In a comment on another blog that I participate in, Kingdom Bloggers, someone wrote that I had a rich Christian heritage. I suppose part of that heritage is my knowledge of hymns or perhaps more correctly gospel songs.
I love hymns. I don’t necessarily want to go to a church that has a steady diet of hymns. I rather like all the new stuff. I understand why the hymns are taking a backseat. Yet it seems I return to the hymns often.
I’ll think of a random hymn and won’t be able to get it out of head. I’ll find it on YouTube or elsewhere on the internet. Sometimes I’ll play it over and over and over again. I fear this means I am old.
I guess it is a bit of nostalgia. I also think it is that the hymns and gospel songs have a lot of theology in them. Today, unexpectedly, what is probably now an obscure gospel song came to mind.
Hold the Fort for I am Coming
It dates to just after the Civil War. It’s inspiration came from that war. I found an interesting history of the song; you can see it here. Evidently, the song has been used for a variety of purposes. I found this more comprehensive history of the song here.
Since I am guess you have never heard it, here are the words:
Ho, my comrades! see the signal waving in the sky!
Reinforcements now appearing, victory is nigh.
“Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to Heaven, “By Thy grace we will.”
See the mighty host advancing, Satan leading on;
Mighty ones around us falling, courage almost gone!
See the glorious banner waving! Hear the trumpet blow!
In our Leader’s Name we triumph over ev’ry foe.
Fierce and long the battle rages, but our help is near;
Onward comes our great Commander, cheer, my comrades, cheer!
There are no videos of this song on YouTube but you can hear a midi-version of it here.
As I was driving to the store, here comes this song in my head. I started singing it. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
When I was a child and this song would be sung, the congregation would get their handkerchiefs out. Almost everyone carried them back then. When you got to the part where you were waving the answer back to heaven, you’d wave your handkerchief. If you didn’t have one, you’d raise your hand. Sometimes when we’d declare that by His grace we will, both hands would be raised. You have to understand this was a lot of action for a bunch of Norwegians.
There are so many times I feel so besieged. I get so weary of the battle of life. Nevertheless, by God’s grace I am still standing. I wave my answer back to heaven in the form of a prayer – only by Your grace God.
This song was not just inspired by the Civil War. It’s true inspiration comes from words in red in the Scriptures. It comes from that book at the end of the canon. It comes from Revelation 2:25 where the spirit says to the church in Thyatira:
Just hold on to what you have until I come
Holding on, sometimes that is all you can do. Another song floats in my head as I write this, a hymn that seems to answer our answer and cry for grace: