Here is Love Vast as the Ocean –2/21

1. Here is love vast as the ocean, loving-kindness as the flood, When the Prince of Life, our ransom, shed for us His precious blood. Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise? He can never be forgotten throughout heav’n’s eternal days!

2. On the Mount of Crucifixion, fountains opened deep and wide; Through the flood-gates of God’s mercy flowed a vast and gracious tide. Grace and love like mighty rivers poured incessant from above; Heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.

3. Here is love that conquered evil: Christ, the firstborn from the grave; Death has failed to be found equal to the life of Him Who saves! In the valley of our darkness dawned His everlasting light;Perfect love in glorious radiance has repelled death’s hellish night!

4. That same love beyond all measure, mocked and slain by hateful men- Lives and reigns in resurrection and can never die again! Here is love for all the ages, Radiant Sun of Heav’n He stands,Calling home His Father’s children, holding forth His wounded hands.

5. Here is love, vast as the heavens; countless as the stars above- Are the souls that He has ransomed, precious daughters, treasured sons. We are called to feast forever on a love beyond our time; Glorious Father, Son, and Spirit now with man are intertwined.

6. Let me all Thy love accepting, Love Thee, ever all my days; Let me seek Thy kingdom only and my life be to Thy praise; Thou alone shalt be my glory, nothing in the world I see. Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me, Thou Thyself hast set me free.

7. In Thy truth Thou dost direct me by Thy Spirit through Thy Word; And Thy grace my need is meeting, as I trust in Thee, my Lord. Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring Thy great love and power on me- Without measure, full and boundless, drawing out my heart to Thee.

Background

Rev. William Rees (1802-1883), usually known in Wales by his bardic name of Gwilym Hiraethog, was a Welsh poet and author and one of the major figures of Welsh literature during the 19th century. The only traditional education Rees had was at the village school during the winter months. He worked on his family’s farm and as a shepherd throughout his childhood. Later on, Rees took the initiative to educate himself and took a keen interest in astronomy, political science and literature. Under the guidance of an older gentleman who lived in a nearby farm, Rees learned the rules of Welsh poetry and eventually went on to win awards for his writing. He also started the first successful Welsh newspaper, “Yr Amserau” (“The Times”) in Liverpool, and it was his series, ‘ The Letters of an Old Farmer,’ which really breathed life into the newspaper. Rees also became an Independent minister in 1831 and felt very strongly about justice for people, including American slaves. He wrote several pieces of poetry, hymns and prose, his most well-known hymn being, “Dyma gariad fel y moroedd,” (Here is Love Vast as the Ocean). This song played an important role in the Welsh revival of 1904–1905, led by evangelist Evan Roberts. It was often thought of as “The great Welsh love song.” 

Translation and Modern Verses

Sometimes hymns are written by one author, all in one sitting. Sometimes hymns go on journeys and end up being the product of multiple authors over hundreds of years. This is one such hymn.  While William Rees is the author of the first two Welsh verses of this beautiful hymn, many other contributions have been made over time to make it the wonderfully God-glorifying piece (in English) that we can sing today. You won’t see all these exact verses together in any hymnal that we know of. But we thought it would be wonderful to see all of the stanzas that have been contributed from different authors bound together in one amazing song.

William Rees’ original words (verses one and two) were translated into English by a Welsh theologian and New Testament Greek expert from Cardiff named William Edwards (1848-1929). His translation of ‘Dyma gariad fel y moroedd’ was published in 1900 in The Baptist Book of Praise. Somewhere along the way, two English verses were added to Rees’ hymn. Most list these verses as anonymous and do not attribute them to William Rees as there was no Welsh version, only English. These two stanzas are verses six and seven of our hymn. Finally, the wonderful folks at Sovereign Grace (Matt Giles and Vell Rives) also made their mark upon this song and in 2018 added what we are singing as stanzas three, four and five. While all the additional verses are beautiful and fit well into the scheme of the song, there is a bit of a difference in the poetic eloquence from Rees’ words/Edwards’ translation and the rest of the song. But it seems the loveliness of the Gospel and how honoring these words are to the Lord should trump any mismatch of eloquence. A wonderful partnership across centuries formed in the creation of this hymn, combining rich words and the perfect tune that together cause us to rejoice in the glorious redemptive work of God!

Devotional thoughts for little hearts

You are so very loved. Think about it… You are loved by your parents, siblings, teachers, friends, pastors, family members and so many others. You may not always feel it, but they really, really love you. How awesome to be loved by so many people! But even all this love added up and combined together is like a teensy little drop in a bucket compared to the massively endless ocean of God’s love. It was God the Father’s love for his people that led His Son to come to earth as a tiny helpless baby, to sleep under the stars that He created. It was God’s love for His people that made Jesus suffer and die a terrible death in order to take away our sin and adopt us as His precious sons and daughters. We are not loved by God because we are so very cute and lovable. We are loved because that is who God is. We all have a choice to make. We can accept God’s amazing love for us, and live our lives for Him and His glory, or we can run away from His love, which will only bring dissatisfaction, sorrow and punishment in the end. What have you chosen to do with God’s love? May you choose to sing with the hymn writer: “Let me all Thy love accepting, love Thee, ever all my days; Let me seek Thy kingdom only and my life be to Thy praise!”

How we do Hymn of the Month

If you are new to this community, welcome! It is a great time to join in and make family worship a priority if you haven’t already. You may or may not be familiar with this hymn. Either way, we invite you to spend this month meditating on its truths. 

To get you started, we’ve provided free printable lyrics, music and copywork — all found here! 

Also, you can find fresh versions of the hymn on our YouTube channel that you and your family can sing along with. There are loads of fresh versions at the top of our hymn of the month playlist. If you are interested in fleshing out this month’s hymn with activities, coloring sheets, devotional thoughts, vocabulary sheets, etc. check out our Winter Hymn Guide, available for a small fee on Etsy. Thank you so much for your support of Happy Hymnody’s ministry!

When we began singing hymns with our littles about 10 years ago, we kept it simple… We prayed and sang one hymn together every night at bedtime for a whole month. Everyone’s family rhythm is different, so we welcome you to gather up your families, for just a few minutes each day, to sing, discuss and memorize this hymn (following your daily time in the Scriptures and in prayer) whether it is first thing in the morning, or around the dinner table or before bedtime – whatever works best for your family. You can let us know how it’s going by posting either a video or a photo on Instagram. Just tag it with #happyhymnody! As always, if you have any questions or if you’d like to share your heart with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out! God bless you all this month as you worship and follow Jesus together as a family!

With so much love,

April

Don’t forget to download your free printables here!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie says:

    We so love being a part of this community! Thank you for blessing us with the hymns and especially the historical content. Consistently our kids’ favorite version to listen to every month is the Happy Hymnody one. For February, the link for the downloads/printables is still going to All the Way my Savior Leads Me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. happyhymnody says:

      Julie! Whoopsie! Fixed that link! Thank you for the heads up! 💛

      Like

  2. Lindsey says:

    I’m still seeing the old link for last month also. Thanks for all you do!

    Like

    1. happyhymnody says:

      Hmm… Try a refresh, maybe? There are two links… one at the end and one in the second to last paragraph. Maybe one of those will be luckier? 🙂

      Like

      1. Lindsey says:

        I had been trying the link at the bottom. It is working for me now! Thanks!

        Like

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