March 20, 2012

Hymn History: His Name Is Wonderful

Audrey Mieir was used by God to write this chorus that has become a favourite in the gospel field, and she tells the story of its writing this way:

“Christmas came on Sunday that year and for once His birth seemed more important to everyone than toys and presents. Fragrant pine boughs perfumed the air in our little Bethel Union Church in Duarte, California. A kind of hushed expectancy filled the place as ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ swelled from the organ. All heads were bowed, eyes were closed, and an occasional tear rolled down a wrinkled cheek - remembering 50, 60, even 70 other Christmases, thankful for the love of God and family, their presents and His presence! Little children sat impatiently anticipating the re-creation of the old, old story - their eyes sparkling, reflecting Christmas tree lights, not wanting to miss anything including the Christmas play, afterward the dinner and presents which were stacked and waiting.

The curtain opened. There it was as it would be depicted countless times that day, the humble manger scene. Mary was a shy teenager, cheeks flushed with excitement, holding someone’s baby doll close in her arms. A young Joseph hovered over her, his smooth face discreetly hidden in old drapery. A beautiful angel glittered and shone, out-brillianced only by the flashing smile for mom and dad in aisle two. Her halo had slipped precariously to one side. Eleven-year-old shepherds shuffled down the aisle with unmistakable reticence, their jeans peeking out form under dad’s old robe.

The procession halted and the choir sang, “Sleep in heavenly peace.” Dr. Luther Mieir’s voice filled the small church - ‘His name is wonderful,’ he said with his hands lifted heavenward. And I - I heard the familiar rustling of angel wings. I did not know at that strangely moving moment that a once-in-a-lifetime experience was about to happen. As I grabbed my old Bible and wrote in it, more than with any other of my songs, I felt as if I were only a channel, as if I were not otherwise involved

God blessed ‘His Name Is Wonderful’ and it seemed to capture people’s hearts but one day I met Tim Spencer who said to me, ‘Audrey, it’s a good song but there just isn’t enough of it. Maybe you could write a bridge for it.’ he explained the word to me and showed me how I could extended the song and enlarge the blessing of its message. I was just on my way to lunch. After I had ordered my hamburger, I began to think of Tim’s suggestion and so I opened my Bible there in the booth to the concordance and began to run my finger down the list of names given to Jesus in the Scripture. I wrote them down on my napkin. After I had returned to the office, I went to the piano and finished the song.

At that moment, I did not foresee the ministry one little song of praise could have and that I would hear it sung all around the world. I heard it in Sweden, all through Korea, and the Philippines. Never shall I forget the thousands of students in Hong Kong lifting it heavenward from their roof top schools; nor hearing it sung in the Garden of Gethsemane - and experience that was truly ‘joy unspeakable!’”

God bless you, Audrey Mieir, and thank you for the immortal “His Name Is Wonderful!”

Adapted from Al Smith's Treasury of Hymn Histories

His Name is Wonderful,
His Name is Wonderful,
His Name is Wonderful,
Jesus my Lord.

He is the Mighty King
Master of everything,
His Name is Wonderful
Jesus my Lord.

He's the Great Shepherd
The Rock of all ages
Almighty God is He!

Bow down before Him
Love and adore Him
His Name is Wonderful,
Jesus my Lord.


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