Statue, Arms of Jesus This week’s selection for my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth is “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” by Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha A. Hoffman. Sometime around 1888, Showalter wrote the tune and the refrain after hearing from two friends whose wives had died, and asked Hoffman to write the rest of the lyrics. It seems to me that this one has survived the past 120 years without showing its age so much as some others of that period. I remember singing this one as a teenager — sitting in the back pews, leaning during the chorus and singing the echo as deeply as we could, “Leanin’ on Jesus.” Good memories.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.


What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

We’ll just let Mahalia Jackson take it from here:

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