Abide with Me

Abide with Me - you can see chords in pencil and for my arrangement at the bottom

Abide with Me – click and you can see chords in pencil for the hymn and for my arrangement at the bottom

Sometimes in my quiet times I’ll play through old hymns and try to connect with them in prayer.  I like the thought of singing songs that were written a hundred years or more ago.  I love newer worship songs, and we sing many songs by Tomlin, Houghton, Hillsong and the rest.  But some of the old hymns have some really deep lyrics that make the songs never get worn out.  We think a lot in our churches about connecting with the younger generations who like the newer songs.  But hey, old stuff is cool too –corkscrew mustaches, suspenders, organic farming, hipster contemporary subculture.

This ancient hymn from 1847 has some great lyrics, using the metaphor of falling asleep at the end of day for the eventual passing on from this life and journeying with God, also the times in life that are challenging when it seems that God is distant.  These are great words.  This isn’t a song I grew up with; although I may have heard it before, I had to learn the melody, playing through it.  After I learned the original hymn, I was inspired with a new take on the same words, more modern melody and groove.  Don’t know if I’ll use it for anything but I enjoyed connecting with the words.  Let me know which you like better!

Here is an iPhone recording of the original hymn

Abide with Me – learning the hymn


Here is an iPhone recording of my new modern take on the words.  The “percussion” you hear is me tapping my feet, and the piano damper.

Abide with Me – JBC Version

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

2 Comments on “Abide with Me”

  1. I love bringing new music to old Hymns. Last year I wrote a new take on one of the old hymns in the Songs of the Kingdom Book (I believe it was called “Christian Soldiers” or something similar)

    I love what you’ve done with this song Brian. I’d love to see a full studio recording one day. Still with minimal instrumentation, but I think some Acoustic guitar would complement the beautiful piano playing quite well.

    • jbriancraig says:

      Thanks. Love to hear your take on “Onward Christian Soldiers” – I always loved that song as a little kid.

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