Saturday, October 1, 2016

In the Sweet By and By

If you love our version of "Lorena," you will likely also enjoy "In the Sweet By and By." After all, the music was written by the same man!

There's an interesting story behind the writing of this beloved hymn. The lyricist, Sanford Fillmore Bennett, tells what happened. 

"Mr. Webster, like many musicians, was of an exceedingly nervous and sensitive nature, and subject to periods of depression, in which he looked upon the dark side of all things in life. I had learned his peculiarities so well that on meeting him I could tell at a glance if he was melancholy, and had found that I could rouse him up by giving him a new song to work on.

"He came into my place of business [in Elkhorn, Wisconsin], walked down to the stove, and turned his back on me without speaking. I was at my desk. Turning to him, I said, 'Webster, what is the matter now?'

"'It’s no matter,' he replied, 'it will be all right by and by.' 

"The idea of the hymn came me like a flash of sunlight, and I replied, 'The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn?' 

"'Maybe it would,'” he said indifferently. Turning to my desk I penned the words of the hymn as fast as I could write. I handed the words to Webster. As he read his eyes kindled, and stepping to the desk he began writing the notes. Taking his violin, he played the melody and then jotted down the notes of the chorus. It was not over thirty minutes from the time I took my pen to write the words before two friends with Webster and myself were singing the hymn."

It is said that someone just entering the store stood listening to the impromptu quartet. With tears in his eyes he exclaimed afterward, "That hymn is immortal!"

Our version of this beautiful, comforting hymn is available on Amazon and iTunes as well as our CD "Joyful Harps Hymns."

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.