Friday, June 27, 2008

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Joseph Scriven, 1819-1886

"Joseph Scriven had wealth, education, a devoted family, and a pleasant life in his native Ireland. Then unexpected tragedy entered. On the night before Scriven's scheduled, wedding, his fiancée drowned. In his deep sorrow, Joseph realized that he could find the solace and support he needed only in his dearest friend, Jesus.

Soon after this tragedy, Scriven dramatically changed his lifestyle. He left Ireland for Port Hope, Canada, determined to devote all of his extra time in being a friend and helper to others. He often gave away his clothing and possessions to those in need, and he worked---without pay---for anyone who needed him. Scriven became known as "the Good Samaritan of Port Hope."

When Scriven's mother became ill in Ireland, he wrote a comforting letter to her, enclosing the words of his newly written poem with the prayer that these brief lines would remind her of a never-failing heavenly Friend. Sometime later, when Joseph Scriven himself was ill, a friend who came to call on him happened to see a copy of these words scribbled on scratch paper near his bed. The friend read the lines with interest and asked, "Who wrote those beautiful words?" "The Lord and I did it between us," was Scriven's reply."

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

(from "Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions," p. 19)


The following video features Tennessee Ernie Ford and Odetta singing "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" (An Exclusive TEF Enterprises MemoryClip From The Ford Show Archives)


This is a nature music video for "What A Friend We Have In Jesus"

9 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

Okay, I realize this has spiritual qualities, but I was never a fan of singing this song.

I used to state a parody, 'What a friend we have in Chucky'.

Sorry.:)

Abbey said...

I never have really liked the song either, but the words are all right, I guess.

It always amazes me to find out how many of these hymns are written during hard times. Guess God does use bad happenings for our growing in the faith.

Jeff said...

You guys are just sacrilegious.

Jeff said...

In the Lutheran church I grew up in, this was one of my favorite hymns, along with others such as "Onward, Christian Soldiers," "I Love To Tell The Story," "How Great Thou Art," and "Holy, Holy, Holy."

Then, when I started attending non-denominational churches, I loved the way they took popular commercials (for Pepsi, etc.) and changed the words to make them into Christian songs.

When I started attending Baptist churches, I couldn't stand most of the hymns that the Baptists sang. They were hard to sing, the notes went to extreme highs and extreme lows, and they just didn't sound pretty to me. They were grating to my ears, like running your fingernails along a chalkboard.

satire and theology said...

No, he is...

Jeff said...

Of course, it didn't help that the first Baptist church I belonged to had a Pastor who led the singing and sang like a bloated toad frog, and very loudly.

Abbey said...

^ LOL

"How Great Thou Art" was okay...until some guy was singing it at a funeral I had to go to. I really don't like Baptist-sounding hymns either. They're just...for lack of better wording, ho-hum. I like hymns, without taking into account what the words are saying, that are more complex and have more form to them. So many of the hymns all sound the same - the harmony is in thirds and then they have their little chromatic section...etc. It's just plain boring.

Abbey said...

Forgot to say that with so many Baptist churches, the pianist just tries to get the maximum NPS so as to get the most possible "Amens." That kind of bugs me too...

Jeff said...

I really don't like Baptist-sounding hymns either.

Glad I'm not alone in that.

So many of the hymns all sound the same - the harmony is in thirds and then they have their little chromatic section...etc. It's just plain boring.

That's right! So bring on that rock n' roll! (jk) Actually, if they would take the words of some of the old hymns and put them with more contemporary-sounding music, that would be cool. Contemporary music with lyrics which have classical theological depth and meaning. One time I turned Exodus 33-34 into a rap song (even though I'm no rap artist). If Christian song writers would take chapters from the Bible, without changing the words (and there are many versions to choose from today, so they would have many choices) and put cool music to the words, that would be great. A few have done that, I think, but not nearly enough.

Forgot to say that with so many Baptist churches, the pianist just tries to get the maximum NPS so as to get the most possible "Amens." That kind of bugs me too...

Yeah, that's what they did in Pastor Bullfrog's church too. They sped up the song so fast that you had to race just to keep up with it.