by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: II Peter 1:12-15

My latest sun is sinking fast,
My race is nearly run;
My strongest trials now are past,
My triumph is begun.

I know I’m near the holy ranks
Of friends and kindred dear—
I hear the waves on Jordan’s banks,
The crossing must be near.

I’ve almost reached my heav’nly home,
My spirit loudly sings;
Thy holy ones, behold, they come!
I hear the noise of wings.

Oh, bear my longing heart to Him,
Who bled and died for me;
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin,
And gives me victory.

Refrain:

Oh, come, angel band,
Come and around me stand;
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my eternal home;
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my eternal home.

I.         History

            A.        Written by Jefferson Hascall and first published in The Melodeon in 1860. It was set to a different tune than the one we sing today.

            B.        Being written in common meter, numerous tunes could be used with the words, but the one we use was written by William B. Badbury in 1862.

            C.        Jefferson Hascall was a Methodist minister in Shrewsbury, Massachusets.

II.        Eventually death must come for each one of us

            A.        Many fear that day, but this song sees death as both a completion and a victory

            B.        Day is the time to work (life) and night is the time for rest (death) - John 9:4

            C.        Life is a race that we must run with endurance - Hebrews 12:1

                        1.         Eventually that race is finished - II Timothy 4:7-8

                        2.         But meanwhile we must endure trials - James 1:12

                        3.         And at the end rest - Revelation 14:13

            D.        The end of the race is not the end of everything. It is the start of the celebration of victory.

III.       In the second stanza the image switches from a race to the Israel crossing the Jordan to reach the promised land

            A.        Crossing the Jordan becomes an image of dying and joining those who have died before - Joshua 3:14-17

                        1.         Often the Old Testament talks of the faithful being gathered to his people - Genesis 25:8; 35:29 and many other verses

            B.        Sometimes death takes us unawares, but sometimes we realize that our time draws near - II Timothy 4:6; II Peter 1:14

            C.        But we need not fear. Others have gone before us and we will be reunited with those we have loved so dearly

IV.      Death is going home

            A.        After a long journey, it is so good to return to your own home.

                        1.         Life is a journey - Hebrews 11:13-16

                        2.         There is a longing for home - II Corinthians 5:1-9

            B.        The holy ones (angels) dwell with God in heaven - Deuteronomy 33:2; Revelation 5:11

                        1.         Jesus described the angels carrying Lazarus to his rest - Luke 16:22

V.        Death is going to our Savior

            A.        We have fellowship with him. His blood cleanses us from all sin - I John 1:5-7

            B.        There is a longing to be with him - Philippians 1:23

            C.        And there victory is received - I Corinthians 15:50-57

VI.      Death need not be feared when you are prepared

            A.        Are you ready for that day?

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