Be not afraid – a memorable hymn

We attended a funeral today for the father of my daughter’s friend who passed way too early at age 53. Growing up Catholic and singing harmony with her father in a small church, my wife recognized immediately the encouraging hymn “Be not afraid” that the congregation was asked to sing.

I knew this would be both memorable and melancholy for my wife as she sang it beautifully next to my whispering voice. She and her father sang well together. Here are the words, crafted by English author Alfred J. Hough, which are poignant next to the beautiful music of Charles Hutchinson Gabriel.

“You shall cross the barren desert but you shall not die of thirst
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand
You shall see the face of God and live

Be not afraid, I go before you always
Come follow me and I’ll give you rest

If you pass through raging waters in the sea you shall not drown
If you walk amidst the burning flames you shall not be harmed
If you stand before the power of hell and death is at your side
Know that I am with you through it all

Be not afraid, I go before you always
Come follow me and I’ll give you rest

Blessed are the poor, for the Kingdom shall be theirs
Blessed are you that weep and mourn for one day you shall laugh
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me
Blessed, blessed are you

Be not afraid, I go before you always
Come follow me and I’ll give you rest”

Whether you are religious, the words offer a great example of the comfort that be gleaned at a time of grief and need. These hymns are mileposts in our lives and can remind us of earlier moments. To me it reminded me of the times my wife would rehearse on Saturday evening with her father and perform in the church service the next day.

“Be not afraid” are comforting words. I hope they were for my daughter’s friend and her family.


15 thoughts on “Be not afraid – a memorable hymn

      • Hugh, excellent point. When done right and is inclusive, religion is at its best, but when a religious leader sows division and excludes (or is too self-centered), it is at its worst. Top of mind, I am thinking of two excellent Christian ministers, a Rabbi and an Imam in my community that are exemplars, while thinking of two ministers in this same community that use the bible as a weapon to exclude. My advice to those whose minister is like the latter two, is to find another church.

        Brr, on the cold. Stay warm. Keith

  1. Dear Keith,

    That hymn, “Be not afraid” is a tear jerker for me. I find hymns like this and certain passages from the bible very comforting and healing.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Right now it is cold in Florida at 68 degrees.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Thanks Gronda. I read with interest the many passages you referenced in the comment on your post this morning. You are insightful as always. Happy New Year my friend. Keith

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