25. Before the throne of God
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is written on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heav’n he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
In your hymn books you will find this hymn attributed to Charitie Bancroft (1841-1923) but in fact the author was Charitie Smith as she was only 19 and unmarried when she wrote this hymn. She later married twice and outlived both husbands . Her first husband was Arthur Bancroft. Charitie was born in Ireland but later emigrated to America.
The hymn draws on Hebrews 4:14-16, 6:17-20 and Romans 8:34
This was the favourite hymn of my old friend Kevin Sullivan. Charlotte said that this was Kevin’s favourite hymn because of the words that appear in the first verse…
My name is graven on his hands
My name is written on his heart.
Charlotte said, ‘ When Kevin came back to faith (thanks to the love and support of the Limeuil house group) it was this hymn that he said described what he felt. Although he had wandered off for many years, he realised that ,“his name was graven on His hands”. ‘
I went to see Kevin in the hospital at Bordeaux when he was very unwell and we sat and laughed at the fun we had experienced together playing music. We recalled playing on one occasion for nearly three hours (just the two of us with a backing track) and got paid 25 euros between us.
I also broke bread with Kevin at his bedside and we shared prayer together . It was the last time I saw him.
Charlotte had this hymn at her ordination and priesting and I am sure that Kevin would be proud to see how she has contributed so much to the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine. Congratulations to Charlotte on her appointment as Chaplain to The Holy Trinity Church Maisons Lafitte near Paris ! We will certainly miss her but I am sure that we are all delighted that Charlotte will be able to develop her ministry and the people in Maisons Lafitte are very fortunate to be welcoming her .
As I was preparing this presentation some words came back to me which my mother used to repeat and they echo Kevin’s belief that his name was written on God’s hands…
Let nothing draw me back
Or turn my eyes from Thee ,
But by the Calvary track
Bring me at last to see
The courts of God, that City fair,
And find my name is written there.