THE UNCLOUDED DAY                                                                 written in 1880

The Story

Josiah (J.K.) Alwood (1828-1909) was one of those legendary circuit-riding preachers. Associated with the United Brethren denomination, he traveled on horseback to small churches in isolated areas, sometimes through swamps and creeks, then preaching in wet clothing. His territory was northwest Ohio, southern Michigan, and northeast Indiana.

One August night in 1879, Josiah was returning after midnight from a meeting in Spring Hill, OH, to his home in southern Michigan. As the story goes, Rev. Alwood was riding his horse home from a debate with an Adventist minister in Ohio. The debate had gone late into the night.

As he was riding, he was surprised to see a rainbow! The sky was clear except for one dark storm cloud. From that storm cloud, came a heavy shower of rain, and through that shower the rays of the moon were streaming. A rainbow at night is unusual; I’ve never seen one. Speaking later of that rare rainbow he saw, Josiah said, “You can scarcely imagine the feeling of solemn joy which came over me as I gazed upon the rainbow of promise.”

When Josiah awoke the next morning, he was stilled awed by that experience. He went to the small pump organ in his home and, with one finger, plunked out the tune to this hymn. Then he wrote the words as quickly as he could. He remembered the tune, so the next time a music teacher came to the area, Josiah asked that teacher to write down the music for him.

Those words and tune became known as this hymn, “The Unclouded Day”.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – think of that Land of unclouded day.

O they tell me of a home far beyond the skies,

O they tell me of a home far away;
O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,

O they tell me of an unclouded day.

Refrain

O the land of cloudless day,

O the land of an unclouded sky,
O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,
O they tell me of an unclouded day.

O they tell me of a home where my friends have gone,

O they tell me of that land far away,
where the tree of life in eternal bloom

sheds its fragrance through the unclouded day.  (Refrain)

O they tell me of a King in His beauty there,

and they tell me that mine eyes shall behold
where He sits on the throne that is whiter than snow,

in the city that is made of gold.  (Refrain)

O they tell me that He smiles on His children there,
and His smile drives their sorrows all away;
and they tell me that no tears ever come again
in that lovely land of unclouded day.  (Refrain)

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