The extra verse

Categories: Gospel
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Sometimes it really makes me sad that we stop singing the hymn when we get to the end of the verses that are written in the music rather than when we get to the end of the song.

Today we sang “Come, Follow Me” and I kept reading after everyone stopped singing. The very last verse, which I doubt I have ever sung, is:

For thrones, dominions, kingdoms, pow’rs,
And glory great and bliss are ours,
If we, throughout eternity,
Obey his words, “Come, follow me.”

How beautiful is that? That verse contains the very promises of the Gospel of Christ, as well as how to attain all of those promised blessings.

Some other favorite “extra” verses are:

  • A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief – The Portuguese hymn book actually has a note that says basically, “Whatever verses you sing, you must sing the last one.”
  • How Firm a Foundation – I love them all, but especially the fifth and seventh.
  • Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire – There are some absolutely beautiful sentiments expressed in the 5th through 8th verses that we just never get to.
  • O Lord of Hosts – And this one is even short enough that singing verses four and five is definitely doable! And sometimes necessary. I had to crack up when they needed more time to prepare the sacrament once and rather than continuing on and singing verses four and five, the conductor sat down and the organist kept going alone for as long as needed (which ended up being two more verses worth).
  • God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son – We really don’t get the whole story on this song unless we sing the fourth and fifth verse as well.
  • Behold the Great Redeemer Die – Seriously? We stop after verse 4? That’s the middle of the greatest story ever told. You HAVE to finish with verse 5 and 6.
  • How Great the Wisdom and the Love – The note at the bottom of this song says “Verses 1, 2, 5, and 6 are especially appropriate for the sacrament.” Which is why I’m always so confused that we only sing verses 1-4.
  • The Iron Rod – Again, stopping after verse 3 stops in the middle of the story. You need to finish it with verse 4 and 5
  • If You Could Hie to Kolob – I know a lot of people make fun of this song, especially the last two verses. But look at what those last two verses are saying. There is no end to love, light, truth, glory, all of the good things in the world will not have an end. Only the pain and suffering will end. And if that’s not something to sing about I don’t know what is.

For the hymn “I Believe in Christ,” Brother McConkie asked that it be written as four long verses rather than eight short verses because he knew if it was done as short verses that the last half of the song would never be sung. I think he was on to something there. I think we need to rewrite a few more hymns so that we stop cutting them short and missing the true meaning and power of the hymn.

When I rule the world…

7 shared thoughts about The extra verse

  1. Brett says:

    I seem to recall that in the hymn book pre-1985 the main stanzas of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” ended with “And in despair I bowed my head, ‘There is no peace on earth’ I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” The last two verses were footnotes. And now we know why the suicide rate spikes over the holidays. :brett:

    • Giggles says:

      I’ve heard that as well. I think we need to do more of that.

      • Brett says:

        Uhh… We need to do more of what, exactly? You did catch that my shared thought was about despair, depression, and suicide, right? :brett:

      • Giggles says:

        More of the putting the whole story in the music rather than leaving half of it in the foot notes to be ignored.

  2. Giggle

    As my ward music director, I add notes to sing all/certain verses, depending on the song, and then my ward does. It’s great! What’s the point of singing “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” if you don’t sing the last two verses?

    • Giggles says:

      I wish more music directors were like you. I tried it once when I was a director to indicate that for “How Great the Wisdom and the Love” we would be singing verses 1, 2, 5, and 6. The program guy didn’t get it. I think it happened though, it just wasn’t smooth.


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