Sunday, March 11, 2007

It Is Well - Blessed Be Your Name

Not too long ago, Nathan asked me to give him a list of my favorite songs to work into the worship orders at Skillman. That got me to thinking about how many different songs might be the favorites of different people, and why they might be among their favorites. One result of those thoughts is that we are putting together a bulletin board - Songs of Skillman - where members can post an index card listing 3 - 5 of their favorite songs on one side and the story or reason why they selected what they did on the other. Feel free to post a comment with your own favorites.

I have so many songs that narrowing down to a top 3, top 5, or even a top 10 list would be extremely difficult, and the list would probably change from week to week, but 2 songs would almost assuredly be on my list. While from different eras and somewhat different in musical style, they are very similar in the stories behind them and the thought they express.
Note the parallels in the beginning verse of each...
Blessed be your name in a land that is plentiful,
Where your streams in abundance flow, blessed be your name.
Blessed be your name when I'm found in the desert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be your name.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

The music to Blessed Be Your Name is very much contemporary, written in 2002; the text and the story prompting it is ancient, coming from Job. Hear these words from the chorus...
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say,
"Lord, Blessed be your name."

The story behind It Is Well with My Soul, written in the latter part of the 19th century is very similar to that of Job. H. G. Spafford was a wealthy, successful Chicago businessman who lost his home and his business in the great Chicago fire. A few weeks later, his four children died when the ship on which they were crossing the Atlantic sank. Sometime later, he was on a ship to join his wife, who had survived the sinking of the ship that took his children, and as he passed near the spot where the ship had sunk, he penned the words that so many have come to love.

It Is Well With My Soul - Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.

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