Thursday, October 29, 2009


In preparing for this Sunday's sermon I happened upon the account of the writing of the hymn "Jesus Loves Me." Jesus Loves Me is, of course, one of the most endearing Christian hymns ever written. It is oftentimes the first Christian song taught by missionaries to new converts in foreign lands. It has been used by God, no doubt, to bring comfort and hope to millions of souls.

It was written by Anna B. Warner. Anna and Susan Warner were highly educated Christian young women who lived along the Hudson River in the time preceding the Civil War. Their mother died when they were children. Their father, a wealthy and influential New York lawyer, died not long after losing everything but his home in an economic depression. They were left to themselves with a need to find income to provide for their needs, which they did by writing books.

They lived near the US Military Academy and ministered to young cadets who would soon be headed off to war. In fact, Anna's body is buried on the grounds of the US Military Academy, having been honored for her faithful spiritual support of the Army cadets.

The text of the hymn "Jesus Loves Me" was a part of a fictional book she wrote entitled, "Say and Seal." In the book a young and dying child, Johnny Fax, is comforted by a Mr. Linden. Johnny looks to Mr. Linden for comfort and hope, and Mr. Linden responds by gently patting Johnny and reciting the words of the poem:

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak bu He is strong.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! Loves me still,
Though I'm very weak and ill
From His shining throne on high
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Then His little child He'll take
Up to heaven for His dear sake.

The chorus was added and the music was written by William B. Bradbury some time later. The hymn speaks to the most basic, yet important, of Christian truths--the love of Jesus revealed in His death upon the cross. Isn't it amazing how God brought this hymn to us?

Pastor Jerry

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