This post is dedicated to dear Sally W.,
who is singing her last verse with grace & peace.
One of the glories of old hymns is their last verse. Singing them was a weekly reminder that death would come, that life follows death, that we have promises on which to stand. The regular drip irrigation of those last verses watered our hope and confidence.
Here’s a few that I found in my hymnal.
Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
Through ev’ry period of my life your goodness I’ll pursue;
and after death, in distant worlds, the glorious theme renew.
E’en down to old age all my people shall prove
my sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
and when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.
He will keep me till the river rolls it waters at my feet:
then he’ll bear me safely over, made by grace for glory meet.
Jesus loves me, he will stay close beside me all the way:
if I love him, when I die he will take me home on high.
Now by this I’ll overcome—nothing but the blood of Jesus;
now by this I’ll reach my home—nothing but the blood of Jesus.
He will gather, he will gather the gems for his kingdom,
all the pure ones, all the bright ones, his loved and his own.
Then he’ll call us home to heaven, at his table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird himself and serve us with sweet manna all around.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee:
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
And when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace.
While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyelids close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.
When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s destruction, land me safe on Canaan’s side;
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee, I will ever give to thee.
And when my task on earth is done, when, by thy grace, the victory’s won
e’en death’s cold wave I will not flee, since God through Jordan leadeth me.
I’ll love thee in life, I will love thee in death;
and praise thee as long as thou lendest me breath;
and say, when the deathdew lies cold on my brow;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’m so glad I learned to trust thee, precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
and I know that thou art with me, will be with me to the end.
Jesus lives and death is now but my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou hast a crown of life before thee;
thou shalt find thy hopes were just: Jesus is the Christian’s trust.