441

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Difficult times occur in the lives and communities of God’s people because this is a fallen world. The confessions demonstrate this perspective:

  • Belgic Confession, Article 15 teaches that “…by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race…a corruption of the whole human nature...” As a result, God’s people are “guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all [our] ways” (Article 14). In addition, “The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions” (Article 12).
  • Our World Belongs to God continues to affirm that “God has not abandoned the work of his hands,” nevertheless “our world, fallen into sin, has lost its first goodness...” (paragraph 4). And now “all spheres of life—family and friendship, work and worship school and state, play and art—bear the wounds of our rebellion” (paragraph 16).

Yet, in a fallen world, God’s providential care is the source of great assurance, comfort and strength. Through these thoughts, our trust in God is inspired.

  • Belgic Confession, Article 13 is a reminder that God’s providence reassures us that God leads and governs all in this world “according to his holy will…nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.” Further, this Confession identifies that this “gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father, who watches over us with fatherly care...in this thought we rest.”
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13, is a reminder that much is beyond human understanding and so “we do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what God does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 we testify that we “trust God so much that [we] do not doubt that he will provide whatever [we] need for body and soul and will turn to [our] good whatever adversity he sends upon [us] in this sad world.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28, we are assured that through our trust in the providence of God we can have “good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.”
  • When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask not to be brought into the time of trial but rescued from evil. In doing so we ask that the Lord will “uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 127)

Belgic Confession, Article 26 speaks about the intercession of Christ as the ascended Lord. “We have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” We, therefore, do not offer our prayers as though saints could be our intercessor, nor do we offer them on the “basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Because Jesus Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we approach the throne “in full assurance of faith.”

 

No greater assurance can be found than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “I am not my own by I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”

 
In all difficult times, we eagerly await the final day when God “will set all things right, judge evil, and condemn the wicked” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57).

441

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Tune Information

Name
SPARROW
Key
C Major
Meter
7.6.7.6.7.6.7.7.7.7 refrain 7.6.8.7

Recordings

441

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Hymn Story/Background

The author, Civilla Martin, writes:
Early in the spring of 1905, my hus­band and I were so­journ­ing in El­mi­ra, New York. We con­tract­ed a deep friend­ship for a cou­ple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doo­lit­tle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doo­lit­tle had been bed­rid­den for nigh twen­ty years. Her hus­band was an in­cur­a­ble crip­ple who had to pro­pel him­self to and from his bus­i­ness in a wheel chair. De­spite their af­flict­ions, they lived hap­py Christ­ian lives, bring­ing in­spir­a­tion and com­fort to all who knew them. One day while we were vi­sit­ing with the Doo­lit­tles, my hus­band com­ment­ed on their bright hope­ful­ness and asked them for the se­cret of it. Mrs. Doo­lit­tle’s re­ply was sim­ple: “His eye is on the spar­row, and I know he watch­es me.” The beau­ty of this sim­ple ex­press­ion of bound­less faith gripped the hearts and fired the imag­in­a­tion of Dr. Mar­tin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Spar­row” was the out­come of that ex­per­i­ence.
— Civilla Martin

Author Information

Civilla Durfee Martin (b. Jordan, Nova Scotia, August 21, 1866; d. Atlanta, Georgia, March 9, 1948) was a Canadian-American writer of many religious hymns and gospel songs in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Her husband, Walter Stillman Martin (b. 1862; d. 1935), studied ministry at Harvard University, where he became a Baptist minister but later switched to the Disciples of Christ. Together they wrote hymns and songs which have become widely known. Some of her most popular pieces include "God Will Take Care of You", "One of God's Days", "Going Home", "The Old Fashioned Way", and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow".
— Wikipedia

Composer Information

For the first seventeen years of his life Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Wilton, IA, 1856; d. Los Angeles, CA, 1932) lived on an Iowa farm, where friends and neighbors often gathered to sing. Gabriel accompanied them on the family reed organ he had taught himself to play. At the age of sixteen he began teaching singing in schools (following in his father's footsteps) and soon was acclaimed as a fine teacher and composer. He moved to California in 1887 and served as Sunday school music director at the Grace Methodist Church in San Francisco. After moving to Chicago in 1892, Gabriel edited numerous collections of anthems, cantatas, and a large number of songbooks for the Homer Rodeheaver, Hope, and E. O. Excell publishing companies. He composed hundreds of tunes and texts, at times using pseudonyms such as Charlotte G. Homer. The total number of his compositions is estimated at about seven thousand. Gabriel's gospel songs became widely circulated through the Billy Sunday­-Homer Rodeheaver urban crusades.
— Bert Polman

Horace Boyer (b. Winter Park, Florida, July 28, 1935; d. Amhurst, Massachusetts, July 21, 2009) was professor of music at the University of Massachussetts, Amhurst, editor of the African American hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing, and author of How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel (Elliot & Clark, 1995).
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