Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Charles Wesley and two blind boys

I'm reading Sing Them Over Again to Me: Hymns and Hymnbooks in America, ed. by Mark Noll and Edith L. Blumhofer. (Isn't that a great dust jacket?) My favorite chapter thus far is John R. Tyson's on "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," the Charles Wesley hymn that Tyson calls "the Methodist national anthem."

I grew up Methodist, and Tyson's about right.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The Triumphs of His grace!

A later verse:

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

Years ago, when we sang that song in church, that verse always brought to mind a particular poem--and it still does.

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys stood up to fight.
Back to back, they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to arrest the two dead boys.
If you don't believe my story's true,
Just ask the blind man-- he saw it too!