John Keble, 1792-1866

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Psalm 84:11 & 12

Jesus taught that we can learn much from the lilies of the field. How do they grow? By struggling and seeking to display their beauty? No, they simply open themselves to the existing sun, and in their sun-centeredness, they grow and become objects of beauty for all to enjoy. Indeed the sun is one of the most important factors in nature's growth.

We too need sun for our souls--the warmth of God's love and presence in our lives. We were created for this in order to be complete persons.

John Keble, a professor of poetry at Oxford University for ten years and later a minister of a humble church in the village of Hursley, wrote this poem in 1820. Seven years later he published a collection of poems titled The Christian Year with all of the poems following the church calendar year. "Sun of My Soul" was one of the poems from that collection. The book was extremely successful, going through 109 editions before John Keble's death in 1866.

The poem was originally named "Evening" and was based on the account in Luke 24:29, where Christ went in to dine with the two Emmaus disciples following His resurrection.

This prayer for the constant and unobscured sense of Christ's unwavering presence and blessing, whether in life or death, and finally the full enjoyment of God's love in "Heav'n above", is still a worthy goal for each believer.

Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear,
It is not night if Thou be near;
O may no earthborn cloud arise
To hide Thee from Thy servantís eyes.

When the soft dews of kindly sleep
My wearied eyelids gently steep,
Be my last thought, how sweet to rest
Forever on my Saviorís breast.

Abide with me from morn till eve,
For without Thee I cannot live;
Abide with me when night is nigh,
For without Thee I dare not die.

If some poor wandering child of Thine
Has spurned today the voice Divine,
Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;
Let him no more lie down in sin.

Watch by the sick, enrich the poor
With blessings from Thy bounteous store;
Be ev'ry mournerís sleep tonight,
Like infantsí slumbers, pure and right.

Come near and bless us when we wake,
Ere through the world our way we take,
Till in the ocean of Thy love
We lose ourselves in Heaven above.

*For Today*: Psalm 4:6-8; Luke 1:77-79; II Corinthians 4:4

Pray with John Keble that "no earth-born cloud" will obscure a sense of Christ's presence and blessing in your life.

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.

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