Hymns – Camp Songs, pt.2

Tonight we are singing Camp Songs by the fire pit (weather permitting).  Some of the songs we may consider to be kid songs or light-hearted singing have a very rich history beyond children’s albums. One song we are going to sing tonight that has a rich history is “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”  There are two versions of the origin of the song.  One version of the song’s origin is that it was written by Obie Philpot, a Methodist from Louisiana, during his Army basic training in World War Two. The other version of the song’s origin is that it is an 18th-century Negro Spiritual written by slaves. Both stories of the song’s origin have it written by a person or a people in difficult circumstances in which someone can only place their hope in God’s care.  The song was first recorded by a thirteen-year-old British singer Laurie London in 1957 where it went on to hit #1 on the Billboard charts in April 1958.  This was only a few years after the Soviets had developed nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver a nuclear warhead, and so again, the song is used as a cry to God in impossible times.  Finally, the song was also used during the Civil Rights Era. It was one of the songs which opened Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  It is a song for difficult times.

Another song we are singing tonight is “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.”  This song was written by Fr. Peter Scholtes who was a priest at St. Brendan Roman Catholic Church.  The church is located in the predominately African-American South Side of Chicago.  He wrote the song in 1966 after failing to find an appropriate song for his youth choir to sing for a series of ecumenical, interracial events.  And, therefore, he wrote this song to proclaim the root of our Christian unity that transcends all divisions.  Sunday morning may still be the most segregated hour in America and we have more than 30,000 denominations to suit every taste and theology, but as John and Paul remind us, it is our love for our neighbor which truly binds us together.

The set sheet for tonight is:

  • “This is the Day” Les Garrett, New Zealand, 1967 (hymnary)
  • “Do Lord” Julia Ward Howe, 19th c. (history)
  • “They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love” Fr. Peter Scholtes, 1966 (hymnary)
  • “He’s Got the Whole World” Obie Philpot (?), 1940 (?)  (history) (hymnary)
  • “Shout to the Lord” Hillsong, Australia, 1993 (history)


  • We have two more weeks of hymns.  Next week are Hymns Ancient and Modern and October 24 are Easter Hymns.
  • We are NOT meeting on Halloween. Our neighborhood is inaccessible and unnavigable that evening.
  • November 7 and November 14 are going to be outreach nights. On Nov 7 we will be preparing Flood Buckets. On Nov 14 we will be preparing care packages for our college students and shut-ins. If you know of someone that needs to be included on the list, please let me know.
  • November 21 is our Thanksgiving Dinner.  Reservations are required. More information later.
  • For Advent we will be reading Martin Luther’s Christmas Book which contains condensed versions of Luther’s sermons about Christmas from the Annunciation through the Presentation.
  • Our small group Christmas party is on December 19. More information later.

Dinner tonight is at 6. The menu is hamburgers and hot dogs. Singing about 6:45. Hope to see you here and please bring a friend.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:7-12

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