Author: Karl Philipp Spitta (1801-1859) Music Source: German Melody, 1852
1. How shall it be when we at last returning From weary wand’rings and from toil and strife, Shall reach the home for which our heart is yearning And enter into everlasting life? When from our feet the dust of earth has vanished, The last sweat from our brow is wiped away, Our eyes behold what oft earth’s care has banished And gave to us new courage on our way.
2. How shall it be when tremblingly we listen To angel bands who greet us with their song, With harps of gold which in their radiance glisten, They praise the Lamb, which saved the blood-washed throng? When far and near the holy place resoundeth With “Hallelujahs” which the ransomed sing, The holy incense of their prayer aboundeth, Rolls upward to the throne of God, the King.
3. How shall it be when now the soul, unfettered, Goes soaring upward in unhindered flight. Drawn on by love to Him whose light has scattered The darkness which hid heaven from our sight? When from the eye of faith the veil of dullness, As mist before the morning sun doth fall, And we the Son of God in all His fullness Behold upon His throne, the Lord of All?
4. How shall it be when we shall hear Him calling: “Come now, ye blessed of My Father’s grace!” And worshipping, upon His footstool falling, We look into that kind and smiling face? The eyes which shed those bitter tears, well knowing Man’s wretchedness and hardness of his heart; The wounds, with that pure, precious blood o’erflowing Which saved us from death’s dread and poisoned dart!
5. How shall it be, when we in close relation With holy saints the streets of heaven tread; Where trees of life, fresh as in first creation, By waters from the stream of life are fed? Where fountains of eternal youth shall flourish, The hand of time no more shall work decay, No eyes shall close in death, no more souls perish; Pain, sorrow and distress have passed away!
6. How shall it be? Oh, what this mortal vision Can neither see, nor hear, nor understand, Of happiness and glory shall be given To those who pass into that promised land! Then onward, brethren! Let us hasten thither, ‘Tis worth the hardship and the pain we bear To climb this path, for there shall never wither The blest inheritance which we shall share!
Special thanks to the Apostolic Christians who diligently labored to keep their rich musical heritage alive when most other denominations forsook it in the challenging battle of changing cultures. Thanks be to those souls who labored to write and compose this treasure of praise, many now only known to GOD!