Hymnspiration: He Keeps Me Singing

LutherBurgessBridgersToday’s hymn is one of the more joyful and spirited hymns sung in evangelical churches, yet the circumstances surrounding its origins were borne out of tragedy.

Luther Burgess Bridgers was born in North Carolina on February 14, 1884.  At the age of seventeen Luther began preaching, but realizing he needed formal training, enrolled at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky.  While attending school he met Sarah Veatch, fell in love and married.  He and Sarah had three sons: Allen Veatch (1904), Luther Hughes (1906) and James Maurice (1910).

After receiving his ordination as a Methodist Episcopal minister, Luther served as a pastor and evangelist.  In March of 1911, he received an invitation to preach a two-week revival near his in-law’s home in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  He left his wife and three sons at her parent’s home and departed for Middlesboro.

Following the meeting on March 26, Luther received a call telling him that his in-law’s house had burned to the ground and his wife and sons had all perished.  Later that year, he wrote both the words and music of He Keeps Me Singing:

There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still,
In all of life’s ebb and flow.

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife,
Discord filled my heart with pain,
Jesus swept across the broken strings,
Stirred the slumbering chords again.

Feasting on the riches of His grace,
Resting ’neath His sheltering wing,
Always looking on His smiling face,
That is why I shout and sing.

Though sometimes He leads through waters deep,
Trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See His footprints all the way.

Soon He’s coming back to welcome me,
Far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown,
I shall reign with Him on high.

Luther married Aline Winburn in 1914 and they had one son, Luther Burgess, born in 1915.  Luther continued to minister, again serving as both pastor and evangelist.  Following World War I he traveled to Europe and ministered in Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Russia.  He retired in Georgia in 1945, and on May 27, 1948 passed away.

LutherBurgessBridgersGraveHe wrote perhaps a dozen or so more hymns, but none as well-known as He Keeps Me Singing.

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

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© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.

 

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