Friday, April 18, 2014

Hymn Study Helps: Go to Dark Gethsemane

In our little Charlotte Mason co-op, we are currently studying the hymn, "Go to Dark Gethsemane" by James Montgomery. It is a beautiful hymn, and I don't remember singing it before Sara introduced us to it. I've found myself connecting with hymns as never before, and this one has touched my heart particularly this last week, as we've walked with Christ during the Holy Week readings at our church.

As I've been singing this with my children, I see Christ so vividly, praying not to have to be crucified, and yet going willingly because He knew it had to be. I am so grateful for His sacrifice for me, and this hymn reminds me so beautifully to turn to Him when things seem too hard. The petty struggles of my day-to-day life come sharply into focus in proper perspective when I consider what He has done. I hope this hymn will bless your Good Friday meditations.

Go to Dark Gethsemane
James Montgomery

Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see, watch with Him one bitter hour,
Turn not from His griefs away; 
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

See Him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall! O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; 
Learn of Christ to bear the cross.

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb; there, adoring at His feet,
Mark that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete.
“It is finished!” hear Him cry; 
Learn of Jesus Christ to die.

Early hasten to the tomb where they laid His breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom. Who has taken Him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes; 
Savior, teach us so to rise.

Click here for a PDF of music with lyrics. 

James Montgomery was born in Scotland in 1771. When he was 2 years old, he moved with his parents to a Moravian community, where they left him to go to Barbados as missionaries. James was orphaned when his parents died on the mission field. He attended an English Moravian seminary for a while, but was dismissed because he was preoccupied with writing poetry. Eventually, he became editor of a newspaper called the Sheffield Register, and when the owner of that paper had to leave the country to avoid persecution and imprisonment over his political writings, James bought the paper and renamed it the Sheffield Iris. He also wrote political editorials, and was put in prison twice because of his writings. Before his death in 1854, he wrote over 400 hymns, 100 of which are still used today. The one I'm most familiar with is "Angels from the Realms of Glory." (Sources: Then Sings My Soul, Morgan; 101 More Hymn Stories, Osbeck)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:36 AM

    Beautiful! I have never heard this hymn before. I would love to here it, I'll have to go check YouTube.
    I love how this hymn points out that Jesus is who we need to be looking for for wisdom on how to pray, live, bear our crosses and die to self.