Saturday, June 13, 2009

"O My Father" Marika Lee's Hymn & Scripture Study Sundays

Here's another Father's Day song choice. This week’s song is “O My Father”. Click here for music.

Scriptures for this song:
Acts 17:28-29 We are His children, therefore, He is our Father.
Romans 8:16-17

Various facts:
Text by Eliza R. Snow (1804-1887)
Music by James McGranahan (1840-1907)

The story with the song:
This hymn's text is written by an LDS author. It has been sung to many different tunes until finally settling on James McGranahan's melody. His tune was originally published to accompany these words by Philip Paul Bliss (both non-LDS Christians).
I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wond'rous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered
From the curse to set me free.
Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,
With His blood He purchased me.
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

James McGranahan had the opportunity to become a famous opera star, but chose instead to dedicate his talents to the Lord. His friend P. P. Bliss (who wrote the above lyrics) was instrumental in helping him make this choice. One week before Bliss died, he wrote McGranahan a letter, asking him to choose the Lord over opera. The letter he wrote struck McGranahan so strongly that he determined to make that choice.

McGranahan may not have achieved fame in the world of opera, but he did become fairly well known. He is credited with having composed the tune for the official Hawaii State Song which is still sung at major sporting events and civil ceremonies there. He also composed many hymns.

Eliza R. Snow was a very well-known woman because of the poetry she wrote. She wrote poetry throughtout her life and was sought after by many because of it. She had an autograph album that holds signatures of many famous people, including Queen Victoria of England, Charles Dickens, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Susan B. Anthony, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Victor Hugo, Abraham Lincoln, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many of her poems became set to music as hymns.

Not only did she have some degree of fame, she also had wealth. She gave a sizable portion of her wealth for a temple to be built in Kirtland, Ohio.

At the time she wrote the text for O My Father, she was living in temporary housing with friends. She obviously had a strong testimony of Christ and the resurrection. The beautiful words of O My Father chronicle the journey we make. First, we resided in a premortal realm. Verses two and three tell the tale of our earthly life. Finally, verse four finds us back in the presence of the Father.

I am doing a little research online to find these things out. I also have a book entitled "Our Latter-day Hymns The Stories and the Messages" by Karen Lynn Davidson from which I am finding information on these songs. If you want more info, the aforementioned book and the Internet search engines can get you much more than the little bit I shared.

Did you Journal for 5

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