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HYMN FOR EASTER 6 What a Friend we have in Jesus plus

John 15:12-17

The Last Supper. El Greco

Text: Joseph Scriven (1820-1886) Tune: Charles Crovat Converse (1832-1918)

 1. What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit

Oh, what needless pain we bear--

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer

2. Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Are you weak and haven laden?

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge—

Take it to the Lord in Prayer

Do your friends despise, forsake you?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In his arms he’ll hold and shield you:

You will find a solace there.



Jesus at Emmaus. Rembrandt

In the text for next Sunday, Jesus calls us friends. This hymn, which uses the image, is among the most popular we have, and it remains so. Not surprisingly. People are lonely, filled with alienation, afraid of relationships, and unable to sustain them. In Japan there is a man who advertises a kind of rent a friend business. People can buy his services so they can seem to have friends without the difficulties of them.


This is not surprising. Many thinkers over the past fifty years have predicted these things would happen. As people have abandoned traditions and communities like the church, they have also abandoned their natural identities and sense of who they are, and adopt other ones. Their identities no longer have a long arc of a life in a context and well lived, but they live only in the moment—without a past or future. In other words, meaningless. It has been called by significant thinkers the Age of Narcisism. Therapy has overtaken religion and tradition. We have given over our problems to the experts, not our common sense. A bit ago, I heard a woman talking about our reliance on experts. She said she had a friend whose adolescent son was having some difficulties and she was thinking of sending him to a therapist. The woman suggested instead, Why don’t you tell his father to go on a camping trip with him for the weekend? Apparently the mom had never thought of such a thing.


As we have ceded our personal relationships to these experts, we are becoming less human. No wonder our culture is breaking down and threatening us with extinction.


When Jesus was talking to his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed, the disciples lived in a world of hierarchies where there were owners and slaves. To no longer be a slave or servant, but a friend was a remarkable redefinition of who they were. Not just a friend of anyone, but of God! A chilling piece of that talk we hear again when Jesus greets Judas in the garden. He calls him friend!


Now we are in a strange world of non-meaning. Suddenly to be told by Jesus that he is our friend connects us, like a branch to a vine. Congregations might advertise that they are places where you can find friends and especially a friend in Jesus. The young need connection desperately. There are rumors going around that they are turning to Jesus. I pray that is true, even as I pray that congregations, also known as fellowships, will invite people into fellowship and true life where the blood of Jesus flows through their veins and gives them life. Let them “find a solace there!”



Charles Converse. Writer of the tune

The story of the writer of this hymn is very sad. After several terrible disappointments, he is thought to have committed suicide. Click on the link below to read more about him.

There are many more hymns on Jesus as friend. The Swedes especially have several favorite hymns on the them. I have given links to those at the bottom of this page. It is a rich collection.



Ella Fitzgerald


Via Vitae




Vision children’s choir from Uganda


NB: More songs with Friend as the theme


201 One there is above all others well deserves the name of Friend

I have a Friend who loveth me/Jag har en venn

67 With God as our Friend/Med Gud och hans venskap



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