Anticipating the Second Coming… Joyfully!
This hymn speaks of the joy that will be ours when the Saviour returns to the earth, when peace and love will abound and “sin will cease.” We will be so happy that we will sing – a lot! Each verse of this hymn mentions singing:
v. 1 Let us sing with one accord.
Let us raise a joyful strain…
v. 2 Oh, what songs we then will sing…
v. 3 We will sing the songs of praise; We will shout in joyous lays.
Each verse also mentions the removal of sin from the earth:
v. 1 On this earth when it shall be cleansed from all iniquity.
When all men from sin will cease…
v. 2 When in splendour he’ll descend, Then all wickedness will end.
v. 3 Earth shall then be cleansed from sin.
Each verse also mentions the love and peace that will ensue after the Saviour comes:
v. 1 … And will live in love and peace
v. 2 Oh, how joyful it will be/ When our Saviour we shall see!
Oh, what love will then bear sway/ When our fears shall flee away!
v. 3 All arrayed in spotless white, We will dwell ‘mid truth and light.
Ev’ry living thing therein / Shall in love and beauty dwell; Then with joy each heart
Prepare for the Second Coming
So… we are given a clear message in this hymn. There will be much singing and rejoicing when the Saviour comes again, when sin is removed from the earth and we can all live in peace. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And, indeed, it will be. The only catch is that we will have to endure many sad events before that happy time happens.
In his talk, “Thy Kingdom Come,” from the April 2015 General Conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen tells us:
“We live, brothers and sisters, in the days preceding the Lord’s Second Coming, a time long anticipated by believers through the ages. We live in days of wars and rumors of wars, days of natural disasters, days when the world is pulled by confusion and commotion.
“But we also live in the glorious time of the Restoration, when the gospel is being taken to all the world—a time when the Lord has promised that He “will raise up … a pure people” [Doctrine and Covenants 100:16] and arm them “with righteousness and with the power of God” [1 Nephi 14:14].
“We rejoice in these days and pray that we will be able to courageously face our struggles and uncertainties. The difficulties of some are more severe than those of others, but no one is immune. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said to me, ‘If everything is going perfectly for you right now, just wait.’”
In his talk, “Preparing for the Second Coming,” given in the April 2004 General Conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks recounts the accelerating pattern of natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards – in the past few decades. Then, of course, there is the increase in war and rumours of war. And he was speaking twelve years ago… it has only gotten much worse.
Elder Oaks advises us:
“What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
“If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained? If our lamps of preparation are drawn down, let us start immediately to replenish them.
“We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult—the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.”
What would we do differently if we knew the Saviour was coming tomorrow? Maybe we should do it today.
History of COME, YE CHILDREN OF THE LORD
Our hymns spring from the hearts, minds and souls of amazing people. James Hearknett Wallis (1861-1940), the writer of this hymn text, was no exception. He was born in London, England, the third of 12 children, and baptized a member of the church in 1877. There is no mention of his family joining the church, so he may have joined alone – at the tender age of 16. He served several missions and apprenticed in the printer’s trade. He found work at a newspaper in Liverpool, where he met his future wife, Elizabeth Todd.
In 1881, James and Elizabeth joined a party of Mormons emigrating to Utah. They were married in Salt Lake City shortly after their arrival. They then moved to Paris, Idaho, where James became the editor and publisher of the Paris Post. Over the next twenty years, he owned and/or managed quite a number of newspapers throughout Idaho and Utah. He also studied law and earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nebraska in 1896.
He then went on to become one of the more aggressive Dairy, Food and Sanitary Commissioners the State of Idaho has ever seen. There were reports of him throwing out sub-standard food from train dining cars and seizing sub-standard milk to feed to the pigs. Meat could no longer be displayed in open trays with no protection from flies and wind-blown contaminants. Milk had to be properly handled and dairy barns had to be kept clean with this Sanitary Commissioner in charge! Although his methods may have offended some at the time, he became famous nationally. The New York Times printed a long interview with him (June 1, 1913) entitled “Fly Man Boosts Buzzless Boise.”
Along the way, he was also ordained a bishop by George Albert Smith and served as bishop of the Vernal First Ward.
Meanwhile, at home, James and Elizabeth had 16 children! James does not appear to have been a man who did anything half-way.
This hymn text was set to a Spanish folk melody.
Our Arrangements of COME, YE CHILDREN OF THE LORD
Our Congregation Choir arrangements add a beautiful, alternate accompaniment to the original SATB found in the hymnbook. This alternate accompaniment could be used with the SATB for a piano/organ duet accompaniment for the entire congregation or for a large choir. It could also be used alone as a more embellished accompaniment for a solo singer or group, or just to enjoy as a piano solo.
Listen to our arrangements below. You will first hear just the organ doing the introduction. The piano joins in on the first verse and then the countermelody (vocal in one; flute in the other) joins in for the second demonstration verse.
With enhanced piano accompaniment (that goes along with the organ, if desired) and vocal countermelody. PURCHASE IT HERE.
With enhanced piano accompaniment and flute/violin countermelody (flute in this sample). PURCHASE IT HERE.
James H. Wallis appears to have had tremendous zeal for all he did throughout his life. That characteristic zeal is evident in this hymn text. What joy we will have… oh, the songs we will sing!… when the Saviour comes again.
I conclude with the words of Elder Oaks:
“We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins. We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” (History of the Church, 4:540) [April 2004 General Conference]