If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7
I stayed up late last night watching a British drama with my mother. During one scene the actors were singing Abide With Me during a memorial service for a fallen soldier. Instinctively I started humming and singing along. The hymn stayed on my heart all night long. I couldn’t wait to research it this morning and share it with you.
Abide With Me was written by Henry Francis Lyte, a vicar in the small English fishing village Brixham. He ministered faithfully for twenty-three years to the seafaring folks.
He and his wife lived in an elegant estate provided by King William IV, who had been impressed with Henry’s ministry. The home was built at the water’s edge, with beautiful coastal views. Henry laid out walking trails through the estate’s forty-one acres and enjoyed the tranquility of the house and grounds. This is where he wrote most of his sermons, poems and hymns.
But Henry had a lung condition and England’s coast suffered terrible damp winters. While in his early fifties Henry was told his disorder had deteriorated into tuberculosis. On September 4, 1847, age 54, he preached his last sermon with difficulty.
That afternoon he walked along the coast in prayer and retired to his room, emerging an hour later with a written copy of Abide With Me. Shortly afterward, Henry embraced his family a final time and departed to Italy for a therapeutic holiday where he revised Abide With Me and mailed it to his wife before his lungs finally gave out. It was obviously very much on his mind during his last days.
When news of his death reached Brixham, the fisherman of the village asked Henry’s son-in-law, also a minister to hold a memorial service. It was on this occasion that Abide With Me was first sung. The message is now sung all over the world for all occasions including the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
To listen, click here: http://youtu.be/i5nbq_VEea0