~* WHEN THE ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER *~
Words & Music by James M. Black, 1856-1938

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:16-18

The calm assurance of a future heavenly Home is one of the greatest blessings for every Christians. It has been said that only those with an absolute confidence in their eternal destination truly know to live victoriously in this life. Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we need have no fear that we will not hear "the trumpet call of God," whether we are still alive or asleep in Jesus.

James M. Black was an active Methodist layman, a music teacher, and a composer and publisher of numerous gospel songs. He related this experience:

While a teacher in the Sunday School and president of a young people's society, I one day met a girl, 14 years old, poorly clad and a child of a drunkard. She accepted my invitation to attend the Sunday School and join the young people's society. One evening at a consecration meeting, when members answered the roll call by repeating Scripture texts, she failed to respond. I spoke of what a sad thing it would be when our names are called from the Lamb's Book of Life, if one of us should be "absent". When I reached my home, my wife saw that I was deeply troubled. Then the words in the first stanza came to me in full. In fifteen minutes more, I had composed the other two verses. Going to the piano, I played the music just as it is found today in the hymnbooks.


The subsequent death of the missing girl from pneumonia, after an illness of just 10 days, furnished the dramatic finale to this account and gives a poignancy to the "roll call" song. Since its publication in 1894, this simply worded gospel song with its rather ordinary music has captured the hearts of innumerable believers. These sincere expressions have provided Christians with a singable vehicle of praise for the glorious future that still awaits us.



When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound,
and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather
over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, Iíll be there!

On that bright and cloudless morning
when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather
to their Home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, Iíll be there!

Let us labor for the Master
from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over,
and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, Iíll be there!

CHORUS:
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder Iíll be there!



*For Today*: John 6:40; I Corinthians 15:40-42; I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Give God praise for the certainty about your future heavenly Home with Him, which you as His child will one day enjoy. If you are not His child through salvation, wouldn't you, too, like to know that you have the hope of eternal life? Then you, too, can sing with confidence, "When the roll is called up yonder, I'LL BE THERE!"

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Return to Hymn Devotionals Index


Caleb's Country Corner *_*

The Christian Counter