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Notes on the Notes – October 21, 2012

“How Can I Keep From Singing” –  Chris Tomlin says the song “How Can I Keep From Singing?” that he and two friends wrote in 2006 was discovered and adapted by Matt Redman from a 19th Century hymn by the same name.  The song’s theme has remained the same since it was first penned — a commitment to God because He endures through everything.  The anthem that the Joyful Noise is singing, arranged by Tom Fettke, uses both the Chris Tomlin tune as well as the old gospel favorite “Praise Him! Praise Him” by Fanny J. Crosby.

“I Sing the Mighty Power of God” – VU 231 – This hymn by Isaac Watts was originally included in a hymnal written for children.  In 1715 he published Divine and Moral Songs for Children,in the preface of which he wrote, “Children of high and low degree, of the Church of England or Dissenters, baptized in infancy or not, may all join together in these songs. And as I have endeavored to sink the language to the level of a child’s understanding . . . to profit all, if possible, and offend none.”
“Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love” – VU 593 – Tom Colvin, long-term missionary to Africa, wrote this text in 1963 in Chereponi, northern Ghana, while he was attending a lay-training course in agriculture, development, and evangelism. New converts had brought a folk melody to this meeting, which they thought might be appropriate for a text about Christian love. Colvin explained his writing of the text as follows:

Sitting there in the moonlight, I felt it simply had to be about black and white, rich and poor. I was ashamed of the wasteful affluence of my people but proud of the Gospel that transforms us into servants of one another. It is only when we who are rich learn to have the humility of the slave towards the poor of the world that we shall be able to learn from them; they have so much to teach us and share with us.

Colvin shared text and tune with the Iona Community in Scotland. After the hymn was published in their collection Free to Serve: Hymns from Africa (1968), its popularity spread to other Christian communities.

“Find in Me a Thankful Heart” – This anthem is an earnest text of gratitude and commitment.   The author is Jan McGuire and the composer is Lloyd Larson.  The anthem was purchased and dedicated in memory of former Worship choir member David Kaan in 2006.  The message of the song is made clear from the opening phrase: “when you look inside my life, Lord, when you search my thoughts and ways, may you find in me a thankful heart, a life of grateful praise.”

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” – VU 288 -Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) had a difficult early adult life. His health was so fragile that there were periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work.  After coming to Christ at age 27, Thomas found great comfort in the Scriptures, and in the fact that God was faithful to be his strength in time of illness and weakness, and to provide his needs. Lamentations 3:22-23 was one of his favorite scriptures: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”
Thomas’ friend, William Runyan,  found this poems so moving that he decided to set it to music.  Great is Thy Faithfulness was published in 1923.  For several years ,the hymn got very little recognition, until it was discovered by a Moody Bible Institute professor who loved it so much and requested it sung so often at chapel services, that the song became the unofficial theme song of the college. It was not until 1945 when George Beverly Shea began to sing Great is Thy Faithfulness at the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades, that the hymn was heard around the world.   Thomas Chisolm died in 1960 at age 94. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 1,200 poems and hymns.

Categories: Notes on the Notes