Abide in Me

It is far more than just a song…

Henry Francis Lyte, a Scottish Anglican clergy, wrote the poem “Abide in Me” in 1847. He wrote it as he lay dying from tuberculosis. Tradition has it that Henry died three weeks later.

The melody now famous with “Abide in Me” was written by an editor of hymnbooks, William H. Monk (1861). William found the lyrics of “Abide in Me’ comforting following the days of his three-years-old daughter’s death. William composed his own tune “Eventide” to go with the lyrics “Abide in Me”.

Since the joining of the sorrows and the works of these two men, “Abide in Me” has become world-known.

  • It was a favorite hymn of King George V and King George VI.
  • It was sung at the funeral of King George V.
  • The hymn inspired Field Marshall Herbert Kitchener, the 1st Earl Kitchener- A senior British officer of World War I.
  • It was inspirational to Major General Charles George Gordon- The lead general of the British/ Chinese forces in China.
  • Edith Louisa Cavell, a British nurse who attended the wounded on both sides of World War I, sand this hymn as she faced her firing squad. She was found guilty of treason.
  • “Abide in Me’ has been sung at the FA Cup Final (soccer, for us Americans) since 1927.
  • “Abide in Me” has been sung at the Challenge Cup (the Rugby finals at Wimbledon) since 1929.
  • This was a favorite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi.
  •  “Abide in Me” is sung at the military remembrance days for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
  • This song has been released by many famous orchestras and singers to help raise awareness and monies for many different world charities.
  • A Salvation Army band played “Abide in Me’ at Ground zero during the commemorative ceremonies of the September 11 attacks.

The voices of the broken, but healing, hearts of two men… over one hundred and fifty years ago… are still bringing healing to our world today.

Written for The Daily Post: December 10, 2016. Abide.

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