Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

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Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
by Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha Hoffman
AJ Showalter.jpg
A. J. Showalter
Genre Hymn
Written 1887
Based on Deuteronomy 33:27
Meter 10.9.10.9 with refrain
Melody Anthony J. Showalter

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is a hymn published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman.

Showalter said that he received letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. When writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in the Book of Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms".[1]

Lyrics[edit]

Elisha Hoffman

Showalter wrote the lyrics to the refrain in Hartselle, Alabama and asked Hoffman to write the remaining lyrics.[2]

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.
Refrain:
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk, In this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain
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.
Refrain
Alternate version

There is an alternate version of the refrain, typically sung by basses:

Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Versions[edit]

It has been performed and recorded by such artists as Norbert Susemihl, Iris Dement, George Jones, Mahalia Jackson, Twila Paris and Selah.

Alan Jackson included it in his 2006 live gospel album Precious Memories.

Playing for Change has a version with multiple musicians including Dr. John.

mewithoutyou uses the lyrics from the 3rd stanza and part of the 2nd in their song Watermelon Ascot from their Pale Horses album.

In popular culture[edit]

The song has been used in several movies, including The Human Comedy (1943), The Night of the Hunter (1955), Phase IV (1974), Wild Bill (1995), Next of Kin (1989), True Grit (2010) (of which it forms about a quarter of the score[3]) and First Reformed (2017). In television, it was used in the Dollhouse season one episode "True Believer".[4] It was also used in the House of Cards episode "Chapter 42" (season 4, episode 3), in the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Pattern Seventeen" (season 16, episode 9), and in Justified (season 4, episode 5, "Kin.")

It was also used in a Guinness Beer commercial titled "Empty Chair" which was produced by Human Worldwide Inc. and in a 2014 Sainsbury's ad regarding the World War I "Christmas Truce" of 1914.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ p.122 Morgan, Robert J. Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns Revell, 2010
  2. ^ "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms". The Cyber Hymnal. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  3. ^ Burlingame, Jon (15 December 2010). "Burwell in tune with Coen brothers". Variety. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Dollhouse (TV Series) - True Believer (2009) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  5. ^ http://twentytwowords.com/the-best-christmas-ad-youll-see-today-recreates-christmas-eve-on-a-wwi-battlefield/

External links[edit]