Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

The song is eloquent in its simplicity – for whatever may come, we know that God is there walking beside us…

What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

I remember the day that I was examined to enter into a Presbytery where I have ministered several years ago. I was a bit nervous, because, in truth, extemporaneous speech in front of groups is not my favorite thing. So there I was, feeling jittery when I found that I and my fellow candidates had been pushed up against the communion table on the chancel. And that is when the giggles began in my head: leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. 

This is a well-beloved hymn that was written during the second half of the 19th-century. The refrain is based upon the King James Translation of Deuteronomy 33:27: “and underneath are the everlasting arms.” The song is eloquent in its simplicity – for whatever may come, we know that God is there walking beside us.

Though there may be many challenges ahead of all of us, as individuals and as community, we are still supported by an eternal source of love and strength and courage. Love for one another. Strength to do what’s needed. And courage to stand with the God of grace and justice.

So may the tune get in your head and it’s words speak to your heart: What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near; leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

 

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