Joe's Rocking Chair Greetings

Joe's Rocking Chair Greetings

We sang this hymn in church a few weeks ago and as many times as we have sung this hymn it always touches my heart. I hope you are encouraged by the words of this beloved hymn!

Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871), was a famous English poet and Victorian hymnist, best known for two hymns Just as I Am & Thy Will Be Done. She wrote about 150 hymns and many poems. Her grandfather was a famous Evangelical Preacher and she was raised in a Christian environment. Her childhood was passed in a circle of great refinement where she was highly educated developing, at an early age, a passion for music and art.

 As a young woman, a gifted portrait artist and poet, she became a favorite in social circles outside of the church fellowship. At the age of 32 a tragic illness removed her from the life she’d known. She was moved to another town living with her family, homebound and facing many inner struggles because of depression and feeling useless with her life, often experiencing severe pain. Upon hearing that she was unable to attend church services and of her condition a well-known Swiss preacher and hymnologist came to visit her. In spite of being raised in a Christian home, she rejected his attempted conversation and encouragement.

 After several days of spiritual misery because of her actions, she reflected upon her inner conflicts and doubts and she was unsure of her relationship with Christ. She then apologized to Pastor Malan for her unbecoming conduct and confessed that their discussion had troubled her greatly. She never fully understood God’s grace; further conversation followed. He counseled her to replace her rage and inner conflict with peace and simple faith in God, telling her “come just as you are” and from that day on she used her talents to write hymns.

Years later upon remembering their conversation, thinking about the simple five words he used that day, she began to write the verses “Just as I am, Without One Plea”.  William Bradbury composed the music and published it as a hymn in 1849. This hymn is a favorite in English hymnals and has been translated into many languages and sung by Christian’s worldwide.

 People aren’t “good enough” or “not good enough” to come to Jesus. It is through God’s initiative, pardon, promises and GRACE mentioned throughout the hymn reminding us that everyone can come to Jesus. Just like Miss Elliott, people will face conflicts and doubt and “fighting and fears within [and] without” but one can find peace and rest in Jesus! I don’t know which to admire most, the beauty of the composition, or the lovely modesty of the author, who for many years could not partake of its message. Her souls’ beautiful story, represented in this beloved hymn, for those in sickness and sorrow… she has sung as few others can. True penitence leads to boldness of faith in approaching the throne of grace.

Joe’s Rocking Chair Greetings
Joseph E Stickney September 1, 2019 - Vol 12 No 12
David’s Star EV Lutheran Church

 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37