Sunday, August 23, 2009

Flooding My Soul With Glory Divine

This feels like a good song for the rapidly passing summer, though I know it has been and probably still is sung all year round. The theme of “heavenly sunlight” is found in several other gospel songs but this one caught on more firmly than all the others. One reason for that may have been that it was played weekly on The Old Fashioned Revival Hour, a radio program hosted by evangelist Charles E. Fuller from 1937 to 1968 (though he changed the refrain to “heavenly sunshine”).

Walking in sunlight all of my journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake you,”
Promise divine that never can fail.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing praises, Jesus is mine.

Shadows around me, shadows above me,
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;
Christ is my joy, in whom is no sadness;
Ever I’m walking at Jesus' side.

In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing,
Pressing my way to mansions above;
Singing God's praises, gladly I’m walking,
Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love.

Henry J. Zelley, 1899; alt.
Tune HEAVENLY SUNLIGHT ( with refrain)
George H. Cook, 1899

Methodist minister Henry Zelley is supposed to have written a large number of gospel songs, but this is probably the only one he'll be known for. Even less than that is known about composer George Cook; they may have shared a New Jersey connection since Cook lived for a time in Ocean Grove on the shore, home of a long-running series of Methodist camp meetings. It's possible they may have known Emily Divine Wilson through those meetings.

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