Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us — 13 Comments

  1. A most interesting sermon. I found myself singing this hymn early this morning while having no conscious reason for so doing. It was the verse beginning, “Saviour breathe forgiveness o’er us” that was the phrase that had come into my mind and I looked the words up on Google and found your sermon in the process.

    I am a Congregational minister (with an evangelical tradition) in Leicestershire. Congregational churches were formally known as Independents – the tradition in which James Edmeston grew up and the context for writing this particular hymn. I have a good friend who is the minister of the only remaining Congregtaional church in Stepney who will, I’m sure be interested in reading this.

    Thank you.


  2. Thanks, Barry.

    If your friend could find any further information on Edmeston’s life and ministry, it would be worthwhile posting it on the Net. I have been doing a summer series of sermons on people’s favourite hymns and the stories of faith behind many of the hymns bring the words to life – we are doing ‘Here is love, vast as the ocean’ tomorrow night.

  3. I am a woman minister in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. I love doing hymn services and I was researching for one (a hymn service) when I stumbled upon your sermon. I love it andI will use some of your material. I hope you do not mind. I should be most grateful if you would direct me to your other hymn sermons. I pray God’s direction and blessing on you, your family and your ministry.

    With much gratitude,

  4. Hello Teteki,

    Thank you for your kind words. My sermons on hymns are scattered among my other sermons. If you type a hymn name or the name of a writer into the search box it should hopefully find the sermon, if there is one for that hymn

  5. David on November 26, 2017

    Hello everyone,

    My Grandson’s recent Baptism service focused my attention on the words in some Church of Ireland Hymns and recall things our Richhill School Rector addressed during his visits in the early 1950’s.
    The (then) Rev Cockerill persuaded us children that word “dreary” had no place in James Edmeston’s Hymn ‘Lead Us Heavenly Father Lead Us’ because in his view our Lord was never “dreary”. In fact he gave me the impression that he would seek to have it amended he felt so strongly about it. The Hymn is a beautiful one which almost everyone wishing to sing can participate.

  6. Of course, suggesting that Jesus never experienced moments that were lone and dreary would be to deny his incarnation

  7. Thank you so much for this interpretation of the Hymn by James Edmeston first published in “Sacred Lyrics” (1821)
    Tomorrow Sunday 21st July 2019 we have a Service “Songs of Praise” as anecumenical gathering in the Bridgend Area at The United Reformed Church (Tondu Road) at 6pm. I have been asked to represent our Parish here (Church in Wales). I selected this hymn “Lead us Heavenly Father Lead us” for this service as it is one of my favourites.
    Thank you so much.

  8. I sing this hymn almost everyday because it holds a prayer I need answered everyday. I love this sermon and I particularly agree with your thoughts on verse 2. I recorded the hymn to share with the world, while unaware of licensing laws. Now that I’m aware, I’ve decided to just share the work with a few friends(while I look into the possibility of getting a license someday)in the bid to inspire others like I am by this architect…by the way, I’m an architect, songwriter and singer too.

  9. I believe Lead us Heavenly Father Lead Us was written by John Edmeston as a school hymn for the London Orphan Asylum which was founded by Rev Andrew Reed and later became Reed’s School. I understood that Edmeston and Reed were friends and they certainly lived in the same area at the same time. I went to Reed’s School for 11 years until the girl’s school was closed although the boy’s school still exists at Cobham. We certainly sang the hymn at the beginning and end of each term and of course in between. We also had a school prayer written by Andrew Reed.

  10. Thanks, Marian. Living, as we do, in times where education is dominated by councils, trusts and committees, it is easy to forget how important individuals were in the pioneering years of education.

  11. I am a Seventh-day Adventist organist in Ghana and throughout this week, this hymn has been on my mind particularly yesterday as we began to discuss the book of Hebrews. Your sermon gives me a very unique perspective of this hymn; that Jesus identifies with the early believers who suffered reproach for their faith in him. Those who lost property and spent time in prison for the sake of Jesus needed the assurance that the saviour suffered and paid the ultimate price. So Paul writes to encourage them. This hymn is to me what Paul’s letter was/is to the church. God bless you for encouraging the saints of God.

  12. Thank you.

    The book of Hebrews has teachings that are easily forgotten.

    I am sure your congregation sing such hymns with great passion.

  13. thanksl you for this writeup. even at a time like this it does trigger a chord.
    God bless you. I love hymns too.

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