Behold, How the Splendor of Zion Arises

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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.

Chorus:

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.

My Voice Thou Shall Hear In the Morning, 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 had a really bad year.

earnest-prayer

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.

praise-Him

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.

http://holysheetmusic.com/music/my-voice-thou-shall-hear-in-the-morning/

Thanks, Dan!

You can listen here:

 

And here are the lyrics by themselves:

My Voice Thou Shall Hear in the Morning