Stories behind songs

I am fascinated with the stories behind things – the story behind a photograph, or movie, or song. Especially songs. I am not a musician, but the story behind a song seems to make that song so much more real – so much more meaningful.

I came across such a story this weekend. The hymn “Oh Love, That Will Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson is a very familiar hymn to me. I grew up singing this hymn. As soon as I hear the words the music goes in my head.

Yet these same words take on new meanings when you hear the story of George Matheson and how he came to write this hymn. I read this story in the blog  Whatever He Says. You can read this blog and hear a clip of this song on this link.

George Matheson was blind. This hymn was written during a time of personal struggle for him. Knowing that the words bring special meaning…. Here are the words.

  1.  O Love that wilt not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in thee;
    I give thee back the life I owe,
    That in thine ocean depths its flow
    May richer, fuller be.
  2. O light that foll’west all my way,
    I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
    My heart restores its borrowed ray,
    That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
    May brighter, fairer be.
  3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to thee;
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
    And feel the promise is not vain,
    That morn shall tearless be.
  4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee;
    I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
    And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be.
 

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