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Shall We Gather?
"He showed me a river of the water of life … coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb … On either side of the river was the tree of life … the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." – Revelation 22:1-2 NASB
Robert Lowry had a gift for communication. Born in March 1826 in Philadelphia, he displayed these skills as a professor of literature. A committed believer, he went on to become a minister and musician. But nothing prepared him for what happened to him one afternoon in July 1864 when he was pastor of a church in Brooklyn, New York.
Later he recalled, “the weather was oppressively hot,” and he felt exhausted. Suddenly, his “imagination began to take itself wings.” Scenes from the Bible came alive “with startling vividness.” He pictured scenes from Revelation including the “pure water of life, clear as crystal.”
Inspired by these images, a question came to him: “Shall We Gather at the River?” He expanded this thought into a hymn with this title. He pictured the day when all the saints will gather in Heaven. It will be a glorious time as “we will walk and worship ever.” There, we will lay every burden down and receive our “robe and crown.” We’ll see our Savior’s face and sing of His grace. Soon, “our pilgrimage will cease” and “our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.”
Don’t give up when you face problems. In Heaven, “there will no longer be any curse,” and “there will no longer be any night” (vs. 3-4). Be encouraged because Jesus is “coming quickly” (v. 7). God has prepared a place for you. Stay faithful. Continue to serve Him!
Father, thank You for the promise of eternal life. Take away my burdens. Give me Your peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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