We Thank You Once Again

Posted on 08.08.2012

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in the church having the opportunity to be exposed to the great hymns of the church.

Because my father was a Methodist minister, hymns were a very big part of our church service. As a result of this exposure from birth, my brothers and sisters and I still remember the words to these hymns. In fact, through the years, the words of these hymns resurface often in my prayers and times of worship or just in my daily “walking through” life. In many of the songs I have written, there is often a line from a hymn that ends up in my lyrics. The beauty of the hymns lies in not only in the depth with which they express worship, adoration and fervent pleas to God, but also in their form: They are poetic and they use more formal English and words that require some to refer to a dictionary in order to understand them completely! I have often thought that the words in some hymns sound a little awkward, yet they express the human sentiment so very well. These days, when I am alone singing and playing a hymn at the piano, I often break down and cry because of my sensing  the Holy Spirit’s presence as I worship.

One of those awkward-sounding hymns that is so very precious to me is the following:

And are we yet alive,
And see each other’s face?
Glory and praise to Jesus give,
For His redeeming grace.


What troubles have we seen,
What conflicts have we passed,
Fightings without, and fears within,
Since we assembled last!
But out of all the Lord
Hath brought us by His love;
And still He doth His help afford,
And hides our life above.
Then let us make our boast
Of His redeeming power,
Which saves us to the uttermost,
Till we can sin no more.

Whenever we sang this song in church, I always felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the Lord for His goodness to me and my family. He had protected us  throughout the week and there we all were, back in church on a Sunday! All of us present had made it to another Sunday! I was much younger then, but I still had a very strong sense of thankfulness because the first line that says, “And are we yet alive and see each other’s face?” would speak to me.

I think of that song everyday now. It doesn’t matter how bad my morning is or how tough the day has been, I seem to think of this line when I look at my husband, children, extended family  friends and patients. I am grateful to still be alive and to see their faces!

I wrote a song when I was the director of the Stanford University Gospel Choir many years ago. It is called “We Thank You Once Again.” I believe this song was born out of this hymn. It actually became a “signature song” of the Stanford Choir. As we sang it then, we were thankful for having survived another grueling week or month in college!

We must always thank God over and over! Our thanks to Him will never, ever stop, for he is our source of everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” As you have a chance to listen to this song on our project, I pray that you will be thankful. Once again.