Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Link Ups and Firm Foundations

Yesterday I sat down and did something I haven't done in a while...played the piano. Now, I am not a Beethoven by any means, but I do enjoying playing on occasion. My two favorite parts of playing are the words of much loved hymns running through my mind, encouraging my soul and my kids remembering the words of hymns I've taught them and informally singing along as I play. It warms my mama heart.
One of the hymns I played yesterday, happens to be a Barefoot Hippie favorite. How Firm a Foundation is another one of those robust hymns, whether sung to the traditional tune (Portugese Hymn or Adeste Fidelis) used in England (most often associated with the hymn "O Come, All Ye Faithful") or with the tune Foundation/Protection. Adeste Fidelis was composed by the author John Frances Wade. The composer of the tune (Foundation or Protection) most commonly used in the United States is unknown.
This hymn first appeared in the hymnal, A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors in the late 18th or early 19th century. This hymnal was compiled by John Rippon, pastor of Carter's Lane Baptist Church in London for more than half a century. Rippon loved hymns, and his hymnal became very popular both in England and the United States.
It is ironic, based on the title of his hymnbook, that both the author and composer of How Firm a Foundation are a big question mark. In the original edition of the hymnbook, the author is designated simply by "K." There is much debate about who this "K" was. The music director in Mr. Rippon's church was Robert Keen. He is the one who is generally given credit for writing this hymn, though no one knows for sure.
After the first stanza, the words to How Firm a Foundation are generally in quotation marks, being based on several passages of Scripture. The first verse is fairly original. How Firm a Foundation is a call to remember our faith's firm foundation found in the Scriptures. Verse one says "what more can He say, than to you He hath said?", and the rest of the hymn supports this thought through the quotation of Scripture.

Not only is this a Barefoot Hippie favorite, but it has been a favorite of famous people since its origination. It was Rachel Jackson's (wife of President Andrew Jackson) favorite. Her husband called for it to be sung at his death bed. President Theodore Roosevelt also loved it, and had it sung at his funeral. It was also sung at Robert E. Lee's funeral. (and it's on my funeral list too=)) But it isn't only for funerals. On Christ­mas Eve, 1898, a whole corps of the Unit­ed States Ar­my, en­camped on the Que­ma­dos hills, near Ha­va­na [Cu­ba], sang the sa­cred tune and words.

1. How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

2. In every condition, -- in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, --
The Lord, the Almighty, they strength e'er shall be.

3. "Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

4. "When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

5. "When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

6. "E'en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

7. "The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never, forsake!"

May these words be an encouragement to you today-whatever your circumstances are. 

Well, ladies, and gents...today is the day of our "Take-Two Tuesday" link up kick off!
What is Take Two Tuesday? It is the opportunity for you to link up your favorite post from the last week. The subject can be anything. It can be funny, serious, a how-to, photo dump. Anything.
A few rules...
1. Follow my blog-whether GFC, email, bloglovin' or RSS-pick your poison.
2. Read and comment on two other links-let's say the one right before you, and another one that catches your eye. By comments, I don't mean "I'm following your blog-follow mine." Let's encourage each other. If they asked a question in their post, answer it. Make friends, not followers. (that sounds like a movie quote)
3. I will try to read each one.
4. Grab a button if so desired. If not, a typed link back would be awesome!