For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
I wanted to be part of that!
The next time I heard it, I had tears streaming down my face. "Bill", two years older than I, the pianist for the above HS choir, had been killed in a freak auto accident. His grieving parents, yet in "sure and certain hope of the resurrection", chose this as the final hymn for his funeral service.
I have heard and sung it a lot since then. I learned more verses (the eight above I have memorized), and sang it often as part of the "Mom sings a lot of songs and hopes that these kids will settle down and go to sleep" phase of my life. I just discovered while writing this that CyberHymnal has three more verses that I don't know. Lovely! But my goal is still the same as it was in HS (41 years ago!) -- be part of that streaming, praising throng. Alleluia!