Explaining “Nearer, My God, To Thee”

Last week in church we sang my favorite hymn, “Nearer, My God, To Thee.” The words to that song are exquisitely crafted, and with genuinely profound meaning. The apparent simplicity of it and the beauty of the tune we sing it to might mask the spiritual artistry of the writing, though.

Here is my attempt to translate the lyrics and reveal the power of the hymn. Here we can see it for what it is: a universal spiritual template, based on the Jacob Cycle in Genesis, that takes us from life’s lows to eternal highs, and emphasizes that at any and every stage of existence, our focus should always be on drawing nearer to God.


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