Few ministers’ wives can write a hymn-to-order for their
husbands, even if they are famous poets in their own right.
But Cecil Frances Alexander did just that for her preacher
One afternoon during the week of November 25, 1852, her
twenty-ninth year, she sat alone in the living room of their parsonage
in Tyrone, Ireland, working over a new poem.……….
When her husband inquired, she replied, “It is a new poem based
on your sermon of last Sunday morning.” He
looked surprised and said, “Honestly, dear, I didn’t think you were
paying attention. But it does help a congregation, even if it is only his
She reminded him that he had preached on “The burial of
Moses,” which was the subject of her new poem.
Later that evening, as they talked about the sermon and the poem
it had inspired, Mr. Alexander said, “Next Sunday is St. Andrew’s
Day. Since you wrote about
the burial of Moses after last Sunday’s sermon, I wonder if you
could write a poem for next Sunday morning before you hear the
“I’ll do what I can,” she told him.
He took a Bible and read the account of the calling of Andrew by
Jesus as recorded in Mark 1:16-18.
They discussed the coming sermon during supper, and she promised
to do her best with the poem he had requested.
That night, before retiring, she read the familiar Scripture
verses again, and soon wrote down the stanzas which he was to read at
the close of his sermon the following Sunday morning.
her first stanza contained these lines.
—Ernest K. Emurian
Jesus Calls Us
Jesus calls us: o’er the tumult
our life’s wild restless sea,
by day His sweet voice soundeth,
“Christian, follow me.”
Jesus calls us from the worship
the vain world’s golden store:
each idol that would keep us,
“Christian, love me more.”
In our joys and in our sorrows,
of toil, and hours of ease,
He calls, in cares and pleasures,
love me more than these.”
Jesus calls us: by Thy mercies,
make us hear Thy call,
our hearts to Thine obedience,
and love Thee best of all.
Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.