A Song in the Night

WE HAD finished two evangelistic campaigns in the Honduras Mission and were driving hard to reach the ferry that would take us back to our home territory of Newfoundland. . .

WE HAD finished two evangelistic campaigns in the Honduras Mission and were driving hard to reach the ferry that would take us back to our home territory of Newfoundland.

As I drove through the night I began thinking of the upcoming MISSION '72 campaign in St. John's with Elder Neal Wilson and my responsibilities of leading out in the musical program of the series.

That night to help keep awake while driving I began to try to put the theme "Reach Out for Life" into some kind of musical setting. Over and over again I sang the phrase, "Reach out for life," until a tune finally came that seemed to fit.

a I wanted to find not only a melody that was snappy and that would lodge in a person's mind but also words that would convey the complete plan of salvation.

Driving along in the wee hours of the morning I collected and sorted ideas in an endeavor to make words and music fit.

Reach out for life. "Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey him and to cling to him, for he is your life and the length of your days. You will then be able to live" (Deut. 30:19, 20, Taylor).*

Tis the Master's voice now calling. "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out" (John 10:3, Taylor).

His is the power. "I have been given all power in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18, Beck).

That can keep your feet from falling. "For thou hast delivered my soul from death, yea, my feet from falling" (Ps. 56:13, R.S.V.).

Give Him your heart. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26).

To be filled with joy o'erflowing. "I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!" (John 15:11, Taylor).

You can live, forever live. "Any one eating this Bread shall live forever" (John 6:51, Taylor).

Through the grace of Christ the Lord. "We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved" (Acts 15:11).

This closing phrase seemed especially difficult to present the plan of salvation as a joyful climactic experience. But it finally came as I sang it over and over again.

When we got to St. John's, I wrote down the melody and then asked my wife to help me put the right chords to it. Soon our two-year- old was joining our four-year- old in singing it around the house and in their play. Then we felt we had it.

Recently we were associated with Ben Glanzer in a Voice of Prophecy series in Tucson, Arizona. I showed this chorus to him. He admitted he naturally was apprehensive of any new music. Ben asked me whether I was a songwriter, and I said No. He asked me whether I had ever writ ten any other song, and again I said No. However, he was willing to try it.

After becoming acquainted with the chorus, he said, "If you are not a songwriter, there is just one thing I can say the Lord must have given this to you." And I believe that is what happened that night in Nova Scotia, as we put together a simple melody of salvation ---"Reach Out for Life."

* Texts credited to Taylor are from The Living Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois. Used by permission.

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July 1973

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