Calvin Seerveld (b. 1930) was professor of aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto from 1972 until he retired in 1995. Educated at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; the University of Michigan; and the Free University of Amsterdam (Ph.D.), he also studied at Basel University in Switzerland, the University of Rome, and the University of Heidelberg. Seerveld began his career by teaching at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi (1958-1959), and at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois (1959-1972). A fine Christian scholar, fluent in various biblical and modern languages, he is published widely in aesthetics, biblical studies, and philosophy. His books include Take Hold of God and Pull (1966), The Gr… Go to person page >
st. 1 = Ps. 90:1
st. 2 = 1 Cor. 15:54
st. 3 = Rev. 7:9-10
st. 4 = Job 19:26
Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) wrote this text in Toronto, Ontario, in 1983, specifically for use with this tune, which he had found in a German chorale book. In a note on the original manuscript Seerveld indicated that he had written this text "for singing at the funerals of believing people (over fifty years of age)."
There are a number of biblical allusions in the text, the most obvious in the final phrase–a fitting reference to Job 19:25-26. The text clearly recognizes the finality of death (st. 2), the joy of the redeemed in glory (st. 3), and the reality of consolation for the believers who remain on earth (st. 1,4). To personalize the text, stanzas 2 and 3 offer alternative readings, referring to either "brother's" and "brother," or "sister's" and "sister."
The tune ES KOMMT EIN SCHIFF GELADEN was originally part of a German Maria-lied, or love song to Mary. The tune became a carol when it was set to a text attributed to the mystic Johannes Tauler (around 1300-1361). It was published with Tauler's text in the Roman Catholic Andernacher Gesangbuch of 16…