May God be near thee, friend
May God be near thee, friend. Henry Burton* (1840-1930).
This was published in Burton’s Songs of the Highway (1924), with the title ‘To an Absent Friend’. Burton’s poems or hymns were well known in the mid-20th century, and this one was chosen for The School Hymn-Book of the Methodist Church (1950). Stanza 3 was omitted, and there were some minor alterations (stanza 2, with an eye on the mission field, was altered in line 1 to ‘In distant, desert places’):
May God be near thee, friend, When we are far away; May His smile cheer thee, friend, And make all light as day; Look up! the sky, the stars above Will whisper to thee of His changeless love.
In the far-distant place The...
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