Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Lover of My Soul

“I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!” ~John Wesley

They were conservative in their appearance and in their lifestyle. Soft-spoken and southern in their speech. Rev. Blackwelder was my pastor during my teenage years. Being friends with his daughter gave me many opportunities to visit their home. It was there I first saw sandwiches made with thick slices of onion. Just onion and salt and pepper. And it was there I learned to cut off the lights instead of turning them out. 

One thing I loved was hearing Rev. and Mrs. Blackwelder's smooth, blending voices singing, "Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to thy bosom fly." Every time I hear this song, I am reminded of the Blackwelders. Written by Charles Wesley, this hymn has quite a story behind it. 

During one of Wesley's preaching crusades in Ireland, he encountered some people who didn't agree with his doctrine. They wanted to silence him in the only way they knew how -- to kill him. He found refuge in a milkhouse on Jane Lowrie Moore's Island Band Farm. The mob came to the farm and demanded that Moore tell them where Wesley was. 

Moore  went to the milkhouse under the pretense of getting refreshments for the mob. "Quick," she told Wesley, "Go out the rear window and hide under the hedge."

Huddled under the hedge, Wesley could hear the sounds of his pursuers searching for him. With their angry cries around him, Wesley was inspired to write this hymn of the Savior's protecting care. 

Jesus, lover of my soul,
     Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
     While the tempest still is high!
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
     Till the storm of life be past;
Safe into the haven guide,
Oh, receive my soul at last!

Other refuge have I none,
     Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
     Still support and comfort me!
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
     All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
     With the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
     More than all in Thee I find:
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
     Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name;
      I am all unrighteousness:
False and full of sin I am;
     Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
     Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
     Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art
     Freely let me take of Thee:
Spring Thou up within my heart,
     Rise to all eternity!

The words that Rev. Blackwelder sang became a reality last week. "Safe into the haven guide, Oh, receive my soul at last."  He's living with the Lover of his Soul, yet his influence lives on in my life.

Do you remember singing this song?


Terra said...

Oh what a beautiful post, I love the words to that hymn, and this is a great tribute to your friend and minister from childhood.

Patty Sumner said...

What a great tribute to this godly man who served faithfully and has left a legacy behind for others to follow.. Oh that we will stand strong in the face of adversity as John Wesley and other saints of old too.. To preach, teach or sing with such conviction that the Lord is over all and is in all... I think we are not far from the truth of the Word being a mark against the society we live in and it also will take quick offense to its truth.. May we still stand strong! Thank you for this beautiful post.. Blessings!

Rebecca said...

Yes! I know a couple of tunes to the song, too.... I remember hearing Dick Anthony and Bill Pierce sing this as a duet on an LP record.... I had not heard the story of how C. Wesley came to write it!

What beautiful memories of your former pastor, Pamela! I think I would enjoy an onion sandwich - though I've never tried one (yet)!

Pam Williams said...

Beautiful, Pamela! I love how songs can evoke precious memories of people and places and event from the past. It is always so interesting to hear their history.

Michelle F said...

Hi, Pamela! This is such a great tribute!
I pray my legacy will be that I loved God.

Anonymous said...

You honor your pastor and Lord well! May the Lord comfort you and those who mourn...

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

This is beautiful. I haven't ever had an onion only sandwich before. That is one of the neat things of having best friends when we are growing up, to see how they live at home and it is wonderful when their parents have such an influence on us.

That is also quite a story of how the hymn came to be written.

Kathy M.

Debbie Griggs said...

I remember singing both tunes growing up. Thanks for this encouraging post about the legacy we can leave for others to follow. Both the hymn story and the life story you share here have blessed me to continue to fight the good fight of faith. Oh , what powerful words there are in the old hymns

Beth said...

Nothing like a current day man of God carrying on the ministry and legacy of one of the forefathers of our faith. I love the way you blended these two great men's stories, Pamela. And I'm also sorry to hear that Rev. Blackwelder passed recently, but as you've said he's experiencing the reality of the song he once sang. So glad that he had a huge impact on your spiritual life as well.

Lisa notes... said...

Oh, praying for the family of Rev. Blackwelder. I'm glad you have such fond memories. He sounds like he was an amazing man.

Onion sandwiches, huh? :) I'll pass.

I had to look up the song to hear it; the words looked familiar but no tune was coming to mind. I don't think it was one I sung often. The lyrics are very beautiful.

Sharon said...

Yes, I do. I just love the old hymns so much! And the stories behind them are so uplifting!

I celebrate with you the homecoming of Rev. Blackwelder. Though he will be missed here on earth, the Lord is welcoming home one of His most faithful servants! There is joy in that picture!


Mindy said...

Beautiful tribute!