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Updated 06/04/2013

 

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling


Dwight Moody

When the world-re­nowned lay preach­er, Dwight Ly­man Moody, lay on his death bed in his North­field, Mass­a­chu­setts, home, Will Thomp­son made a spe­cial vi­sit to in­quire as to his con­di­tion. The at­tend­ing phy­si­cian re­fused to ad­mit him to the sick­room, and Moody heard them talk­ing just out­side the bed­room door. Re­cog­niz­ing Thomp­son’s voice, he called for him to come to his bed­side. Tak­ing the Ohio po­et-com­pos­er by the hand, the dy­ing evan­gel­ist said, “Will, I would ra­ther have writ­ten ‘Soft­ly and Ten­der­ly Je­sus is Call­ing’ than an­y­thing I have been able to do in my whole life.”

Rebuffed in an ear­ly at­tempt to sell his songs to a com­mer­cial pub­lish­er, Thomp­son start­ed his own pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny. He lat­er ex­pand­ed, open­ing a store to sell pi­an­os, or­gans and sheet mu­sic. Both a lyr­i­cist and com­pos­er, he en­sured he would al­ways re­mem­ber words or mel­o­dies that came to him at odd times:

No mat­ter where I am, at home or ho­tel, at the store or tra­vel­ing, if an idea or theme comes to me that I deem wor­thy of a song, I jot it down in verse. In this way I ne­ver lose it.


William Thompson

Thompson took ill dur­ing a tour of Eur­ope, and his fam­i­ly cut short their tra­vels to re­turn home. He died a few weeks lat­er.


Lyrics by William Thompson

 

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Refrain
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

 

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Refrain

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Refrain

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Refrain