Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Come, Come, Ye Saints

Sunday, during Sacrament Meeting, we talked about the Hymns of the Gospel. We heard from 6 individuals and then we sang their favorite song. It was one of the most spiritual meetings I have been in for a long while. One of the songs was “Come, Come, Ye Saints”.

The words were written as early members of the Church made their way across what is now the USA to what is now Utah, in order to find a place to worship without persecution.

I have always known that my ancestors were among those who made this difficult crossing. Being one of the rare individuals whose ancestors, living at the time of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, ALL joined this marvelous gospel and made that terrible journey across wild country, is a particularly touching heritage.

Also, I have been putting this same heritage into the computer for almost the last year; both sides and as far back as we have records for. Many of the names are ones I have heard all my life, as my parents did research and talked about their ancestors. Many are familiar to me. Some, I knew before their death; most of them, I did not. But it has been a singular experience, for me which has been a blessing in many ways.

As we sang this song, Sunday, I suddenly realized that I really did have a wonderful heritage of ancestors who sang this song when it was first sung, by those travelers as they walked,
  • more weary than I can imagine;
  • heart-sick at just burying a family member;
  • as they sat at the campfire trying to lift themselves each night before going to sleep on the hard and seldom level ground.

As we began to sing the second verse, I thought of how much complaining I do about the 115°+ heat as I sit in my air-conditioned house or drive in my air-conditioned car. The only thing close to air-cooling they had was the dirty wind blowing across the sweat on their faces. I still don’t like the heat and will probably still complain; but I have a different outlook about how I came to be here (even if it is too hot) and what my ancestors did to make that happen.

Come, Come, Ye Saints

1. Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.’
Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!

2. Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

3. We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We’ll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell—
All is well! All is well!

4. And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!

Text: William Clayton, 1814–1879 Music: English folk song