One of my favorite hymns is Jesus Lover of My Soul by Charles Wesley. I was caused to think of it yesterday as we were looking at Psalm 2 in our weekly Bible Study. The last line of Psalm 2, a messianic Psalm taken up and applied to Jesus throughout the New Testament, reads “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” The word “refuge” reminded me of a line in "Jesus Lover of My Soul,” the first line of the second stanza.
I am very happy that this coming Sunday Cindie Brown is going to sing this hymn as special music accompanied on her autoharp. She knows the tune that I came to love via Ken Medema’s unique take on the hymn, which you can hear on You Tube.
This hymn must be taken in balance with a thousand others. As Christians we are called to be active and engaged in our world and not flee from it, yet, the Lord is our refuge and our strength, and we find refuge under the shadow of his wings. In these days and times when we see how slippery is the foundation of our culture, it is comforting to know we can find refuge and grace in our time of need.
Jesus, Lover of my Soul
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 Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O 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.
By Charles Wesley, 1740
The text below is from the cyber hymnal, www.cyberhymnal.org.
"Mrs. Mary Hoover, of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, whose grandmother was the hero¬ine of the story, has related to her pastor this family tradition: Charles Wesley was preaching in the fields of the parish of Killyleagh, County Down, Ireland, when he was attacked by men who did not approve of his doctrines. He sought refuge in a house located on what was known as the Island Barn Farm. The farmer’s wife, Jane Lowrie Moore, told him to hide in the milk house, down in the garden. Soon the mob came and de¬mand¬ed the fugitive. She tried to quiet them by offering them refreshments. Going down to the milk house, she directed Mr. Wesley to get through the rear win¬dow and hide under the hedge, by which ran a little brook. In that hiding-place, with the cries of his pursuers all about him, he wrote this immortal hymn. Descendants of Mrs. Moore still live in the house, which is much the same as it was in Wesley’s time."