Friday, July 13, 2012

Hymns Of My Fathers - "I fell in love with the Nazarene"

This is the first in a series of blogs that will endeavor to capture the heart of some old hymns. They are not just any hymns but those which I know my ancestors sang. I will post the lyrics with some information about who crafted the hymn and why. Sometimes I may explore the words and lyrics of a tune and sometimes there may also be a family story behind them. I hope you enjoy reading about this as much I will sharing them with you.

Harold Emanuel Griffiths


There are many things to write about Harold but for the purpose of this blog it is enough to say this: He was a man of great conviction who became a Christian sometime after World War 1. He became a Pentecostal minister who planted churches around the United Kingdom and Ireland in partnership with the Jeffreys' brothers who started the Elim and Assemblies of God churches on the European side of the Atlantic. Many of the churches he planted bare the name "Bethel" today. As well as a preacher he was a pianist and a singer. He composed a new tune to the formerly well known hymn of "I fell in love with the Nazarene." The words are as follow:

Verse 1
"The Master stood in the Judgment Hall of Pilate great and strong,
He stood there silent and alone for all his friends were gone.
They had scattered far and near, and left him with the throng,
No voice of love his heart to cheer, thro' all the morn' so long."

Chorus
"I fell in love with the Nazarene, "The beautiful Nazarene." 
Whose face with glory was a-light, the fairest I have seen.
Near his side I would abide, with ne'er a veil between,
Since I fell so deep in love with Jesus "The Nazarene."

Verse 2
"His face was fair as lilies white, a halo round his head,
While all around was black as night, their souls thro' sin were dead.
See his hands all bound with thongs, the thorn crown on his brow,
Hark! The Angels mournful song, "All heav'n in sorrow now."

Verse 3
"The angry mob cried out in wrath, "Crucify him now!"
And so he trod Golgotha's Path, The life blood on "His brow."
On on he trod and bear the Cross, But never made a moan
Weak and falling from the loss, of blood yet not a groan."

Verse 4
And when they nail'd him to the Cross, with cruel spikes and deep,
His face diviner grew to me, And I began to weep.
All His anguish quite forgot, I heard him gently pray:
"Father forgive, for they know not the wrong that they have done."

I must confess, I don't know the original tune, and I haven't yet heard the tune my Great Grandfather composed for it. I have however convinced my Mum that when my parents are over to visit at Christmas she will play the tune for me. How do we know the tune? Harold's granddaughter sent me these images via email:



They came with the following message:

"I think it is an appropriate song to remember Harold by as he never got over the love of God, the wonder of his salvation and he had a deep love for the Lord. It is a moving song and anything Harold played was moving and congregations would laugh, cry or worship depending on what Harold did on the piano as he sang. When you hear this song you can imagine the power of God at work when Harold ministered in music.

I remember hearing Harold (tenor) and Nance (alto) singing it. I also remember hearing David singing it. He had a lovely voice, as did all of them. I suppose you know the whole family sang song items together at services."


History
It has taken me a while to track down the origins of this song. I searched some of the books about old hymns from the 19th and early 20th century but couldn't turn anything up. Eventually however I found a site online that contained "The Weekly Evangel Issue 169, Dec 16th 1916." I believe this was a tract that was given out in the beginning of the Pentecostal movement to people and churches connected with it. In it is the story of Sarah Payne, a former song writer for 'the world' as she said herself. This was the first song she created after "Giving her life to Jesus." It was written within moments of this commitment and nearly burned to ashes a few days later. Fortunately for my Granddad and many many others, it wasn't.



7 comments:

  1. Michael, I enjoyed your story. I know a chorus of "I fell in love with a Nazarene"...have been looking for the words for a couple of years. It is sung to a waltz tune. I only got it "word of mouth" so am not sure.
    Thanks, Dixie

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  2. Dixie, I have not actually heard the tune yet. My mother can play piano but lives in a different country and I need to find someone to play it. Once I know what it sounds like I will hopefully be able to tell you if it's a Waltz:)

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  3. Mike, thanks for sending this along for the Poetry Challenge. Your family is fascinating and talented. I'm glad you are blogging about them!

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  4. Thanks Bill. I appreciate you hosting the challenge each year!

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  5. Is it possible that you could make a pdf of the pages that contain the music? I would love to hear/play this tune

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    1. Hi John, I am not sure if you get notified when I leave a message but what is the best way to get a pdf to you if I do manage to succeed at formatting it this way?

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