Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hymns of Hope: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen Lemmel, the daughter of a Methodist minister, was born in 1863 in Wardle, England. Her family migrated to America when she was 12, first to Mississippi then to Wisconsin. A gifted singer, she traveled and sang on the Chautauqua circuit, eventually, becoming a vocal music teacher at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Among her works was a hymnal used by evangelist Billy Sunday for over a decade. She and a women’s choral group she directed were part of his evangelistic crusades at the peak of his career. Lemmel died in Seattle, Washington in 1961.

Originally known as "The Heavenly Vision," "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" (the first line of the chorus) was inspired by a missionary's tract Lemmel had read. First published as a pamphlet in England in 1918, she included it in a collection of hymns, called "Glad Songs," in 1922, and then in an American collection, entitled "Gospel Truth in Song," in 1924. Today the hymn, especially the chorus, is widely known and has become a standard reprinted in many hymnals.

O soul, are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

His Word shall not fail you
He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

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