THEE”
“In whose hand is the soul of every living being, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10)
INTRO.: A hymn which reminds us that in God’s hand is the soul of every living being and the breath of all mankind is “All Life Comes From Thee” (#656 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written by Craig Arthur Roberts (b. 1957). Roberts currently serves as Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. He also is a co-founder and the first President of Sumphonia, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, that promotes hymn-writing and hymns for congregational use. The tune was composed by Kelly Roger Hersey. A medical doctor, Hersey graduated from the University of Arkansas College Of Medicine, Little Rock, AR, in 1987, doing his Internship and Residency Programs in pediatrics from 1987 to 1990, and a Fellowship Program in Neonatology from 1990 to 1993, both at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine Hospitals and Clinic. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine by The American Board of Pediatrics and for several years practiced perinatal medicine, neonatal medicine, and pediatrics at the University-Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, MS, where he was director of telemedicine, director of the Newborn Follow-up Clinic, and medical control director for Neonatal Transport.
On December 7, 2017, Parkridge East Hospital CEO Jarrett Millsaps named Hersey, who is also affiliated with Regional Obstetrical Consultants, as director of the facility’s level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), saying, “Dr. Hersey’s clinical expertise makes him a critical part of the future of the NICU at Parkridge East as we continue to expand our service area to provide care to more families across the tristate region.” As director of the NICU, Hersey oversees the 22-bed NICU at Parkridge East, which serves families throughout the tristate region, providing specialist care for babies born at less than 28 weeks gestation and those who have severe or complex conditions. The unit is staffed around the clock by board-certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and registered nurses.
In addition, Hersey has been active in church music. He provided the tune for another hymn, “Our Fellowship” also with words by Craig Roberts, copyrighted in 1993, which appears in Hymns for Worship Revised, as well as other hymns such as “Glory Yet Untold” and “Lord, Grant Me Strength,” which are found in some other supplements. “All Life Comes from Thee” was copyrighted in 1993 as well. In 2007, Hersey helped to edit the Hymn Supplement 2007 published by Lexington Hymns of Muncie, IN. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, “All Life Comes from Thee” appears only in the 1998 Hymn Supplement: Let the Whole Creation Cry Alleluia, published by the Columbia Hymn Association so far as I know, in addition to Hymns for Worship Revised (not in the original edition).
The hymn expresses praise to the One from whom all life comes.
I. Stanza 1 refers to God’s power
Lord God Almighty, Thy strong hand
Created sky and sea,
And lifted, from deep sea, dry land,
And cause all life to be.
- God is the Almighty One: Gen. 17:1
- He demonstrated His almighty power by creating sky, and sea, and dry land: Gen. 1:1-10
- Also, He caused all life to be so that it is in Him that we live: Acts 17:24-28
II. Stanza 2 refers to God’s love
Lord God of love, Thy tender hand
Reached down to man in sin,
And raised him up in Christ to stand
Alive and pure again.
- Over and over the Scriptures affirm the love of God: Jn. 3:16
- One manifestation of His love was reaching down to man in sin by sending Jesus to die for us: Rom. 5:8
- The result of this is that we can be raised up to sit with Christ: Eph. 2:4-6
III. Stanza 3 refers to God’s immortality
Lord God Immortal, soon Thy hand
Shall beckon us to Thee,
Ascending to an unknown land
To live eternally.
- God is by nature immortal: 1 Tim. 1:17
- We are not by nature immortal but will be beckoned by His hand to an unknown land in death: Heb. 9:27
- But those who by His grace are saved and remain faithful will be made immortal and given eternal life: 1 Jn. 2:25
IV. Stanza 4 refers to God’s salvation
Lord God our Maker, Savior and
We reach up for Thy mighty hand,
For all life comes from Thee.
- The Lord God our Maker is also our Savior: 1 Tim. 2:3-4
- To receive His salvation, we must reach up for His mighty hand by obeying His will: Heb. 5:8-9
- The reason is that the Eternal Deity is the source of all life, not only physical but spiritual: Jn. 1:1-4
CONCL.: The vast majority of spiritual songs written by members of the Lord’s church over the last one hundred fifty years or so have fallen into the category of “gospel songs” which deal with various aspects of the Christian’s life. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. However, it is good to see some brethren in more recent years who have set their hand to writing hymns that simply express praise, honor, and glory to the Lord. In this song, we magnify our God by telling Him, “All Life Comes from Thee.”