In the Old Testament, Gilead was the name of the mountainous region east of the Jordan River. This region was known for having skillful physicians and an ointment made from the gum of a tree particular to that area. Many believed that this balm had miraculous powers to heal the body. In the book of Jeremiah, God tells the people of Israel that though many believe in the mysterious healing power of this balm, they can’t trust in those powers for spiritual healing or as a relief of their oppression. He reminds them that He is ultimately in control, and only He can relieve their suffering.
This hymn was written in rural England in the mid-nineteenth century, when the life of the village during the winter depended on the bounty of the autumn harvest. While the first stanza of this hymn rejoices over the harvest, the last three stanzas expound on the reminder this image gives of the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds in Matthew 13.
Scriven’s text has remained largely unchanged since it was first published in 1857. The verses build on one another, carrying the same theme throughout: first raising the questions we have about our pain and sorrow, and then answering those questions with assurance of God’s power and love.
We are very pleased to announce the launch of "The United Methodist Hymnal" (UMH) iPad app. The app features razor-sharp music, powerful search capabilities (by title, first line, author, composer, topic or scripture reference), with links to background information about the hymns and their authors. The free app includes 281 public domain hymns in the UMH. Through an in-app purchase, users have access to copyrighted materials, large print edition, FlexScores, and several difference editions for B-flat, E-flat instruments or the C Clef edition, etc.
In the year 1225, completely blind and nearing death, St. Francis of Assisi arrived at the Convent of St. Damian to bid goodbye to his dear friend, Sister Clara, the first woman to follow the call of St. Francis and take vows of the Order. Clara built him a small reed hut in the garden of her little monastery. It’s said that at times St. Francis could be heard singing faint melodies from within the hut.
Hymnary.org is very pleased to announce the launch of "Small Church Music" (SCM) collection at our website. Rev. Clyde McLennan created this resource in 2006 "out of the requests from [worship leaders] struggling to provide suitable music for their services and meetings." The SCM collection has more than 3,000 actual records in MP3 format. Congregations and groups can play or download them for free.
Come explore this vast collection of recordings complete with searchable indexes on tune names, meters, and elements of worship.
Hymnary.org is very pleased to announce the launch of "Small Church Music" (SCM) collection at our website. Rev. Clyde McLennan created this resource in 2006 "out of the requests from [worship leaders] struggling to provide suitable music for their services and meetings."
The SCM collection has more than 3,000 actual records in MP3 format. Congregations and groups can play or download them for free. Come explore this vast collection of recordings complete with searchable indexes on tune names, meters, and elements of worship.
Here is how author Frances Havergal describes the events that inspired the writing of this hymn:
When this hymn was first published in 1876, Hebrews 9:22 was quoted underneath the title: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” This song elaborates on that idea, repeatedly stating that “nothing but the blood of Jesus” purifies us. The third stanza acknowledges that “naught of good that I have done” can save. As the hymn is sung, contemplate the significance of sin in separating us from God, and the great value of Jesus's work on the cross.
Robert Lowry wrote the tune HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING (also called ENDLESS SONG from the opening line of the first stanza) to accompany these words, and it appeared with the text in Bright Jewels in 1869. It was originally written in triple meter (3/2), but some modern hymnals have changed the tune to a slightly irregular duple meter (4/4) with a little syncopation. The tune is pentatonic with a consistent rhythmic pattern (in its original form), and works well when sung unaccompanied.