Sunday, July 29, 2012

sunday songs

The song and the story:

‘Jesus Loves Me’
Anna Bartlett Warner (1827-1915)

Anna and her sister loved writing hymns, novels, and children’s books.  Among the 18 books they wrote together was Say and Seal (1859).  This book included ‘Jesus Loves Me’, written by Anna. In the story, one of the characters comforted a dying child by singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’.  The stanza based on the dying child isn’t commonly found in hymnals:

‘Jesus loves me! Loves me still
Tho' I'm very weak and ill
That I might from sin be free
Bled and died upon the tree.’

Anna published ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in her first hymnbook, Original Hymns.  In 1861, William Bradbury put the song to music and added the chorus, ‘Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!’ The joyful tune and simple words soon became favorites around the world.  In 1971, the song was once again revised by David R. McGuire.  He rewrote stanzas two and three to reflect Matthew 19:13-14, where Jesus gathers the children around him:

Jesus loves me! This I know
As He loved so long ago
Taking children on His knee
Saying, Let them come to Me.’

I had no idea this children’s song had such an interesting history.

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