Midweek Rhythm: “Nearer, My God, to Thee”

Throughout college, I rehearsed at my church on Wednesdays. After a full morning of classes, I would hide away in the sanctuary to practice. Often, these practice sessions became restful, transformative, and worshipful experiences.

As I settle into a completely new season of my life, it is comforting to return to this midweek rhythm. It is an immeasurable blessing to once more read music stained by coloured glass, to hum to myself in an echoing sanctuary, and to play the hymns of the faith with a renewed hope.

This week, I was particularly struck by Dan Forrest’s gorgeous arrangement of “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The poignant text of this hymn, by Sarah Fuller Flower Adams, is as follows:

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee;
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

Though, like a wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness comes over me,
My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

There let me see the sight,
An open heaven;
All that Thou sendest me,
In mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts
Bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel I’ll raise,
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

Sarah Fuller Flower Adams (1805-1848)

Out of all of the grief, struggle, and uncertainty that have characterised this year for so many, there is hope for the Christian. As this theologically rich and poetically stunning hymn proclaims, the sun may go down, but the Son has risen; by the torment of the cross, Christ has brought us near who were once far.


  1. Just a note to let you know how much joy you have brought to an old man in a small town in Tennessee…I’ve spent my morning reading many of your writings in your blog archives…in these uncertain times I have found a kindred spirit!…traveling with you…reading with you…sharing your joys with you…thanks…and may God continue to bless your life and the lives of those you touch…you really should think about writing a book…your blog about your travels and visiting bookstores and buying books was great…would love to have done the same…maybe a similar trip(s) within America…stumbled across your site through a link in Tim Challies blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Bob! I am so glad to hear from you and that my little blog has brought you joy and kinship. Fun fact: my first attempt at a novel was actually about a small town in Tennessee! There were so many cozy bookshops there last I visited.

      Thank you again for your readership!


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