I STAND AMAZED IN THE PRESENCE written in 1905
In the early 1900s, Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932) was the king of gospel music. He wrote the words and music for a number of hymns used by popular evangelists of his day such as Billy Sunday and his song leader, Homer Rodeheaver.
Charles’ hymns reflected a change in the style of gospel music. In the 1800s, hymns were deeply theological and often meditative. But with the revivals of Moody and Sunday, Christians learned to love songs that were fun to sing… were highly energetic… and were easy to remember.
Charles’ most well-known hymn was then “Oh That Will Be Glory for Me”. He also wrote “Send the Light”. Charles is credited with between 7000-8000 songs, 35 gospel song collections, Sunday school song books, collections for men’s and women’s choirs, and numerous cantatas, including 41 Christmas cantatas. He wrote under numerous pseudonyms, making it difficult to know the precise number of songs he wrote. And Charles is credited with writing more tunes for other texts’ writers; including “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”
But the hymn that seems to have had the longest life is this hymn, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence”; it sounds like it could have been written today! This hymn focuses on a single thought… a single emotion… and celebrates it. That thought? The raw amazement at the incredible sacrifice of Christ!
Maybe we still love this song because we can identify with that amazement. How marvelous! How wonderful!
Read this hymn, and –today – stand again in that amazement.
I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,
and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.
O how marvelous! O how wonderful! And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me!
For me it was in the garden He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine. (Refrain)
In pity angels beheld Him, and came from the world of light
to comfort Him in the sorrows He bore for my soul that night. (Refrain)
He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone. (Refrain)
When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see,
’twill be my joy through the ages to sing of His love for me. (Refrain)