When Jesus Wept
DESCRIPTION: "When Jesus wept, a falling tear In mercy flowed beyond all bound. When Jesus groaned, a trembling fear Seized all the guilty world around,"
AUTHOR: William Billings
EARLIEST DATE: 1770 (New England Psalm SInger, according to LindaJo H. McKim, _Presbyterian Hymnal Companion_, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993, p. 222)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad Jesus
REFERENCES (1 citation):
NOTES: Not traditional as far as I know, but well enough known in folk circles to perhaps deserve an entry. It was written as a canon, and is often done as a round, and serves well in that role. It is not exactly Biblical, but it is based on Biblical themes. The famous verse "Jesus wept" (sometimes "Jesus shed tears") is John 11:35, but the tears themselves are not treated as being significant in that gospel. There are various accounts of Jesus sighing or groaning, but for the most part the groans have no obvious effect.
It is interesting to observe that the presence or absence of a comma after "guilty" significantly affects the meaning of the piece.
For more about composer William Billings, see the notes to "Chester." - RBW
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