Saturday, October 25, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

Life can be so cumbersome at times. Are you stressed out? Do you find yourself bowed down with heartache and pain, uncertain and worried about the future, frustrated in temptation, or discouraged in your walk? You can find shelter right next to the heart of God.

Dr. Cleland McAfee was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago. One day "he received word that his brother and sister-in-law had lost both of their daughters to diptheria within twenty-four hours. He was grief-stricken. He was asked to say some words at the funeral and also to sing a solo. He couldn't think of anything to say or to sing. But his mind went to verses in Psalms that brought comfort and rest to those who sought refuge in the Lord. As he meditated further, he wrote the words and music to this simple hymn, Near to the Heart of God.

"At the double funeral, outside the darkened, quarantined house of his brother, Cleland McAfee with a choking voice sang this hymn publicly for the first time. The following Sunday, his church choir sang it from their pastor's handwritten copy."

The Complete Book of Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs, by William J. Petersen & Ardythe Petersen, Tyndale, 2006

Among the Psalms that possibly gave Dr. McAfee his inspiration are Psalm 46 and Psalm 94:19. Take a moment to click on the links and read these verses.

This is a beautiful rendition of this song, simply sung by a choir in Canada. While professional musicians and videos are wonderful, I don't think anything pleases God more than His people lifting their voices in song in the local church. Or in their homes and in their hearts.


There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


WORDS & MUSIC: Cleland McAffee, 1903

Find more songs to bless your weekend at Amy's!


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Sita said...

This goes along with what I wrote in my last post. Just last night I read an update of a 'modern-day Job' in our congregation whom we have been praying for for 2 years.

Every update recently seems like a rock thrown on hearts made tender by the love that grows as you intercede for someone. Her body is wracked by cancer and is spreading even as our prayers are increasing. Yet her countenance radiates that she has found her rest 'near to the heart of God'.
This song comforts me today. Thank you for sharing this.

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

This is a beautiful arrangement. This is one of those hymns that I love to play on the piano when I am alone.


Cathy said...

That is just gorgeous, Linda, thanks so much for sharing it.

A Stone Gatherer said...

Wonderful old hymn! I can hear the tune in my head even now! Thanks for always sharing those wonderful songs!