“Just As I Am”

Westminster Presbyterian Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church

On Sunday, June 16, 2013 (Father’s Day), the Chamber Ensemble of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church sang the moving and well-known “Just As I Am.” Here are the  lyrics:

  1. Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  2. Just as I am, and waiting not
    To rid my soul of one dark blot,
    To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  3. Just as I am, though tossed about
    With many a conflict, many a doubt,
    Fightings and fears within, without,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  4. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
    Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  5. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
    Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
    Because Thy promise I believe,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  6. Just as I am, Thy love unknown
    Hath broken every barrier down;
    Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Charlotte Elliott
Charlotte Elliott

The lyrics were written by Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871), an English poet and hymn writer.  Because of medical problems, she was confined to home and unable to attend her church (the Church of England). In spite of being raised in a Christian home, she had conflicts and doubts about her faith and was unsure of her relationship with Christ, but she was moved in 1834-35 to write these words of assurance about Jesus’ loving her just as she was. This is but one of 150 hymns that she wrote. It was used as the hymn for alter calls in Billy Graham crusades.

William Bradbury
William Bradbury
Rev. C.G. Walden, III
Rev. C.G.     Walden, III

The melody for this hymn was composed by William Bradbury (1816-1868), a U.S. musician and composer of many hymn melodies. The arrangement that was sung at Westminster was by Rev. C. G. (Sonny) Walden, III, a minister of music at United Methodist Churches in Georgia and an active conductor, teacher, singer and award-winning composer.

The bulletin for this worship service and audio and video recordings of the service are available online.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

2 thoughts on ““Just As I Am””

  1. Thanks for speaking of the arrangement of “Just as I Am” on your blog. I thought you would enjoy reading the genesis of the arrangement. Sonny (CG Walden) and I were in grad school at the U of North Texas in the 80s, and I sang in the ensemble that premiered it. I found it amongst the choral music I’ve stashed away over the years, and tracked Sonny down. Here are his words:

    “Oddly enough, the piece started off as a parody of the hymn and its usage in southern evangelical churches. It was common for it to be sung over and over at the end of revival services until someone was “saved.” I had written a program, I think in fortran and assembler that resulted in the old IBM 360 in the computer center singing and recording the tune. That recording was to be played as the evangelist from the front of the hall from a central large speaker and the choral music was to get increasingly dissonant until someone “walked the aisle” as it were and then all would resolve. It was supposed to be a joke. This sort of thing was a part of my southern heritage that I did not remember with fondness. But as I worked on the choral parts and as I sat with the text, I became quite moved by the grace therein and I found that I could no longer treat it as a parody. Instead, it became an expression of divine grace and I began to treat it as such and what you have now is how that ended up. My hope is that it is an expression of what I perceive to be God’s acceptance of us as we are, with no preconditions.”

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