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03/09/10

  07:29:31 pm, by Reynold Kremer   , 353 words  
Categories: News

The Story Behind "Jesus Loves Me"

I am fascinated with the stories behind many of our favorite hymns. I'm also convinced that if more Christians knew what inspired them, they would take on a much deeper meaning. Such is the case with the favorite children's hymn, "Jesus Loves Me."

Chosen by many Christian parents as the first song they teach to their toddlers, little do most of them realize that this hymn was never even intended to be sung. Anna Warner and her sister were writers. One of their best-selling books was a novel titled "Say and Seal". Although little is remembered of that book, one small poem hidden among the pages did take on a new life of its own. It was a poem spoken by a young Sunday school teacher to a dying child titled "Jesus Loves Me."

Anna and Susan lived in New York, along the Hudson River near the West Point Military Academy. They were well-known for the Sunday school classes they conducted for the cadets. After both sisters died, their home was willed to the Military Academy and it stands today as a historical building. The sisters were the only civilians ever buried with full military honors in the West Point Military Academy cemetary, in recognition for the years of spiritual service to the young West Point officers. To view the Warner house go to www.constitutionisland.org/ci-warnerFam.asp

The melody to "Jesus Loves Me" was written by Dr. William Bradbury. He served as church organist and choir director in Maine and Massechusettes. Dr. Bradbury loved working with children and sponsored festivals in which he would gather together hundreds of children to sing his songs. He wrote the music and added the chorus lines to "Jesus Loves Me" in 1861. Dr. Bradbury is also known for the melodies he wrote to "Sweet Hour of Prayer", and "Just As I Am".

You will find many of these wonderful stories behind our favorite hymns in Kremer's Bible Class study titled "Hymns of Faith and Hope." You can print out a free copy of one of the five course lessons at www.kremerpublications.com. You'll find it under Church Materials > Topical Bible Studies.

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