Nearer, My God, to Thee

After clicking random links in Wikipedia about the Titanic, I came across this song. This is such a good song. It kind of makes me feel much closer to God while I was listening to it. It makes me cry.

RMS Titanic and SS Valencia

“Nearer, My God, to Thee” is associated with the RMS Titanic, as one passenger reported that the ship’s band played the hymn as the Titanic sank. The “Bethany” version was used in the 1943 film Titanic and in the Jean Negulesco’s 1953 film Titanic, whereas the “Horbury” version was played in Roy Ward Baker’s 1958 movie about the sinking, A Night to Remember. The “Bethany” version was again used in James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic.

Wallace Hartley, the ship’s band leader, who like all the musicians on board went down with the ship, was known to like the song and to wish to have it performed at his funeral. He was British and Methodist, and would have been familiar with both the “Horbury” and “Propior Deo” versions, but not with “Bethany”. His father, a Methodist choirmaster, used the “Propior Deo” version at church for over thirty years. His family were certain he would have used the “Propior Deo” version, and it is this tune’s opening notes that appear on Hartley’s memorial. However, a record slip for a 1913 Edison cylinder recording of “Nearer, My God, to Thee”, featuring the “Bethany” version, states that “When the great steamship ‘Titanic’ sank in mid-ocean in April 1912, it was being played by the band and sung by the doomed passengers, even as the boat took her final plunge.”

“Nearer, My God, to Thee” was also sung by the doomed crew and passengers of the SS Valencia as it sank off the Canadian coast in 1905 – indeed it may be the source of the Titanic legend, since the Titanic claim is made by a Canadian passenger who could not have actually heard the band playing. – Wiki

A familiar Christian hymn written by Sarah F. Adams, 1841. Sung in the video by the Sharon Singers of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute.

It is most famous as the alleged last song the band on RMS Titanic played before the ship sank.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Chorus: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,

A sixth verse was later added to the hymn by Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth, Jr. as follows:

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.



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