13 January 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
(Gospel of St. Matthew 8:23-26; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
This beautifully illustrative hymn recounting the calming of the sea by our Lord has been omitted from the modern hymnal, and even the 1940 Hymnal. It was published in the 1872 and 1892 Hymnals of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The author was the Rev Hyde W. Beadon (1812-1891), an Anglican cleric, in 1863. The tune to which the hymn was sung is MORAVIA by Lewis Renatus West. The hymn is based upon the Gospel for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany (lectionary text of 1892).
STILLING THE STORM
1 Fierce was the storm of wind,
The surging waves ran high,
Failed the disciples’ hearts with fear,
Though Thou, their Lord, wast nigh.
2 But at the stern rebuke
Of Thy almighty word,
The wind was hushed, the billows ceased,
And owned Thee, God the Lord.
3 So, now, when depths of sin
Our souls with terrors fill,
Arise, and be our helper, Lord,
And speak Thy, “Peace, be still.”
4 When death’s dark sea we cross,
Be with us in Thy power,
Now let the water-floods prevail,
In that dread trial-hour.
5 And, when amid the signs,
Which speak Thine Advent near,
The roaring of the sea and waves
Fills faithless hearts with fear;
6 May we all undismayed
The raging tempest see,
Lift up our heads and hail with joy
Thy great Epiphany.
1 Fierce was the storm of wind, The surging waves ran high, Failed the disciples’ hearts with fear,
Though Thou, their Lord, wast nigh. What needless fear we bear at the sudden rising of the billows and breakers of the storms of life when, all the time, we should know that our Lord is very near – even by our sides. The fear of the Christian is actually a failure of love. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:8) The disciples were yet to be made perfect in love and faith, but the time would come when they would freely lay down their lives for the Savior as He has done for us. The more we know our Lord, and the closer we bind our hearts to His will, the greater love we bear and the less fear we entertain at any threat.
2 But at the stern rebuke Of Thy almighty word, The wind was hushed, the billows ceased, And owned Thee, God the Lord. Ocean seas quake at the Word of the Lord and cease their violence, and so does the rebellious heart that comes to know Him in faith. All strife of soul and spirit is made calm by love and faith in Him. If even the mighty storm responds to His voice, should not the heart of the depraved soul? He quickens our dead souls by the Word of His mouth, and we are made alive!
3 So, now, when depths of sin Our souls with terrors fill, Arise, and be our helper, Lord, And speak Thy, “Peace, be still.” We wrestle aimlessly against the winds and tides of the sea of life when our Lord is present among us. Our futile efforts fail and we panic at the perceived impending calamity, but all we need do us raise our voices in prayer to the Master of the Seas and He will speak peace to our burdened and fearful hearts. “Peace, be still!” Only when our hearts are stilled in the covert of His love, are we able to clearly discern His voice.
4 When death’s dark sea we cross, Be with us in Thy power, Now let the water-floods prevail, In that dread trial-hour. The sea of death is dark and sinister to the faithless. Approaching Jordan Banks may chill the heart and spine of the incorrigibly lost sinner; but the Christian, strong in faith, approaches that bar with fearless resolve of crossing over that tumultuous flood in the company of a Heavenly Helper sent by God just as the beggar Lazarus was borne up by angels to Abraham’s bosom. It is at the moment of death that the Christian testimony of faith is most pronounced – and a blessing that one can go in both peace and joy.
5 And, when amid the signs, Which speak Thine Advent near, The roaring of the sea and waves Fills faithless hearts with fear; The world is fearful at even the mention of the name of Christ. Great effort is expended to expunge His name from the public record, the social gatherings, the places of education, and every government venue. Why? It is because they know Him to be the Divine Son of God even if they outwardly deny Him. But their sinful hearts cannot allow Him to be admitted as Sovereign, else they would need to cease from their sinful pleasure and acknowledge His moral Law and commission of love. This, their hardened hearts cannot allow, so they attempt to expunge even the mention of His name not only from their own cohorts, but by the righteous as well.
6 May we all undismayed The raging tempest see, Lift up our heads and hail with joy Thy great Epiphany. The greatest of all Epiphanies will be the day we cross over Jordan Banks and behold our Lord face to face. The great hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, blind from infancy, writes of seeing her Savior face to face. In that day, she will have no blindness, but her perfect vision may well be nearly blinded by His radiance. The Presence and power of Christ is most emphatic at the time of greatest peril. The bird that builds its nest on a tree branch behind the turbulent waters of a great waterfall will enjoy the greatest security, protection, and peace despite the roar of the falls. The heart that places its trust in the Lord will enjoy that same peace and security even if the cannons roar and the enemy rushes on as a horde of demons. It is at such moments that our faith is tried and our love measured.
“AMEN!” So be it! This hymn very appropriately ends with ‘amen’ as every hymn of praise and worship should end. Great classical hymns are very much like biblical prayers, and they appropriately end with ‘AMEN’ as does the whole Canon of God’s Word at Revelations 22:21