Tag Archives: End of Time

A Hymn for Meditation

Peace Like a River

When peace like a river
Attendeth my way,|
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet,
Though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded
My helpless estate
And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

He lives – oh the bliss
Of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to his cross
And I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

Lord, hasten the day
When our faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound
And the Lord shall descend;
Even so it is well with my soul.

                              Horatio G. Spafford

  • How could anyone say that no matter what, it is well with my soul?
  • When I failed to get a job I thought I had earned, I was angry with the people who made that decision. I wanted to hurt them the way they had hurt me. Why did I feel that way? How would the hymnwriter describe my problem? What had I forgotten?
  • What is the focus of this writer’s hope? How does he deal with the kind of hurt that made me feel vengeful?
  • What is the biggest problem you face right now? Do you think the economy is a complete disaster? Did the wrong person win the presidential election? Have you been betrayed by someone you trusted? How would this hymnwriter work through these problems?
  • Where did the hymnwriter get the imagery of his final verse? Why does he find that image encouraging when his life is full of problems? (See Revelation 21-22)

A Hymn for Meditation

Shall We Gather at the River?

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God.

Refrain: Yes, we’ll gather at the river.
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God. 

On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will walk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.

Soon we’ll reach the shining river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.

                 Robert Lowry


  • Robert Lowry wrote this hymn during the Civil War. He was ruminating on the horrors of the war and the phrase “river of death” which recurred frequently in reports of the war. That phrase reminded him of another river described in Revelation. Why would the horror of war lead to a yearning for the river in Revelation (see Revelation 22:1-5) 
  • What grows on the banks of the river that flows from the throne of God where the hymnwriter asserts that we can walk and worship in the future?  (Nobody seems to know why the hymn says that the river flows “by” the throne of God when the Bible is clear that it flows “from” the throne of God. Maybe it was a typo.) 
  • The river flows through the New Jerusalem. Why does the hymnwriter think that being beside this river will inspire songs of peace? (See Revelation 21:22-27 and review the passage about the river.)
  • Why is it good for Christians to sing a song like this? What sorts of events in life make you long for a setting like the image of the river of life in the New Jerusalem? Why is it good to think about this image?