The Morning Trumpet

Posted 16 November 2010 by
The Morning Trumpet (Southern Harmony, 1835)

The Morning Trumpet (Southern Harmony, 1835)

O when shall I see Jesus,
And reign with him above,
And from the flowing fountain
Drink everlasting love?
When shall I be delivered,
From this vain world of sin,
And with my blessed Jesus,
Drink endless pleasures in?

—”The Morning Trumpet

I have had several reasons to be thinking about this hymn lately. If for no other reason, I like it. Another reason is that the Revised Common Lectionary uses this time of year, Fall, to remind us that all things come to an end. Then, as I write this, my mother is only on comfort care in the hospital and hospice services have been contacted.

All things come to an end.

The Anonymous 4 have the album American Angels: Songs of Hope, Redmption, and Glory. I had not realized until now how many of the songs in the album is somehow related to death or end times. Even the first section of the album, “Invitation,” includes a song about death.

Wondrous Love (Southern Harmony, 1835)

Wondrous Love (Southern Harmony, 1835)

What wondrous love is this, oh! my soul! oh! my soul!
What wondrous love is this, oh! my soul!
What wondrous love is this!
That caused the Lord of bliss,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

Wondrous Love

“The Morning Trumpet” (in some books I have seen, “The Mourning Trumpet”) is in the section of the album called “Journey.” I would consider a hymn about the Last Trumpet to be more about the end of the journey, but it could be said I am quibling about a minor point.

The hymns in the “Crossing” section of the album includes “And am I Born to Die” and “Shall we Gather at the River” among the total of five hymns. The subject of one of them is clear from the title. But, the other hymn is not a hymn that uses baptismal imagery by gathering at a river (unless you remember baptism is about death and resurrection).

The final section of American Angels is called “Parting.” All four hymns are about death. Or, at least mostly about being around angels and having harps.

Oh, come, angel band,
Come and around me stand;
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my eternal home;
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my eternal home.

—Refrain from “My Latest Sun is Sinking Fast

It seems to me that a large part of worship during the 1700s and 1800s was about escaping from the trials of today to an existence I would consider somewhat boring over the long run. How rough and heavy life must have been to only want the next life to be spent on a cloud in endless idleness.

Is the sabbath rest all about being able to be idle?

Having leisure time in our lives today has changed the need for that personal longing. If life has changed that much, then why does “The Morning Trumpet” comfort me today? Or, is it the lack of strumming on a cloud in that hymn what interests me.

It is something to ponder over the next few days.

The Morning Trumpet (O when shall I see Jesus), sung by Anonymous 4

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