Archive for The Navy Hymn

The Navy Hymn: “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

On this Sunday following yesterday’s celebration of the 237th birthday of the United States Navy, I thought it appropriate to share with you the story of The Navy Hymn; Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”

Click HERE to listen to the hymn

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

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The Rev. William Whiting, a schoolmaster and clergyman of the Church of England, who lived from 1825 to 1878, wrote the original words as a hymn in 1860.  In the following year, the words were adapted to music by another English clergyman, the Rev. John B. Dykes, who lived from 1823 to 1876.

In the United States, the late Rear Adm. Charles Jackson Train, an 1865 graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, was a lieutenant commander stationed at the Academy in charge of the Midshipman Choir.  In 1879, Lt. Cdr. Train inaugurated the present practice of concluding Sunday’s Divine Services at the Academy with the singing of the first verse of this hymn.  Today, this song can be found in most church hymnals.

This hymn is often used at funerals for personnel who served in, or were associated with, the Navy. For example, Eternal Father was the favorite hymn of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was sung at his funeral at Hyde Park, New York in April 1945.  Roosevelt had served as Secretary of the Navy.  This hymn was also played as President John F. Kennedy’s body was carried up the steps of the capitol to lie in state.

The song, known to United States Navy men and women as the “Navy Hymn,” is a musical benediction.  It is a prayer for safety on the high seas. And, nobody senses the need of God more than those in peril; those in peril on the sea, on the land and in the air.  Those in the United States Navy need God’s strong arm, guarding hand and watchful care.

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Img5.jpgO Eternal Father, strong to save, we pause to remember the founding of the Navy.  We remember all who have served in the air, on land, on sea and under the sea.

Those whose lives were given in dark jungles, ocean depths, desert sands or on far distant bases and beaches.  May we recognize their contributions to the security of our nation.

Grant, O God, your blessing and protection on all men and women who now serve in our Navy, on watch and on station around the world, from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, from the Western Pacific to the Middle East, especially those defending freedom in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.  O Lord, may our soldiers and sailors be a safeguard unto the United States of America.

Put new meaning in our national commitment of “Peace through Strength,” that we may truly strive to be instruments of peace in a distrustful world.

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our country’s Navy ashore and afloat, and all who serve in our Armed Forces.  Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them; keep them safe from evil; give them courage to face the perils which beset them and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be.

God, who founded the seas and equipped them with the very resources that sustain life on this planet, we seek your will for our nation in meeting its obligations to maintain the freedom of the seas.  We ask your blessings on the ships and their crews of the United States Naval forces in meeting their commitments.  Preserve them from the dangers of sea, air & land and bring them safely to port.

On this occasion of the birth of the United States Navy, save, sanctify and bless those in the Navy with favoring winds over the sea and into harbor.  According to your good will, and as their divine and heavenly pilot, bring them at last to the haven of peace.

Related Article –

The 237th Birthday of the United States Navy (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

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