What Wondrous Love is This

Hymn lyrics by Unknown Person/s
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Hymn Lyrics

What wondrous love is this,
O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this,
O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse
For my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse
For my soul.

When I was sinking down,
Sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down,
Sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown
For my soul.

To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb
Who is the great I Am;
While millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme,
I will sing.

And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity,
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity,
I’ll sing on.

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Years since this tune first existed

A hymn for the faithless

Many articles describe this hymn’s music to be ‘haunting’ and it has an ethereal quality about it. It really does sound beautiful and is said to stem from an Appalachian style of music. Although the words repeat themselves, it is not monotonous, but rather, it brings out the importance of the lyrics. It emphasises God’s wondrous love, our sinking tendencies, and last of all what we will do as an outcome of God’s salvation to us. 
One line in the 2nd verse troubled me for a bit. It says, ‘Beneath God’s righteous frown’, and I know some versions have changed this lyric, but I decided to sing the original, because although I do believe in God’s grace and love, I believe, that at the same time, God is a God of justice – I cannot overlook that fact. And that this ‘frown’ is cast on the sin rather than the sinner. We need to also remember that while God is gracious, He is also fierce in His love. The best example of that is the image of the lion, Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles, which is said to be an image of Christ, written by C.S. Lewis.
Mr. Beaver tells Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: “Safe? . . . Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” The narrator in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comments on Aslan’s duality: “People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.” (narniaweb.com)
This was the first time I’d heard of ‘shape note singing’ (see below for an example), which is a style of music notes made for amateurs. It is believed that William Walker widely publicised this song, even though he may not have written it. And he did so with the use of ‘shape notes’, of which he himself invented a seven shape note system.
This song speaks to me of a God who has tender, wonderful love, and that when He died, He took on the dreadful curse (sin, wrongdoing) upon Himself as the ultimate sacrifice, so that I may be free from sin today. Hope you are blessed by our version of this hymn.

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