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Nearer My God

Updated on December 26, 2014

God is Close By

The hymn Nearer My God to Thee is said to have been played as the Titanic faced its end. If true the people dying on that fateful day were probably wishing that God was nearby and would stretch out a hand to save them. Many may have tried to reach the ear of God for the first time ever in their lives. It's when death threatens that many scream out for help and the only place they can go is into their inner self where they try to reach the Spirit of Life.

What they may not have known is that God was there as always. Very close by, in fact, and leading us into our future or fate depending on the plan; of which we are a part. It's at the point of death that we come to realise that within ourselves is the Spirit and that those who are connected are in contact at all times.

The picture demonstrates the way by which we learn of the presence of the Mighty Spirit in all of nature of which we are a part. We are not the main players but we are the wreckers. We were sent on a course of destruction to show that man is not God and that our concept of the Great Creator is wrong, Few there are in this world who know the truth while those who cheat and destroy know pain and suffering.

The picture is mine and copyrighted.

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When Words Matter

Human nature is ruled by our emotions. It's what we feel inside that counts. If those feelings are leading to an outcome we would like then the deeds we perform are often done with such gusto that there is little room for further thought about whether or not we are still on track. That is why inspirational stories, hymns and deeds wear off. They can be forgotten about until we need to pull up an emotion to make us feel better.

That is why the hymn Nearer My God to Thee captured the imagination of the survivors and those who felt betrayed by the sinking of the Titanic. Thousands of other ships have sunk without much, if any, recognition and few remember they were lost along with the lives on board. So we must ask the question; is it because of the song that we turn our minds so often to this one event? Do we really believe that the passengers who died that night, April 14th, 1912, numbering 1,523 in all are nearer to God?

When it comes down to it what do the words really mean? If God is everywhere and in all of nature then we must surely be close to the Divine Creator at all times. So why do so many think of their God in terms of statues, religious icons, medals and other things while getting a religious buzz from attending a church, temple or mosque? There was no church or religious representation on the Titanic and yet we think of it in an almost sacred way. So how much does the song and the words we sing have to do with the way we feel? Or is there a perception that the ship was a temple taking people to heaven instead of to the USA?

Here are the words of the song written by Sarah Flower Adams, who apparently based it on Jacob's dream in Genesis, and you can hear it in the video below. They are from a common source and published openly many times over

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,

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,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer 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,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer 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,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer 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,

The words themselves are a bit way out unless you believe in heaven and hell, but that is another story.

The picture of Titanic and some information is from Wikipedia open source.

Was or Is the Titanic a temple of God?

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Nearer My God to Thee (hymn) - A Haunting Tune and Words to Match

Amazing Grace

Another song that some humans love to sing is Amazing Grace. There is something about the words that bring people closer to an ideology that states they are in the presence of God, This romantic attachment to a Divine Creator encompasses a desire to be forgiven and redeemed no matter what sin or ill favour they may have been in.

The song was written by John Newton and first published in 1779. It's background is rather tragic and also involves a shipwreck. A sailor in the Royal Navy Newton was without religious convictions. On leaving the Navy he became involved in slave trading. On one of the trips his ship was in a severe storm and he was frightened enough to have some type of conversion, although he continued in the trade for a few more years. At some stage he desired to serve God and went ashore to study theology,.

He became curate in the parish of Olney, Buckinghamshire, and there he joined with a poet, William Cowper, to write hyms. In 1773 the congregation was treated to the words of Amazing Grace, with or without music. In the words we see the plea for redemption, I was blind but now I see. This may or may not have a bearing on his activities in the slave trade.

It was then published in a book of hyms in 1779 and was extremely popular among the clergy in Britain, particularly among evangelists. . A journalist, William Phipps, wrote in the Anglican Theologian Review, thoughts that complied with one James Basker, an author, that "the first stanza of "Amazing Grace" is evidence of Newton's realization that his participation in the slave trade was his wretchedness, perhaps representing a wider common understanding of Newton's motivations."(Wikipedia).

Newton later joined forces with William Wilberforce who as a parliamentarian was leading the movement towards abolishing slavery in the British Empire. It culminated in the Slave Trade Act of 1807. "Between 1789 and 1799 four variation of Newton's hymns were published in the US in the Baptist, Dutch Reform and Congregational hymodies and by 1830's Presbyterian and Methodist" (Wikipedia) followed suite. As the religious movement of the early 19th Century swept the country religious revivals and church popularity (started in Tennessee and Kentucky) saw sharp note singing communities emerge.

Those who were once slaves along with their descendants leapt for joy when their freedom came about. The Southern states, who fought hard to maintain the slave trade, have populations that are now among the most dedicated religious groups and some of the best supporters of the song. To them they were showered with Amazing Grace and healing of their spirit.

Struggling with Truth

How Close are We to God?

When humans can treat others as slaves?

See results

The Gorgeous Voice of Nana Mouskouri

Amazing Grace Lyrics are from open source:

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me....

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...

my heart to fear.

And Grace, my fears relieved.

How precious did that Grace appear...

the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...

we have already come.

T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...

and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...

His word my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be...

as long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

and mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess within the veil,

a life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years...

bright shining as the sun.

We've no less days to sing God's praise...

then when we've first begun.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me....

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now, I see.


Indentured Servants

Would They Be Close to God?

The people brought to the colonies in the United States during its early years probably felt that God had deserted them, especially if they were slaves. But these were hard times. Owners of plantations were growing crops of sugar, cotton and tobacco to satisfty the growing demands in Europe and elsewhere for the new produce. It was easier to grow them in the Americas where land was freely acquired and wealth awaited anyone willing to take a chance on survival.

But the land was itself harsh. Ploughs were somewhat primitive and required great strength to pull through the virgin soil uintil it was pliable enough to yield its potential. Indentured laborers were not up to the job in many cases. Once the first slave was legally proclaimed the rush to bring black men from Africa was started and from then on there was no stopping it. Trade, commerce, wealth and a young nation depended on them.

There is much that could be said about human treatment of humans but relating slavery to the Titanic disaster is not so far fetched as one would imagine. Thousands of captured Africans died at sea en route to their new lives while many more were executed for rebelling against it when they landed. They were treated abominably by ruthless land owners who saw only money as a reason for their misery.

Was God nearer to them during those horrible years? Would any of them have understood the words of either song or been able to sing them in praise of a Creator they must have thought had deserted them? What are your thoughts now?

Modern Slavery in the USA

There are people in the USA and elsewhere today who think of themselves as servants rather than as workers. There are others who consider that even an education is against their lot in life. Healing of the past is slow and families torn apart and tortured carry the scars for several generations.

Aboard the Titanic were over 1000 emigrants and many of these were possibly headed to the States to become servants. Their occupations were listed as maids, laborers, gardeners, cleaners, and so on, while many more had no occupation and could have been children or wives. There were a vast number of children on board who drowned when the ship sank.

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

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      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi thanks for this great lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Just had to let others know about this gem among gems...FB liked...

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      cgbroome 4 years ago

      Very well presented!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      You always do more...what a way to stretch our thinking, may we grow into it! :)

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      maryLuu 5 years ago

      Very interesting, as always!

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Human history is so filled with tragedy. We could be a lot less proud of what we have done and a lot more careful about what we're doing. Thank you for publishing this courageous lens.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I want to thank you very much for featuring my lens, 'The Golden Door to America,' here, in this lens!

      I enjoyed taking these quizzes. I learned a lot!

      ~*~Angel Blessings~*~

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      Jon 5 years ago

      interesting post!

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      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.