From “Dear Mama, Love Sarah” (see story blog below), a chapter describes a revival in Statesville, North Carolina, which this year (1780) Sarah and her family attend after the harvest is brought in. With the children dressed in their best calicos, the Simpsons camp with their neighbors in a pasture for hymn singing and to listen to Reverend Phillip Mulkey and his son, Jonathon Mulkey, exort their audience to praise and righteous living. Anticipating the grand occasion, the family sings “Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah” and “Rock of Ages,” as their wagon bumps along on the way to Statesville. Both hymns are sung at the revival. Below, Aggie Ann, the Simpson’s youngest daughter, is dressed for the occasion.
Jump forward two hundred thirty years. Last Sunday, while sitting in a Methodist pew in
, I noticed the two hymns chosen for the service were “Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah” and “Rock of Ages.” For a moment, I thought I saw Sarah’s ghost emerging from the smoky, flickering candles at the front of the altar . . . instead of the coincidence of two old hymns being sung again in worship. Sugar Land, Texas