It’s time to add another hymn to my collection, Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth. I didn’t really set out to find one that relates to Mother’s Day in any fashion, but if we stretch it we can say that the hymn is an invitation to dine, which is what a lot of families are doing with their mothers today. At least, that’s apparently what we discovered when we attempted to make reservations.
Our selection this week is by Charles B. Widmeyer, who was born July 19, 1884 in Morgan, West Virginia and died December 14, 1974, in Los Angeles, California. Widmeyer served as president of Point Loma Nazarene University (1923-1926) and chairman of the Nazarene Department of Ministerial Relief (1923-1948). “Come and Dine” is probably his best-known hymn, which he wrote in 1906 to go with a sermon he was preparing on John 21:12 in the Epilogue to John’s gospel. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. This is of course the early-morning beachside fish-fry with Jesus and the disciples shortly after his Resurrection. On this basis, I suppose the hymn fits quite well into the Eastertide season.
I remember singing many hymns in my youth, and I recall how I would balance the open hymnal on the back of the pew in front of me — the pew backs having a flattened top rather than a rounded one. It was always a game with me to see how early could close the hymnal and slip it back into the rack on the pew-back while still remembering the remaining words to the end of the hymn. I don’t think I would have done well with this selection, as I now really only recalled the first two lines in the chorus without looking up the lyrics. With most of the hymns from my youth, I remember more of them than this, particularly the ones I knew well at the time.
Come and Dine
Jesus has a table spread where the saints of God are fed
He invites his chosen people come and dine
With his manna he doth feed and supplies our every need
Oh tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time.
Come and dine the Master calleth come and dine
You may feast at Jesus table all the time
He who fed the multitude turned the water into wine
To the hungry calleth now come and dine.
The disciples came to land thus obeying Christ’s command
For the Master called unto them come and dine
There they found their heart’s desire bread and fish upon the fire
Thus he satisfies the hungry every time.
Soon the lamb will take his bride to be ever at his side
All the host of heaven will assembled be
Oh twill be a glorious sight all the saints in spotless white
And with Jesus they will feast eternally.