454

Beams of Heaven

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Although probably written earlier in the century, Tindley's "Beams of Heaven" was published in 1916 in his New Songs of Paradise (copy available in the Library of Congress). Strongly apocalyptic, the text expresses the Christian's confidence that when “Jesus leads me, I shall get home someday.” That ultimate certainty gives hope and encouragement for our daily walk with God. Stanzas 1 and 2 use the rich Old Testament Exodus imagery of light and darkness to refer to times of joy and sorrow. The third stanza points from current troubles (see 2 Cor. 4:8-10) to the vision of a new creation, to "that land of peace and glory" (see Rev. 22:1-6).
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Difficult times occur in the lives and communities of God’s people because this is a fallen world. The confessions demonstrate this perspective:
  • Belgic Confession, Article 15 teaches that “…by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race…a corruption of the whole human nature...” As a result, God’s people are “guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all [our] ways” (Article 14). In addition, “The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions” (Article 12).
  • Our World Belongs to God continues to affirm that “God has not abandoned the work of his hands,” nevertheless “our world, fallen into sin, has lost its first goodness...” (paragraph 4). And now “all spheres of life—family and friendship, work and worship school and state, play and art—bear the wounds of our rebellion” (paragraph 16).
Yet, in a fallen world, God’s providential care is the source of great assurance, comfort and strength. Through these thoughts, our trust in God is inspired.
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13 is a reminder that God’s providence reassures us that God leads and governs all in this world “according to his holy will…nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.” Further, this Confession identifies that this “gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father, who watches over us with fatherly care...in this thought we rest.”
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13, is a reminder that much is beyond human understanding and so “we do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what God does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 we testify that we “trust God so much that [we] do not doubt that he will provide whatever [we] need for body and soul and will turn to [our] good whatever adversity he sends upon [us] in this sad world.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28, we are assured that through our trust in the providence of God we can have “good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.”
  • When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask not to be brought into the time of trial but rescued from evil. In doing so we ask that the Lord will “uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 127)
Belgic Confession, Article 26 speaks about the intercession of Christ as the ascended Lord. “We have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” We, therefore, do not offer our prayers as though saints could be our intercessor, nor do we offer them on the “basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Because Jesus Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we approach the throne “in full assurance of faith.”
 
No greater assurance can be found than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “I am not my own by I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”
 
In all difficult times, we eagerly await the final day when God “will set all things right, judge evil, and condemn the wicked” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57).
 
No hope is stronger than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: we “…belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ…because I belong to him, Christ by His Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life...”
 
The basic perspective of hope is expressed in Belgic Confession, Article 37 “…the Lord will make them (us) possess a glory such as the human heart could never imagine. So we look forward to that day (of Christ’s return) with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 15, Question and Answer 42 clarifies what may be misunderstood when it says that even though Christ died for us, we still have to die, but “our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.” Additionally, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 explains that Christ’s resurrection “is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 22, Questions and Answers 57 and 58 speak reassurances about the actual event of dying: “Not only will my soul be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but also my very flesh will be raised by the power of Christ, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body,” and “even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58).
 

Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 56 summarizes our hope by testifying, “We long for that day when our bodies are raised, the Lord wipes away our tears, and we dwell forever in the presence of God. We will take our place in the new creation, where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, and the Lord will be our light. Come, Lord Jesus, come.”

Tune Information

Name
SOME DAY
Key
D Major
Meter
7.7.7.7.8.8.9.6 refrain 8.8.9.7

Hymn Story/Background

Although probably written earlier in the century, Tindley's "Beams of Heaven" was published in 1916 in his New Songs of Paradise (copy available in the Library of Congress). Strongly apocalyptic, the text expresses the Christian's confidence that when "Jesus leads me, I shall get home someday." That ultimate certainty gives hope and encouragement for our daily walk with God. Stanzas 1 and 2 use the rich Old Testament Exodus imagery of light and darkness to refer to times of joy and sorrow. The third stanza points from current troubles (see 2 Cor. 4:8-10) to the vision of a new creation, to "that land of peace and glory" (see Rev. 22:1-6).
 
Tindley's early twentieth-century gospel music is often considered to be the immediate forerunner of the rise of the African American gospel style associated with Thomas Dorsey.
 
SOME DAY consists of a few melodic motives, which are varied in triple meter. The refrain melody is a repeat of the latter half of the tune. The hymnal arrangement was prepared by Dale Grotenhuis. Sing in parts.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Dale Grotenhuis (b. Cedar Grove, WI, 1931; d. Jenison, MI, August 17, 2012), was a member of the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, a professor of music and director of choral music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, from 1960 until he retired in 1994 to concentrate on composition. Educated at Calvin College; Michigan State University, Lansing; and Ohio State University, Columbus; he combined teaching with composition throughout his career and is a widely published composer of choral music. He also directed the Dordt choir in a large number of recordings, including many psalm arrangements found in the 1959 edition of the Psalter Hymnal, 1987.
— Bert Polman

Author and Composer Information

African American preacher Charles A. Tindley (b. Berlin, MD, 1851; d. Philadelphia, PA, 1933) was also a composer who wrote most of his church music for the East Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, which he founded in Philadelphia. His church choir performed many gospel concerts.
 
The son of slave parents, Tindley taught himself to read and write and moved to Philadelphia, where he worked initially as a janitor for the John Wesley Methodist Church (later Calvary Methodist) and took correspondence courses from Boston University School of Theology. Ordained a Methodist pastor in 1885, he served several congregations in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey before returning in 1902 to Calvary Methodist in Philadelphia. Under his ministry the church thrived as a multiethnic congregation. Tindley wrote the texts and tunes to forty-five gospel hymns, including "I'll Overcome Some Day" (1901), which became the inspiration for the well-known Civil Rights Movement theme song "We Shall Overcome."
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.