Are we humble enough to want to be found by Jesus when we stray? Will we come home willingly and gratefully?
Are we humble enough to want to be tucked under His wing, so to speak, for protection?
Do we ask for His guidance, and figuratively reach up to take His hand to walk the path of life? Do we welcome correction? Have we put off the natural man and become “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to allthingswhich the Lordseethfit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father”? (Mosiah 3:19)
It’s not so easy, sometimes. . . .
This song reminds us of how much we need our Savior. The beautiful music was composed by my sister Celia, who had my name for Christmas one year, so I begged her to write a tune for my lyric as my Christmas present. She did a lovely job. There are 8 children in our family, so she won’t have my name for 7 more years. 🙂
I have always loved reading near-death experiences. The interaction between humans and beings beyond the veil is fascinating to me. I have devoured these stories, beginning with one of the best, Return from Tomorrow, by George Ritchie, then continuing on with Raymond Moody’s books and others that have been written in the last 2 decades or so. Recently, Visions of Glory gave me so much to think about, that I haven’t felt to seek out more NDE books. It’s the first time I’ve been able to get a glimpse of what it might be like to get from here to the city of Zion. And even more to the point, what it takes to become a person who can live there, with Christ. Ruminating on these ideas led to the following hymn text, which earned Special Recognition in the 2015 LDS Music Contest.
Behold, How the Splendor of Zion Arises
by Laurel R. Frost
Behold, how the splendor of Zion arises;
The gospel sweeps over the earth, as foretold.
The Savior commissions His minist’ring servants
To gather the righteous, the sheep of His fold.
Obedience ever to follow the Spirit
Will bring us back into God’s presence again,
And nothing on earth can compare with such rapture;
How small will seem all of our sacrifice then!
For Jesus will dwell in the midst of His people;
Temptation and sorrow forever will cease.
Then we will be Zion, with no poor among us,
The City of Holiness, glory, and peace.
And, lo, in her grandeur, the city of Enoch
Descends as we join them to worship Him Crowned,
And surely among Father’s endless creations
A happier people will never be found.
Give me a heart that delighteth in Zion.
Give me a soul that finds joy in Thy word.
Give me glad feet that make haste to Thy bidding,
And eyes single but to Thy glory, O Lord.
Last year, I emailed Daniel Carter (who I had never met) and invited him to look over the lyrics on this website and see if he would be interested in collaborating on something. He said he would try to get to it, but was very busy (understatement!), and actually, what he really was looking for was a lyric that could be used for a Thanksgiving song–one that came from the viewpoint of a person who had hada really bad year.
I took that as an assignment, and began to work. The challenge with this sort of text is balancing the pathos and the faithful determination to move forward despite pain. I knew that the title needed to be phrased in a positive way, and I found inspiration in Psalms 5:3–“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord,” which had a nice dactylic cadence. I wanted the song to speak to people with any number of problems, up to and including the worst things ever. I wanted it to point them to Christ, the true Healer, and give them a vehicle with which to praise Him in submission, despite every trial.
My friend, text veteran Toni Thomas, mentored me with feedback (thank you!) until I had a finished product that was worth Dan’s time. Later, he created a beautifully moving setting that is available at HolySheetMusic.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how lovely it will be when devout Jews, Muslims, and the sincere saints of all religions will join Christians in knowing that the Savior is God—that we are all worshiping the same, true, mighty Lord. One day on the Mount of Olives, He will show his wounds and reveal Himself as the Savior, while the Jews mourn that their ancestors did not recognize or honor Him.
I imagine an amazing choir made of men from all these faiths singing to our Savior with a shout: “The Lord, He is our God!” Imagine as the groups echo each other–
“The Lord, He is our God!”
The Lord, He is our God!”
“The Lord, He is our God!”
I wrote this hymn text to reflect our allegiance to God as brothers and sisters from all cultures, all times of the world’s history, all religions, all races. He is the God of all and we will all one day be united in our worship of Him.
Thank you to Benjamin Cole for the beautiful music!
I have long been intrigued by the seeming paradox that, on the one hand, man is “less than the dust of the earth,” but on the other hand, God’s work and His glory is to bring to pass the eternal life of man, which makes us infinitely precious to Him.
In what sense is man “less than the dust than the earth”? It is due to the fact that, given our agency, we do not always obey our Creator immediately, fully, and without question, as the rest of all creation does.
Helaman 12 is a masterful discourse on this subject, as Mormon teaches:
4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
9 Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.
10 And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.
16 And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep—Be thou dried up—it is done.
I wrote this text with these ideas in mind, and Benjamin Cole wrote the beautiful music: