Evening Hymn

I can visually remember the words of the hymn up on the overhead in Mrs. Kraus’ first grade classroom. “Lord Jesus, who dost love me…” I can also remember having difficulty finding the hymn in the hymnal at home because we didn’t learn the first stanza.

Those final two stanzas of Paul Gerhardt’s evening hymn, “Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow” have probably been sung in our home more than any others. I have sung them to the all kids at bedtime since they were born. I have also sung these stanzas frequently in hospital rooms and in the sick room.

Tomorrow evening our school kids will be singing this hymn during our Lenten Compline service at church. They have been learning it and practicing it at school, and we’ve been singing it at night before bed.

I took one year of piano lessons in grade school, and a few lessons here and there since then. I’ve always wished I had stuck with it, and I’ve always had a strong desire to at least be able to play hymns. For many years now I have spent considerable time at the piano playing through hymns, often slowly and with many mistakes. Since we have had a piano in our home, I have been able to play much more regularly, and there are at least a handful of hymns that I can play fairly well. This evening hymn is one of those. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be able to accompany my children and sing these words with them.

Now rest beneath night’s shadow
The woodland, field, and meadow;
The world in slumber lies.
But you, my heart, awaken,
With prayer and song be taken;
Let praise to your Creator rise.

The rule of day is over
And shining jewels cover
The heaven’s boundless blue.
Thus I shall shine in heaven,
Where crowns of gold are given
To all who faithful prove and true.

Lord Jesus, since you love me,
Oh, spread your wings above me
And shield me from alarm.
Though Satan would assail me,
Your mercy will not fail me;
I rest in your protecting arm.

My loved ones rest securely,
For God this night will surely
From peril guard your heads.
Sweet slumbers may he send you
And bid his hosts attend you
And through the night watch o’er your beds. (CW 587)

3 thoughts on “Evening Hymn”

  1. There is so much to say to this post and this hymn. Paul Gerhardt spoke from a believer’s heart and therefore God rules to Christ loves is a natural progression. I sang this hymn from TLH with a slightly different translation…with additional stanzas.It bridges the natural knowledge of YHVH with the received knowledge which is Christ. It is the perfect compline hymn. What are your thoughts on “Evening and Morning?” CW drops two stanzas from LBW/LW. I haven’t checked Worship/LSB.I think it is a good Christian hymn to start the day.It is not “Christ centered,” but, to the Christian, it models a living faith.”Cousin” tune (my choice) to In dir ist Freude. An aside… blessings on blessings to you and your familiy.

    1. Re: Evening and Morning — I have just recently become more familiar with this hymn. We just sang it in our home last week. I’ll have to take a look at the other stanzas when I get back to my books. Gerhardt has a wonderful way of noticing that all of God’s works bring glory to him.

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